Gathering on the Bay 2017

Having just returned from the second Gathering on the Bay in Port Stephens I realised I can pretty much just copy last year’s blog with a few name changes.  It was just as interesting and moving and exciting.

We had all the useful lectures on deisel maintenance, weather, importing boats and personal safety but a different set of amazing, inspiring women shared their stories. I’ve read all of Jackie Parry’s books and corresponded with her for years but never had the chance to meet so listening to her was a real treat. Kristi Foster told us a little more about the challenges that she’s managed to overcome and how Sailing with Disabilities has helped her so much. Robyn Brooke described running away to work on prawn boats as a teenager.(I didn’t even know there was such a thing as prawn boats when I was a teenager!) And the lovely Karen Oberg and Kerry Tait not only told us everything we need to know about provisioning for an extended sail but provided us all with the most tasty samples!

The two highlights for me was listening to Lisa Blair on Sunday talking from the Southern Ocean, via sat phone ,about her record-breaking attempt to circumnavigate Antarctica, particularly poignant as since then she has been rolled and de-masted 800 kms south of Cape Town putting an end to her trip. Despite that, all of us listening to her reckon she’s a legend and total hero. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house including her mum, Linda!

The other highlight was a talk by the famous Lin Pardey about her 47 years sailing the world with husband Larry in wooden boats that they had built themselves, with NO ENGINE,  long before the invention of AIS and chart plotters and electronic auto-pilots.   True Adventurers! I cannot begin to imagine doing that. (I have to admit to having a bit of a girl crush on Lin!)

If you haven’t attended a Gathering on the Bay yet I urge you to try and go next year. You’ll come away inspired and excited. Oh, and you’ll need a hankie!




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