Kay Cottee aboard Blackmores' First Lady. ANMM collection. Photo by Andrew Frollows.

Date of Event: 1987-88

Vessel type: 37ft Yacht

Location: Australia - World

Suggested title: Going solo


32 years ago, Kay Cottee set out aboard Blackmores First Lady to become the first woman to circumnavigate the world non-stop and unassisted.

Cottee’s efforts started in 1987, selling her possessions and helped by family and friends, she took the world’s oceans with the belief this was the last true challenge remaining for a woman in the world of sailing.

She had to learn and master news skills, not only navigational, but medical, electrical and safety skills that could be implemented in an instant in the worst condition imaginable. Communications were luxury rather than guaranteed. She had to be totally self-reliant in every way.

She learnt to deal with her fears and to appreciate the wild beauty in the mountainous waves that knocked her down and was grateful for the opportunity to experience it all. And in essence, it is what solo sailing is all about.

Interesting anecdote

Kay Cottee navigated treacherous seas, ice and shipping lanes, fighting hallucinations and loneliness by talking to her first mate. A giant Teddy bear, called Ted.

Solo celebrating the milestones. Label reads `Rounding Good Hope. Kay Cottee’. ANMM Collection. Photo by Andrew Frollows



Please briefly note any objects (artefacts, images or other collection items) associated with the story

Blackmore's First Lady 37ft Cavalier yacht

Name of person submitting the story

Sabina Escobar


AMMC Member Institution

Australian National Maritime Museum

Like this story? Vote now

Views: 122

Comments are closed for this blog post

© 2021   Created by Peter Rout.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service