Nurse sails world: Expedition to inspire grandkids

NEWCASTLE grandmother Kathy Hall will join 55 fellow Australians on a round-the-world yacht race from August.

The 40,000-mile ocean odyssey, the Clipper Round the World yacht race, will start and finish in  Britain  and cover some of the most dangerous stretches of ocean  over 11 months.

‘‘I’m not impulsive. It’s just one of those things where I thought ‘I have to do that’,’’ Ms Hall said yesterday.

‘‘I don’t underestimate the challenge it will be or the danger involved.’’

The 53-year-old nurse saw a billboard for the race on a train platform during her  commute home from Concord Hospital in Sydney one day.

‘‘I emailed Clipper Ventures in the UK that night and had an interview the next week,’’ she said.

A sailor since 2004, Ms Hall has mostly sailed on Lake Macquarie and in some offshore races.

She wanted to do more offshore sailing and show her two young grandkids that ‘‘you can do anything you want to do’’.

Ms Hall has already undertaken two of the three lots of vigorous training in the UK and has been bike riding, walking and going to the gym.

‘‘Dealing with the below-zero temperatures, going across the North Pacific and South Atlantic oceans will be tough,’’ she said.

‘‘But the race is all about working as a team.’’

Clipper provides the fleet of 12 yachts, food and scheduled stops in 13 countries including Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and China. Participants are organised into crews of about 20 people.

The entire trip costs about $64,000, or people can opt to take part in one leg.

“This is now the right time in my life to grasp this opportunity,’’ she said.

‘‘I am a free agent with no dependants and no partner.

‘‘I hope I will be a better person for it. I hope that it is not only an inspiration for me but also for my grandchildren in years to come.” 

Clipper Ventures was established in 1995 by the legendary Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69.

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