by Rob Kothe
Dr Margaret Williams quest to sail, solo around Australia is on hold again. The Sunshine Coast GP, set sail from Fremantle on June 2 in her 12m sloop Against All Odds in a bid to be the first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia.
Dr Williams was forced to abandon her first try in November when, after completing two-thirds of the 16,500 nautical mile journey, her rudder broke during one of several capsizes in the Southern Ocean.
She sheltered in Albany and had her yacht repaired before starting her second attempt from Fremantle.
She had tough conditions on the Tasmanian west coast and was making good progress until last weekend.
‘We were well out from the Queensland coast about 150 nm, and outside the Swain Reefs. I had just reefed or shortened sail for the night when, alarmingly, I heard a loud twang then again another twang.
’Clangs, twangs, and bangs are always of concern on deck. So out I went with a bright torch and saw that my lower rigging supporting the mast was snapping and unravelling at the top swage.’
Williams’s jury rigged the system and stopped at Nara Inlet near Hamilton Island to effect repairs but there were not successful.
Her father reported a few minutes ago ‘The unthinkable happened; she has had to berth at Townsville for repairs to her rigging.
‘She would have made it, if the boat had of been built of the same high grade material as she is. She is very resilient and is already talking about another try.
‘The mast was working and making noises and one of her jury rigged ropes
snapped. She had no option other than to seek repairs in Townsville.
'I only thank God that it happened within easy reach of help, instead of half way across the Gulf of Carpentaria. That would have truly been very awkward.
‘She is exactly half way according to my measurements. To Fremantle = half
a circumnavigation and, back again =half a navigation added together =another complete circumnavigation, it makes me wonder.
‘However that is the way the cookie crumbles.'
Dockside Williams commented 'I've already sailed (assisted) around Australia once, so I'm happy having done that'
She is still keen to complete her dream 'It would be really good to have one more go, but if i did that I'd upsize the whole rig.'