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Unique duo of women to take part in 75th Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race

by Editor 10 Oct 03:09 PDT
Clare Southwell and Marese Emanuel - Unique duo take part in 75th Sydney to Hobart © Natalie Grono

Two mums with unique backgrounds are set to compete in the 75th Sydney to Hobart race. This duo is something of an unusual combination for this kind of event - and we can see how it's going to make for an awesome crew to be part of.

The two women consist of dinghy sailor and well-known travel blogger Clare Southwell, along with stuntwoman extraordinaire Marese Emanuel.

Clare is the founder of online community Take Me To Australia and was an established dinghy sailor in her younger years. After competing around the world and sailing with two times Olympian Sarah Ayton, she left the sport behind in her early twenties - a reluctant side effect of not quite making it to the top like her compatriot.

But years later and with ego aside, Clare has made a comeback to sailing in 2019, sailing in her first off shore racing series on a large yacht based in Southport Yacht Club, and getting back into regular dinghy racing on a 15ft skiff. But it was a chance trip to Hobart that landed her a place in the Sydney to Hobart.

"A good friend of mine celebrated their 40th birthday celebrations down in Hobart, and one of our friends was staying on 'Magic Miles,' a 62 ft Hobart yacht. One evening we arranged a leisurely sail with the skipper. I took the helm and wonderful memories came flooding back. That's when I knew I couldn't live without sailing any longer. After sailing the boat that evening, the crew told me to stay in touch and see how I went during the year. The day I returned home I was making enquiries about how I could join a crew in Southport, the closest yacht club to my home town. Six months later I got the call asking me how my sailing was going, and to see if I'd like to sail in the Sydney to Hobart. I've never been so excited or scared about anything in my life. I knew how dangerous and unpredictable the Sydney to Hobart could be, but something instinctively told me that I needed to do it. I'm not sure if it is because my daughter is older now, but for some reason I have been hit with this urge to get out there are rediscover my long-lost passions. I feel like a huge part of me has returned with more fire than ever".

And this is where the duo began their journey. Clare's close friend Marese Emanuel is an established stuntwoman, doubling for some of Australia's most well-known actresses. It was Marese who was staying on the boat that evening in Hobart.

"I called Marese and told her about my opportunity to take part in the race, and then I put the question to her - if I can get you a place and you can dedicate yourself to training...will you do it with me? She didn't take much convincing. Her answer is not printable and only contained two words, the second being, 'yeah'! Rese is one of the gutsiest people I know. Her attitude is highly infectious, she's been involved at a highly competitive level in water sports for many years and has spent a lot of time on boats of one kind or another. I was sure she would be a great asset to have on board."

Clare put the proposal to the commercial skipper of Magic Miles.

Whilst the vast majority of crew are highly experienced sailors, many of them competing in multiple Sydney to Hobart's and international races, the skipper was keen to bring a balance to their usual all male crew.

Magic Miles skipper said; "This year is a very special race. The 75th year of one of the toughest offshore races on the international calendar and the fourth Sydney to Hobart for Magic Miles. She is not a stripped-down race-boat. It is slightly more comfortable than most and very solid. Having said that, every Sydney to Hobart has its challenges and we naturally hold the safety of crew and vessel sacred. We are a very collegiate boat, always discussing what is best as a group - we are there to finish safely and enjoy a very special experience with a good team. Being a good team player is a vital prerequisite. These two women both bring very different experiences and skills to the boat and we have no doubt that they will be a great asset, bringing with them the right attitude. It's an exciting year to be taking part."

The owner of Magic Miles, Michael Crew, will once again skipper the boat for the race.

A huge goal for the two women is to highlight that with the right determination and mindset, you can achieve anything at any age.

Clare added; "I didn't expect to be sailing again after giving up all those years ago, but after stepping foot on the boat in Tasmania at the beginning of the year, I knew that I wanted to race again and achieve some big goals that I'd pushed aside. I haven't stopped sailing since. My biggest concern is the lack of sleep, with 3 to 4-hour rotations. I don't think anyone finds that easy. In saying that, I feel absolutely determined to take this on and go from strength to strength in my sailing. I really believe that it's never too late to do what you love. Both Rese and I are mums to young kids and would love them to see us leading by example. Hopefully one day they will do the same and chase their own dreams without age, anyone or anything stopping them."

The two women have embarked on a hardcore preparation program including the offshore/Category 1 Survival and Sea Safety course, numerous off shore races including Hamilton Island Race Week, different practice legs prior to the race, and a vigorous mental and physical regime to prepare them for any eventuality. They are both very aware that they need to complement the highly experienced team and make safety an absolute priority.

It goes further than Sydney and Hobart

With the aim of highlighting that it's never too late to follow your dreams, and empowering young girls to strive for their goals no matter how big they are, the two women will be raising funds for Rafiki Mwema; a charity that provides safe and therapeutic homes for young children in Kenya who have suffered horrific abuse.

Rafiki Mwema was recently recognised for their life changing efforts by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The funds raised will help to provide the young girls who are ready to leave the homes, with tools and training to pursue a career of their choice. By establishing a stable job, it will allow the girls to safely rent a home away from their abusers and to maintain a level of income that will support them safely into the future.

You can support the women's fundraising efforts here.

We look forward to seeing Clare and Marese leave the shores of Sydney on Boxing Day and arrive safely for the New Year celebrations in Hobart.

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