Kay Cottee
Australia Crest

Kay McLaren, the youngest of 4 daughters, was born in Sydney on January 25th, 1954 and grew up in the southern Sydney, Botany Bayside, suburb of Sans Souci.

Kay was born into a yachting family and was taken sailing for the first time when only a few weeks old.

Kay Cottee, now 44, became the first woman to sail solo, unassisted and nonstop round the world in June 1988. She had left on November 29th, 1987 from Watsons Bay and 189 days later, on June 5th, she cruised into Sydney Harbour to be met by tens of thousands of well wishers.

Her historic voyage on 11.2 metre First Lady was the result of a childhood dream and is inspirational in that it showed that anything was possible if one put one's mind to it.

In the Southern Ocean her life had hung in the balance when her boat turned upside down and she was washed overboard. Luckily, she was harnessed to the boat by two safety lines and all seemed to right itself eventually, except for her being bruised from head to toe. She then got on with the job in hand!

When she rounded Cape Horn she celebrated with a lunch of crab, mayonnaise and self baked bread, washed down with a bottle of Grange.

Kay was Australian of the Year for 1988 and has also received the Order of Australia.

Her new book, about her life since the great voyage, is 'All at Sea on Land', published by Collins. Her first book was best selling 'First Lady', published by Macmillan.

Now one of Australia's finest motivational speakers Kay has single handedly raised in excess of $1 million for the Life Education charity.

Kay's 4 bedroom home overlooks Pittwater, plenty of room for herself, television producer husband Peter Sutton and son Lee, who was born in 1993 after his parents took part in an IVF programme.

Kay inherited skills from her dressmaker mother Joy, and now makes most of her own clothes. She perseveres at improving her painting and sculpting to be recognised as a competent artist.

Kay is chairman of the National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour, now the home of First Lady.

Kay was sponsored on her voyage by Blackmores Ltd, run by her 'good mate' Marcus Blackmore, son of another Dinkum Aussie, Maurice Blackmore.

For more on Blackmores go to - or FREECALL 1800 803 760.

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