On the 29 November 1987 Kay Cottee sailed First Lady out of Sydney Harbour to return on the 5th June 1988 after sailing solo for 189 days and becoming the first woman to complete a solo, nonstop and unassisted voyage around the world. Her voyage is described fully in her book Kay Cottee First Lady. A history making solo voyage around the world.
The painting depicts Kay at the helm of First Lady in the early evening as she prepares for the night ahead. The mainsail has been reefed and she is trimming the jibsheet, whilst observing the compass setting before locking in the self steering gear. The wind and seas are favourable for a relatively fast night’s sail during one of the rare times when the wind was not howling on her return leg to Australia across the Indian Ocean.
First Lady’s specifications were:
Beam: 11ft 6in
Draft: 6ft 6in
Hull Design: Cavalier 37