‘I’ve never been so excited or scared about anything’
TWO Lennox Head mums are set to compete in the 75th Sydney to Hobart race to raise awareness and funds for locally-based children's charity, Rafiki Mwema.
Well-known travel blogger Clare Southwell and stuntwoman Marese Emanuel are aiming to prove it's "never too late to follow your dreams", while also standing up for some of the world's most vulnerable children.
Ms Southwell was an established dinghy sailor in her younger years.
After competing around the world and sailing with two-time Olympian Sarah Ayton, she left the sport in her early 20s.
But this year she made a comeback, and sailed in her first offshore racing series on a large yacht, and getting back into regular dinghy racing on a 15ft skiff.
"During a trip to Tassie, one of my good friends was staying on Magic Miles, a 62ft Hobart yacht," Ms Southwell said.
"One evening we arranged a leisurely sail with the skipper.
"I took the helm and 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 ... six months later I got a 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 know how dangerous and unpredictable the Sydney to Hobart can be, but something instinctively told me that I needed to do it, and do it for a bloody good reason."
Ms Southwell's friend Marese Emanuel is an established stuntwoman, doubling for some of Australia's most well-known actors.
She didn't hesitate when Ms Southwell asked her to start training for this adventure of a lifetime.
The two women said they were determined to take on the challenge of the big race.
"Both Rese and I are mums to young kids and would love them to see us leading by example," Ms Southwell said.
"Hopefully one day they will do the same and chase their own dreams without age, anyone or anything stopping them."
They have embarked on a hardcore preparation program, including survival and sea safety courses, numerous offshore races, different practice legs prior to the race, and a vigorous mental and physical regime.
As part of their journey, Ms Southwell and Ms Emanuel 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.
The funds raised will help to provide girls 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.
To donate, visit https://donate.rafikimwema.com/fundraisers/ClareandMarese.