Keeping track of her mother’s daughter
AS Wendy Tuck slips off the lines at Airlie Beach and heads out for today's start of Leg 5 of the Clipper Round the World Race, her mother Joan is following the yacht race using her new-found computer skills.
Wendy, 52, is the skipper of the 70-foot yacht Sanya Serenity Coast. She leads 21 international, fee-paying crew members, with an average age of 55, in the 40,000 nautical mile races which crosses five oceans and stops on six continents. It's the second time Wendy has skippered a yacht in this race.
Joan, 79, has little choice but to anxiously follow her daughter's adventures from her home near Shellharbour, south of Sydney. "I didn't do it last time, but this time Wendy took me shopping and got me an ipad," Joan said.
While unfamiliar with any form of technology, Joan knew if she wanted to part of Wendy's second round-the-world journey, she had to get online. "I am hopeless with it anyway, but I can follow her," Joan said. "I have it just how I want it now. When she is going from one port to the next I usually check it twice a day - early in the morning and then before I go to bed as they update it every so many hours."
Joan is using an iPad app which tracks the racing yachts, showing their location and speed throughout the race.
Wendy's mother was there to greet her daughter and the Sanya team arrive into Cape Town when they crossed the Leg 2 finish line there last October. Joan joined in the energetic race celebrations with exuberance. "Everyone was amazed at her dancing skills," Wendy said of her mother's incredible energy.
Joan wasn't overly pleased with Wendy's choice of career, at the start. "I didn't like it at first, but she is doing what she loves so how can you tell them they can't do it," Joan said. "She's just one of those people who makes up their mind, gets herself organised and does what she wants to do, and puts herself through the tests to make sure she knows what she is doing. As a parent, you don't have much say in it."
Wendy agrees she's a bit of a chip off the old block. For 21 years Joan has been volunteering for the local Council's community transport every Monday and Thursday, and helping local aged care village residents to go shopping. On Sundays she hosts between 10 and 16 seniors on day-long bus outings.
"There's no point in staying at home and looking at four walls," a lively Joan added. "I only started the volunteering when my husband passed away. I thought, I can't stay home and do nothing."
Both Wendy and Joan agree that once the Clipper race is over in Liverpool, UK in July, the accomplished sailor won't be sitting down. Like her mother she hopes for more sailing challenges.
"I hope I am still sailing until whatever age," Wendy said. "You just get different roles as you get older."
Wendy and her Sanya Serenity Coast team are leading the overall pointscore.
The current leg will take the 12-boat fleet between 23 and 27 days to race the 4300 miles from Airlie Beach to Sanya, China.