Lifestyle Boating & Motoring Wild, Wet and Wonderful
Wild, Wet and Wonderful

The-Crew"there were times when I was sitting on the rails for six hours and thinking, ‘how much longer?"  Dr Helga Weaving

On Boxing Day 2012, ED consultant Helga Weaving sailed across the starting line in Sydney Harbour aboard the racing yacht, Finistere. Three days, twenty-three hours, thirty-six minutes and twenty-one seconds later she crossed the finish line in Hobart.

“It was a surreal feeling and I had to keep pinching myself to believe I’d just done the Sydney to Hobart! It was a wonderful experience but it’s a cold, wet and hard race. The sleep deprivation didn’t worry me too much but there were times when I was sitting on the rails for six hours and thinking, ‘how much longer?’ Nonetheless, my work can be highly stressful and sailing gives me a lot back. It’s very important to me.”

“I’m paying for it now, though. It seems like some sort of penance for going away. I’m working six days out of seven plus some double shifts!”

This medico with a law degree embraces a career that is anything but one-dimensional.

“I work as an ED consultant at Fremantle and, to a lesser extent, at RPH. I also do one day a week of Coronial liaison at the Department of Health and a shift every fortnight at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). And there’s Schoolies at Rottnest as well. It’s good to have that variety because you’ll always have the occasional heart-sink day.”

Helga owns two boats, a Hartley 21 and an Etchell 30’ racer, and she’s never suffered from sea sickness. But she did get very wet on the trip south.

“My wet weather gear wasn’t as good as some of the other guys and the mid-layers just didn’t keep me dry. I’m very lucky, I’ve never been sick on a boat but some of the crew used medication on the way down. We even used Ondansetron wafers but that didn’t stop some of the crew throwing up.”

“I’d just done Schoolies at Rottnest, so I’ve had enough of people throwing up in buckets to last me a lifetime.”

“The race certainly isn’t for everyone and it’s very different from a leisurely sail around the buoys on the Swan River. Women are heavily outnumbered in the race and we’re definitely in the minority. It’s a fantastic experience with some stunning scenery in the southern ocean and it shows you just what you can do.”