Sydney-woman Adrienne Cahalan has competed in, and achieved, extraordinary things in many classes of sailing. Big boats and small, wet ones and dry, Round-The-World, Sydney-to-Hobart and local regattas. She has been nominated four times for the World International Female Sailor. Sailing is a tough world, full of brash men, loads of money, celebrities, politics, big sponsorship, competition and the occasional tiny but gutsy woman.
In 2004 Adrienne planned on taking a year off to contemplate her future and, perhaps, reinvent herself. But she received a phone call from adventurer Steve Fossett asking her to join his attempt to set the fastest time for an around-the-world sail, and he wanted Adrienne to be his navigator and second in charge on board. Of course she accepted the challenge, spent many months training with, and then 59 days at sea with, Fossett and the best sailors from around the world. She was the only Australian and the only woman on board Cheyenne, and they flogged the record.
She was navigator on Wild Oats II in the most recent Sydney to Hobart and once again, all records were smashed.
One of 6 children (a boy, then 5 girls) from a strong Catholic family, Adrienne is very open about her personal life, reflecting on the fact that her lifestyle and ambition presented challenges in the romance stakes, but she also believes life is about choices and grasping opportunities.
Hers is a motivating story.
With a Foreword by America’s Cup sailor and multiple World Champion Iain Murray. 297 pages PB