Two Lennox Head mums with very different backgrounds are set to compete in the 75th Sydney to Hobart race to raise awareness and funds for Lennox-based children’s charity, Rafiki Mwema, proving it is never too late to follow your dreams, whilst standing up for some of the world’s most vulnerable children.
This duo is something of an unusual combination for this kind of event, consisting of well-known travel blogger Clare Southwell and Aussie stuntwoman Marese Emanuel.
Clare is the founder of online community, Take Me To Australia and was an established dinghy sailor in her younger years. After competing around the world and sailing with two times Olympian Sarah Ayton, she left the sport behind in her early twenties – a reluctant side effect of not quite making it to the top like her compatriot.
Years later and with ego aside, Clare made a comeback to sailing in early 2019, sailing in her first off-shore racing series on a large yacht based at Southport Yacht Club, and getting back into regular dinghy racing on 15ft skiff. But it was a chance trip to Hobart that landed her a place in the Sydney to Hobart.
“During a trip to Tassie, one of my good friends was staying on ‘Magic Miles,’ a 62 ft Hobart yacht. 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 and see how I went during the year.
The day I returned home I was making enquiries about how I could join a crew in Southport, the closest yacht club to my hometown of Lennox Head. 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”
It was Clare’s friend Marese Emanuel, an established stuntwoman, doubling for some of Australia’s most well-known actresses, staying on ‘Magic Miles’ that evening and she didn’t hesitate when Clare asked her to start training to accompany her on this venture of a lifetime.
Whilst the vast majority of the crew are highly experienced sailors, many of them competing in multiple Sydney to Hobart’s and international races, the skipper was keen to bring a balance to their usual all male crew.
Magic Miles skipper said;
“This year is a very special race. The 75th year of one of the toughest offshore races on the international calendar and the fourth Sydney to Hobart for Magic Miles. We are there to finish safely and enjoy a very special experience with a good team. These two women bring very different experiences and skills to the boat and we’ve no doubt that they will be a great asset. It’s an exciting year to be taking part.”
“My biggest concern is the lack of sleep, with 3 to 4-hour rotations. I don’t think anyone finds that easy. In saying that, I’m absolutely determined to take this on. I really believe that it’s never too late to do what you love. Both Rese and I are mums to young kids and would love them to see us leading by example. Hopefully one day they will do the same and chase their own dreams without age, anyone or anything stopping them.”
The two women have embarked on a hardcore preparation program including the offshore/Category 1 Survival and Sea Safety course, numerous offshore races including Hamilton Island Race Week, different practice legs prior to the race, and a vigorous mental and physical regime to prepare them for any eventuality. They are both very aware that they need to complement the highly experienced team and make safety an absolute priority.
It goes further than Sydney and Hobart…
With the aim of highlighting that it’s never too late to follow your dreams, and empowering young girls to strive for their goals no matter how big they are, the two women 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. Rafiki Mwema was recently recognised for their life changing efforts by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The funds raised will help to provide the young girls who are ready to leave the homes, 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.
You can make support the women’s fundraising efforts here:
We look forward to seeing Clare and Marese leave the shores of Sydney on Boxing Day and arrive safely for the New Year celebrations in Hobart.