NEWS - WA Paralympian storms to sailing record

NEWS - WA Paralympian storms to sailing record

West Australian Paralympics gold medallist turned solo sailor, Jamie Dunross OAM, claimed another world record for the longest distance ever sailed by a quadriplegic when he steered his yacht into Albany on Wednesday, April 15, 2009.

Yachting Western Australia, in its Making Waves! newsletter,
reports Dunross, who set out from Fremantle on Easter Saturday completed 336nm (as the albatross flies) and was at sea for more than four days. He broke his previous record of 223nm in 46 hours sailing from Fremantle to Geraldton last August.

Both voyages are part of his preparation for an attempt to circumnavigate Australia, non-stop and unaided later this year.
Dunross set out from Cockburn Sound in his Sparkman and Stephens 34, Spirit of Rockingham, and had to contend with strong headwinds, rough seas and heavy swells for the entire voyage.

After one “night in hell” Dunross described the experience as the most terrifying of his life when, in 30-knot winds and with 6m waves breaking over his yacht, he had to remain on deck to hand steer for hours when his electric steering equipment failed.

“King waves washed through the cockpit on three separate occasions,” said Dunross.

“The Spirit was knocked down three or four times. While I wasn’t laid flat — each occasion was a pretty scary time,” he said.

Dunross, who broke his neck while working on a mine site in 1983 aged 23, has no leg function and only limited arm and hand function. He is heavily reliant on electronics for steerage and winches to operate the sails of his 34ft yacht which is the same S&S designed yacht sailed twice around the world by his friend and mentor Jon Sanders.

The solo passage to Albany brings Dunross, who won sailing gold at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics in Sonar class, closer in preparation for his planned solo circumnavigation.

For more information on Dunross’ circumnavigation attempt, visit his website at

PHOTO (coutesy of Yachting Western Australia): Jamie Dunross at the helm of his yacht, Spirit of Rockingham.