Brett Whitely 1724 Views

Henri Lloyd donate my offshore gear

Brett Whiteley lost his right leg and arm in an accident in November 2013. He started sailing with sailors with disABILITIES in February 2014 and is now training hard each weekend with the SWD Hobart team and hoping to earn a much coveted place in the gruelling race. In June 2014 Henri Lloyd very generously supported Brett's campaign by donating a full set of Henri Lloyd Offshore Elite gear to Brett.

Brett Whiteley lost his right leg and arm in an accident in November 2013. He started sailing with sailors with disABILITIES in February 2014 and is now training hard each weekend with the SWD Hobart team and hoping to earn a much coveted place in the crew.

To tackle the ocean race and the extreme conditions, the team need to wear top of the range wet weather gear.

In June 2014 Henri Lloyd very generously donated a full set of Henri Lloyd Offshore Elite gear to Brett.

Fran Burke of Henri Lloyd came to the CYCA to meet Brett and present him with the Elite garments.

According to Fran

"The Elite Offshore range is brand new and top of the range when it comes to wet weather gear. Sailing gear used to be very bulky but now thanks to GORE-TEX® Technology garments in this new range are 25% lighter than the already best in class predecessors. If you wear it in combination with Elite-Therm mid layers your gear is an enormous 1kg less!

The Elite Offshore is is also extremely breathable. We've achieved this through the intelligent combination of state of the art face fabrics, the trusted GORE-TEX® membrane and Slide-Glide backer."

Brett was clearly delighted with his new gear - this generous donation will help enormously with the cost of his Hobart campaign. Fran and Brett chatted about heat sealing the right leg of the gear at Henri Lloyd since Brett does not use his leg when he's out sailing.

We asked Brett about his training for one of yacht racing's biggest challenges.

"We've been working very hard every weekend racing and heading offshore to learn the skills we need to take on the Hobart. We've also been working on the theory and the hugely important area of safety at sea.

Last weekend, Mark Thomson decided that each of us should head up to the bow, he sheeted the sails right in to make the boat lean over and one by one we went up to the bow. My mind went into a jumble of doubt.

'
Should I? Shouldn't I? Can I do it?'

Then I decided - 'I've just got to do it! After all if I'm going to go and face the challenge of Hobart I need to be able to do all these challenges.'

So I let everyone know I was coming past them, since I was right down the back near the helm, and I un-clipped then clipped back on dragging myself along the best I could and hanging onto everything. Once I was past everyone I had one foot on the mast and finally made my way out to the bow. I put my foot on bowsprit and made the decision to stand up.

I used all my energy and stood up for what felt like a minute - it was probably all of 10 seconds - but the sense of being up at the bow on this huge yacht powering through the ocean swell was incredible. Mark didn't make it easy for me coming back either - keeping the boat well heeled.

We have also done a couple of overnight weekends which was amazing. We headed out about 7-8 o'clock and rotated on shifts and learned what it was like sitting on the rail for 2 hours and getting in and out of the bunk. The overnighters have been a huge challenge and exhausting.

Mark made us go down below in the swell and crawl to the very front and back of the boat - I managed this fine with a bit of help from my team mates. I don't use my leg while I'm onboard. Partly because it gets in the way and partly because it's worth $100,000 and not water-proof!

Mark asked me after the first trip

'So do you think you ready for Hobart?'

I said 


'No absolutely not! This is a match fitness thing and this is the first of many trips which will build my fitness, stamina and skills.'

The other thing that's been developing really well on board is the team spirit. Kristi has been helping me with my gear and helps me get in and out of my bunk. The whole preparation for Hobart is about team work - the people around me are the ones who have helped me achieve what I have achieved so far."

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    • Kristi Foster | 2014-07-02 18:16:38
      So very pleased you were successful in getting some really GREAT gear!
    • Deb Jeffreys | 2014-07-05 18:49:16
      Yep me too - just another step on the journey :)
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Brett Whitely

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