Welcome Home Andy Lamont
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
In March this year, I spoke in this chamber about Andy Lamont, an intrepid adventurer from my electorate of McPherson, on the Gold Coast. Andy Lamont is a 54-year-old husband, father and grandfather from the southern Gold Coast. A pest controller by trade he also holds an honours law degree. In October last year, he set off in an attempt to become the first person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world in a boat under 40 feet long or 12.1 metres, travelling in a westward direct, against prevailing winds. He had to take with him all food, water and other supplies to sustain him for the duration of the voyage. Andy first began thinking about undertaking the record attempt, which is described as the Mount Everest of sailing, 25 years ago. But he wasn't just motivated by personal achievement; Andy used his world record attempt to raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation, which is continuing the work of the late Dr Hollows, fixing the eyesight of people from Eritrea and Nepal.
On the night before I addressed this chamber on Andy's attempt in March, he encountered significant problems with his autopilot and communications system after days of being buffeted by strong winds and big seas. As he approached the most treacherous part of his journey, Cape Horn, he was forced to abandon the world record attempt to try to get to land for repairs.
Deputy Speaker Buchholz, I believe you were in the chair when I gave that speech, and I indicated at the end that I would report back later on on Andy's progress. So today I'm fulfilling that commitment to update the Chamber on Andy's courageous venture. Well, Andy is back. I was so excited to be one of the people there to welcome him as he sailed back into the Gold Coast on Saturday for a very emotional reunion with his family and friends. After lots of hugs and kisses, Andy actually enjoyed his first beer in many months, I suggest. I'm pleased to report that despite the ordeal he was physically in very good shape and, in fact, during the entire voyage he used just one band-aid from his extensive first aid kit.
We are also very proud of what Andy achieved. He raised some much-needed funding for the Fred Hollows Foundation and his journey epitomised the Australian spirit of having a go. Andy did say that the best part about being back home is spending time with his family, especially his baby grandson Archer, who was only four weeks old when he left. There was certainly a large crowd waiting for Andy to return, including the media, and he asked the obvious question: will you make another attempt on the record? He looked at his wife, Deb, and replied with a grin that he wasn't allowed—and Deb certainly agreed with that response. However, I would not be surprised if some time down the track he announces another attempt.