I would like to inform the House of a constituent in my electorate of McPherson who encapsulates the spirit of adventure and generosity that Australians have become renowned for.
His name is Andy Lamont, and he is a 58-year-old grandfather from the suburb of Clear Island Waters. But he has been facing anything but clear waters as he attempts to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world in a westbound direction against the prevailing winds.
He is doing this in a boat that is smaller than 40 feet, or 12.1 metres. A pest controller by trade, Andy is married to Deb and is the father of three adult daughters and a grandfather to one.
Andy set off from the Gold Coast on 3 October last year with the expectation that he would not be touching dry land for nearly a year. He left Australian waters around Christmas last year, passed the southern tip of Africa in mid-February and, as of yesterday, was off the coast of Brazil, approaching the half-way mark of his epic journey.
To keep him sustained he has taken with him 50 food packs and close to 300 litres of water. If he runs out of supplies or his equipment breaks, Andy is not allowed to receive help from anyone if he is to break the world record. He has already been buffeted by rough seas while crossing the Indian Ocean and can expect more big seas throughout the second half of his journey.
Personal achievement is not Mr Lamont's only reason for attempting this record; he is using the world record attempt to raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation.
The foundation has been set up to continue the famous work of ophthalmologist Dr Hollows, fixing the eyesight of people in Eritrea and Nepal. Fred Hollows' humanitarian work saw him named Australian of the Year in 1990, and the foundation was set up after he died in 1993.
I encourage anyone who would like to contribute to the cause to visit the foundation's website at hollows.org.au.
Andrew Lamont says he first thought of attempting this world record 25 years ago. The voyage that he is undertaking has been described as 'the Mount Everest of sailing'. In his latest blog post overnight, Andy indicated he has encountered major troubles.
He changed course after his autopilot stopped working and his communication systems are failing. This means he cannot get adequate weather reports as he approaches one of the most treacherous parts of the voyage, around Cape Horn.
Unfortunately, Andy has had to make the decision to stop for repairs because it is simply too dangerous to continue. He is understandably devastated by this, but I would like to congratulate him on making it as far as he did, and I am sure that he will be given a stirring welcome home when he returns to the Gold Coast.
Andy, I am so proud of you. You have done an absolutely fabulous job. Well done.