Tribal Warrior to problem crusing stereotypes as the primary Indigenous crew to race the Sydney to Hobart



December 24, 2019 05:59:40


Naomi Cain, whose solely earlier expertise crusing was working cranes at Port Botany docks, is a part of the primary Indigenous crew to compete within the Sydney to Hobart.

Key factors:

  • The Tribal Warrior is called after the Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Company, a maritime coaching program mentoring younger Indigenous folks
  • Skipper Wayne Jones desires Indigenous folks to be recognised in what is taken into account an elitist sport
  • Naomi Cain, the one girl within the crew, says she hopes to encourage younger Indigenous girls to observe in her footsteps

The 40-year-old Indigenous girl won’t be a seasoned sailor, however she’s proper at house on the wharf.


“I’ve been working down at the ports for the past 18 years as a wharfie, so in and around the water but definitely not anything like doing the Sydney to Hobart,” Cain mentioned.

Cain would be the solely feminine on board the Tribal Warrior when the blue water traditional begins on Boxing Day.

“Why would I not say yes? To be a part of the first Indigenous crew to ever sail the Sydney to Hobart is just such an honour,” she mentioned.


She is from the Coonabarabran area of the Gomeroi folks, and says her heritage is a driving power in her life, being a descendant of Indigenous land rights activist Mary “Queenie” Cain.

“My grandmother [Queenie Cain] petitioned the queen of England and got our land, the Burrabeedee site, back in the 1880s — that’s where I get my strength from,” Cain mentioned.

The Indigenous crew is the brainchild of skipper Wayne Jones, who has been competing alongside Indigenous sailors because the 1960s.

“You’ve got AFL, Cathy Freeman sprinting, rugby league players — they’re all there, but who’s our [Indigenous] top sailor?” Jones mentioned.

He desires Indigenous folks to be recognised for his or her expertise and contribution in what’s extensively thought of an unique elitist sport.

“We’ve got Lightning Ridge talking, Moree talking, Bowen talking, to Uluru and to Broome, they are all following,” he mentioned.

“This is the people’s boat — we are a mix of nobodies — everyone has been waiting for this.”

Whereas Indigenous clans nationwide watch on, communities alongside the coast will mild fires and maintain smoking ceremonies to welcome the Tribal Warrior because it sails south from Sydney Harbour to Structure Dock.

‘We would like younger ones to assume something is feasible’

The Tribal Warrior is called after the Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Company, a maritime coaching program mentoring younger Indigenous folks in danger.

This system has been operating on Sydney Harbour for 20 years and goals to cut back recidivism charges in jail and strengthen household relationships and cultural ties.

“It turns the whole crew into a family, and there’s employment opportunities after that. And it’s the joy of being involved in the incredible sport itself,” Jones mentioned.

Shane Phillips is the organisations chief government and will probably be on board this yr.

“We want to show young ones it’s all possible no matter whether you’re poor or Indigenous or whatever, you deserve to be somewhere — but you’ve got to go out and fight for it,” Phillips mentioned.

“That is the world’s fundamental blue water race, it is an enormous factor.

“We’re all eager to show ourselves and we would like different younger ones to see that problem and assume something is feasible.”

It hasn’t all been easy crusing to get thus far — the yacht was on account of take part in 2016, however was badly broken in a storm and withdrawn weeks from the race.

The crew accomplished the race unofficially, and it was a tough experience.

“We ran into some trouble on the way through and I was downstairs paling water for 36 hours … it was absolutely treacherous,” Phillips mentioned.

“I was thinking to myself ‘I don’t ever want to do this again’, but then when we got to the Derwent it was all worthwhile, surreal and an amazing time.”

The 11-person crew will solely get entry to the leased boat, Beneteau 47.7, 10 days out from the race on December 16 — a really tight turnaround for a workforce with many members nonetheless discovering their sea legs.

“I don’t know what is ahead for me. I am scared but at the same time really, really happy to be able to do it,” Cain mentioned.

“If one young Aboriginal girl, or anyone sees me and thinks ‘I can do that’, that would make me so proud.”













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