Mike Austin delivered a fascinating illustrated presentation of the story of Joshua Slocum who built the “Liberdade” when he was shipwrecked in southern Brazil, and later became the first man to circumnavigate the world alone in the “Spray”.
Then Mike told the story of David Sinnett-Jones who circumnavigated the world in a copy of Joshua’s “Spray”, and later built the “Liberdade”.
Finally, he related how he and David retraced the voyage of the “Liberdade” from Paranaguá, Brazil to New York, including nineteen days single-handed from Antigua to Norfolk VA.
Mike was raised in Surfers Paradise, Australia before coming to England to complete his schooling. In 1960, he gained his parachute wings and served four years in the Special Forces TA, training to parachute at night behind enemy lines to carry out covert reconnaissance sending data back in encrypted Morse code.
His sailing career began in earnest when, in 1994, he competed in the
Sydney-Hobart and the Sydney-Mooloolaba races while undergoing chemotherapy for Lymphoma, for which he is an ongoing patient. In 1996 he joined the crew of “Time and Tide” in the BT Global Challenge, sailing the Rio to Wellington, and Wellington to Sydney legs before acute Tenosynovitis of all his fingers and thumbs forced him to leave the boat in Sydney, and undergo intensive physiotherapy at the BA Medical Centre back in the UK.
After retirement in 1997, he completed his first of three Transatlantic crossings to gain the Ocean endorsement of his Yachtmaster power and sail. He is a member of the RORC, the Royal Southern Yacht Club, the Port Solent Yacht Club and the Army Sailing Association.
Mike has sailed well over 60,000 miles and lives in Port Solent where he keeps his yacht “Up To Speed”, a Dehler 35. He also enjoys time on the water aboard his canal boat.
In the summer of 2017 Mike was diagnosed with stage four Melanoma affecting his right lung and liver, a deadly and, as yet, incurable form of cancer. He is currently receiving a new immunotherapy treatment at the Q.A. Hospital, Portsmouth and is raising funds for the new Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy at University Hospital, Southampton.
8th November 2018