Skip to main content

Kay Cottee, 1993

Pamela Thalben-Ball

oil on canvas (frame: 126.0 cm x 141.0 cm, support: 107.0 cm x 122.5 cm)

Kay Cottee AO (b. 1954) became the first woman in history to complete a solo, non–stop and unassisted voyage around the world in her boat Blackmores’ First Lady in 1988. During the 189 days of the 23 000 nautical mile voyage, she faced icebergs, gale force winds and whales as well as homesickness and loneliness. Her only contact with the outside world was by radio, and while the demands of the journey often left her with little time to sleep, she staved off boredom by knitting and writing poetry. In the course of the voyage she broke seven records including the longest time spent alone by a woman at sea, the greatest non–stop distance travelled at sea by a lone woman, and the fastest time and speed for a solo circumnavigation by a woman. The voyage raised $600 000 for Ted Noffs’s Life Education Centres. Cottee was named Australian of the Year for 1988.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 1999

Accession number: 1999.59

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Pamela Thalben-Ball (age 66 in 1993)

Kay Cottee AO (age 39 in 1993)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

Donated by

Pamela Thalben-Ball (2 portraits)

© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196
The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which the NPG stands.