Sheila McHale

Sheila McHale

Minister for Disability Services; Tourism; Culture and the Arts; Consumer Protection

    Docker takes to high seas on

    21/11/2007 11:00 AM

    Former Fremantle Dockers star and life member James Walker will set sail aboard to take part in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race.

    Tourism Minister Sheila McHale said Walker had signed up to take on the challenge of the Southern Ocean in the race leg between Durban and Fremantle.

    “I’m delighted James has agreed to take part in this exciting event, which will no doubt test his physical and mental strength,” Ms McHale said.

    “WA won the 05-06 Race so expectations will be riding high as Walker jumps on board to help defend our clipper crown.

    “The WA yacht is doing battle with nine other yachts and I hope James will help us take victory again.”

    Last year, Walker notched up 150 games for the Fremantle Dockers during a 10-year career at the club. In reaching the milestone, he became the first Victorian to be granted life membership of the Dockers.

    Walker said he was nervous but excited about the clipper challenge.

    “I think the biggest test will be being completely out of my comfort zone and having little sailing experience, but I’m really excited,” he said.

    “I’ve been training at Fremantle Sailing Club and will have more training in Durban to get up to speed.

    “I’m looking to play a role, but also learn as much as I can while on board.”

    Walker will join other crew members in Durban this week ahead of the race re-start on November 25.

    The Clipper Race features 10 identical 68-foot yachts each crewed by up to17 amateur sailors and a professional skipper in a race around the world. The first boats are expected to arrive in Fremantle on December 16 2007.

    Ms McHale said the yachts would be based at Fremantle Sailing Club with an exciting race re-start planned at Fremantle Harbour on January 1.

    “I encourage people to attend what will be a great spectacle with the best vantage points at Victoria Quay and along city beaches,” she said.

    “The race is a great economic boost for the State, with the yachts, their crews and families staying in Fremantle over Christmas and New Year.

    “The last Clipper stop-over in Fremantle generated more than $1.5million in direct expenditure - not to mention the boat’s role as a travelling advertisement for our tourism industry throughout the 10-month race.

    “The Carpenter Government is investing in our State’s tourism industry and enhancing WA’s unique lifestyle.”

    Minister's office: 9213 6900