Over 30 years on from her OB experience, Julie Porter still holds OB close to her heart. With partner Charles she created Heritage Sailing Tasmania, a not for profit entity that runs the historic tall ship, ketch SV Rhona H.
Kia ora Julie! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m originally from Upper Hutt, but now live in Kettering, Tasmania. I trained as a Registered Nurse in Christchurch and then completed degrees in Tropical Medicine, Education and Management working at all levels of mental health nursing in NZ and Australia from a staff nurse, Director of Nursing and now Clinical Nurse Educator for Community Mental Health in Hobart.
When did you attend OB?
At age 21 I spent 3 glorious weeks on my Classic course (Cook 267) in January 1986
What were the personal highlights of your course?
Sailing the Resolution and the overnighter at Blumine Island. Something very special about setting the sails at the end of a very long 8 hour row. Then in the morning, waking to the sound of the ocean and bird song.
What was it about your OB experience that motivated you to get involved with the SV Rhonah tall ship ?
My passion for Tall Ships and classic boats started right back with the Spirit of Adventure and then sailing Queen Charlotte Sound with OB.
Both “Spirit” and OB together shaped the course and passion for being on the water. Moving to Tasmania after my husband Neil passed away meant there were new opportunities and a different life. Charles and I met through their involvement with Tall Ships in Hobart and was the start of a new adventure. After the 2013 Sydney Harbour Tall Ships event and sailing across Bass Straight on the STV Windeward Bound, we bought the “Rhona”.
It was an opportunity to keep the vessel in Tasmania as well as giving something back to the community. Combining sailing and sustainability fulfilled a dream of ours and we’ve embraced this with a passion.
What does a typical week look like for you?
It’s about a work-life balance. Living down the Channel is very much like the Marlborough Sounds with beautiful waterways and cruising grounds.
Catching the early bus to work gives time for reflection and planning the day ahead before arriving at work as a Clinical Nurse Educator.
The day is packed from the time of arrival at work.
After work it’s about the background jobs to keep the ship afloat, literally as well as part of tourism in Tasmania.
Summertime we do twilight sails on the Rhona H sailing under the Tasman Bridge and give passengers the best experience possible whilst sharing our love of the water.
Year round on weekends we sail on Rhona H to keep the vessel afloat and preserve a piece of Tasmania’s maritime history.
As well as that, I am the President of the Wooden Boat Guild of Tasmania - the first female ever!
My main goal for 2019 is to complete a Master <24m commercial licence and then submit the literature review for my PhD “The impact of outdoor activities such as sailing in reducing winter depression”. All OB inspired.
Julie how do you continue to incorporate the OB life values into your day to day life?
The OB motto when I completed my course was still the international one “To serve, To strive and Not to Yield”.
This has stayed with me right from the moment instructor Mike pinned the OB badge on my shirt at the culmination of the course.
Since then and on visiting OB Anakiwa, learning “there is more in you”, it has been about a work life balance and setting achievable goals and following a dream.
The crew on the Rhona H are all volunteers. Our model was framed in OB principles, especially providing opportunities and being sustainable.
Anything else you would like to add?
Our house plaque on our home in Kettering “Anakiwa” greets us every day.
Visiting Anakiwa on every trip home is like a pilgrimage, sitting in the jetty and reflecting for a few moments is grounding: one that is a reminder of OB’s impact and how the experience has shaped my life.
Julie Porter - Cook 267