Epic adventurer Debra Searle to speak at YCLA

| 06/10/2015
Cayman News Service

Debra Searle in the boat she rowed across the Atlantic

(CNS): Debra Searle, who rowed solo more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, will be the guest speaker at the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards (YCLA) being held 17 October. She will address those gathered at the 15th anniversary of the programme, which was created to recognise outstanding young leaders who serve as role models for the youth of Cayman.

The Young Caymanian Leaders Foundation (YCLF), organisers of the event at which the YCLA winner will be announced, said that Searle will tell the story of her epic solo journey. She and her husband began the 3,300-mile trip together but after a few days he developed a crippling phobia of open water and had to be rescued.

Searle decided to continue the journey alone in her 23-foot plywood boat, and instead of the approximately two months it was expected to take her and her husband, she spent 3 1/2 months on the water. Among the many hazards she faced were 30-foot waves, sharks and force 8 squalls.

The foundation said that Searle will discuss the strategies she used to succeed, and share some of the extreme lows and highs that she experienced as part of her journey.

Among her other adventures were sailing around Antarctica, crossing the English Channel with an all-female dragon boat crew, participating in an Arctic expedition and canoeing the Yukon River as part of of a two-person team.

Cayman News Service

Debra Searle

YCLF director Chris Duggan explained that Searle was a natural choice for speaker at the event. “Debra Searle personifies many of the key attributes of a great leader, notably the determination to take on a challenge and succeed against all odds, to overcome fear and rise above every obstacle.

“We are delighted she will join us as we celebrate the 15-year history of the YCLA programme and shine a spotlight on our five amazing finalists for this year’s milestone award,” he said.

This year’s YCLA finalists are: Taylor Burrowes-Nixon, 36, of George Town; Robbie Crib, 25, of South Sound; Rebekah Jefferson, 33, of West Bay; Kellie McGee, 27, of Savannah; and Stephen Watler, 35, of Savannah.

Candidates are nominated each year from members of the public and are open to any Caymanian between the ages of 20 and 35.

Tickets for the event, being held at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, cost $250 per person and can be collected at Celebrations in Camana Bay.

To reserve a ticket email YCLA

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