9th December 2010 Port Macquarie Library, NSW, Australia
One of Val Wake's former sailing companions has agreed to do the honours for the local launch of his book My Voyage around Spray (with apologies to Captan Joshua Slocum.)
Cameron Marshall, the station manager with ABC radio in Port Macquarie sailed with Val on his yacht Spray in the Hastings River and offshore.
"I am very pleased that Cameron has agreed to help me out on this. The book is a bit controversial and I may come in for a bit of flack. Having a fellow sailor will help."
Val had hoped that Dylan Phillips would be able to attend the launch. Dylan is a Royal Australian Navy lieutenant serving on HMAS Parramatta. His last tour of duty was in the Gulf rounding up Somalian pirates.
"Dylan was in Port this week for two days of home leave. He told me that he was in the officer in charge of the boarding parties landing on the pirates' boats. Once they disarmed the pirates they were at a bit of a loss what do wo with them. At the start the Navy handed the pirates over to the Yemeni Government who after a brief trial usually shot the pirates. The Australian Government has a policy that opposes capital punishment so the Navy was forced to return the pirates to their home land," said Val.
Lt. Dylan Phillips started sailing with Val on Spray when he was 14 years old. His experiences on Val's yacht led to his interest to joining the Navy. Val and his wife Lil attended Dylan's officer graduation parade in Canberra in 2004.
Much of this is in Val Wake's book which traces his early love of boats which took him around the world and his eventual discovery of Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail single handed around the word, while on an attempt to reach the North Pole.
Retired High Court Judge Mr Justice Michael Kirby has described the book this way:
"This book digs deep into the abiding spirit of Australians. It portray us as a people, fiercely competitive in sport and imbued with egalitarian sentiments and a quest for a fair go. In the freedom of sailing boats, the author finds himself. And there is no more important discovery to be made in this life."