Cecily Butorac

(It will take me some time to locate Cecily's trips and photos, I was not on many of her kayaking trips, and they were long before digital photos.) Some photos here.

Cecily took up kayaking as a middle aged Mum and went on to represent Tasmania in Slalom and Downriver racing in National Championships, and obviously was a very competent paddler. Then her attention turned to sea kayaking in the late 70's and Cecily was the first woman to paddle to Flinders Island, the first woman to circumnavigate Flinders Island, the first woman to paddle to Maatsuyker Island, the first woman to paddle round SW Cape. The very early trips were done in sea kayaks without bulkheads and hatches, without rudders, without sails, without pumps.

Cecily spent 2 months kayaking in Japan, 2 months kayaking in Fiji, 6 weeks kayaking in the Greek Islands. Cecily did her utmost to encourage other paddlers to try sea kayaking, as in this trip to Freycinet Peninsula. For many years she was the editor of the Derwent Canoe Club magazine The Southern Canoeist.

Life Member No 1. (Maatsuyker Canoe Club)

Cecily Butorac was presented with a life membership certificate at a Maatsuyker Canoe Club meeting held on Schouten Island on 16th May, 1998, for her contribution to Tasmanian sea canoeing.
Cecily was a member of the Tasmanian State Slalom and White Water team to compete at the National Championships in NSW in 1976.
In 1978 she was the first woman to paddle a sea kayak to Flinders Island from Tasmania.
In 1980 she was the first woman to paddle a sea kayak to land on Maatsuyker Island.
In 1981 she went back to Flinders Island and circumnavigated it.
In 1982 she spent two months sea kayaking in Japan.
In 1983 she spent two months sea kayaking in the Greek Islands.
In 1983 she paddled from Port Davey out to Recherche Bay, after celebrating Christmas Day in Port Davey.
In 1984 she spent two months circumnavigating the main island of Fiji by sea kayak.

In all those years she would have been in a kayak at least every two weeks, paddling a white water river somewhere in Tasmania, or cruising its coastline in a sea kayak. She was an inaugural member of the Tasmanian Sea Canoeing Club, and an inaugural member of the Maatsuyker Canoe Club (Sea canoeing).

You may be excused for thinking that Cecily was some sort of super dare-devil athlete, but in actual fact she took up canoeing as a middle-aged Mum. She originally got a canoe to fill in time while she waited for her children at the local sailing club, but enjoyed it so much she joined the Derwent Canoe Club and took it up seriously. She edited their magazine ‘The Southern Canoeist’ for many years, and was made a life member of the club.

Born on Flinders Island, she always had love for the sea - and this took precedence in her latter years of canoeing. Those early days were pioneering days in sea canoeing in Tasmania. There was only one mould available - the North Sea Tourer - which she used to build her own sea kayak. These were very basic boats compared to today. They had no rudders, no sails, no hatches or bulkheads, no pumps. To pack camping gear for two weeks meant waterproofing it in small packages so as to be able to squeeze them past the seat into the rear of the kayak, and to take the footrest out to poke gear into the front.

She not only just paddled a kayak, but was involved in developing some of the early gear we used. Cecily was only the second person to try a sail on her kayak, and developed the vinyl sail holder that is now still a standard fitting on most sea kayaks. She was responsible for making an important modification to early vinyl hatch covers - and these are still being made and used 20 years later, virtually unchanged.

Cecily was the Tasmanian Sea Canoeing Convenor, and was a delegate to Australian Canoe Federation meetings. She was a qualified Instructor.

Over the years her enthusiasm for all forms of canoeing was infectious, and it was a great shame that a serious illness curtailed her activities.

Cecily passed away in October 2014.

Some of her trips.
Assisted in a Kyds Corner trip - 1976
Flinders Island - 1978
Recherche Bay/Southport Lagoon - 1979
Maria Island - 1979
Cape Raoul - 1979
Tasman Island - 1979
Schouten Island - 1979
Hunter Island - 1980
Little Swanport - 1980
Freycinet Peninsula - 1980
Maatsuyker Island - 1980
Flinders Island Circumnavigation - 1981
Freycinet Portage - 1982
Japan - 1982
Greek Islands - 1983
Bruny Island - 1983
Fortescue Bay - 1984
Port Sorell - 1984
Fiji - 1984  (This trip was never fully written up)
Bakers Bch to Deviot - 1985
Walker Island - 1985
Maatsuyker Island - 1985/86

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