Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - NZ

Sydney Hobart 2012 – Gold medalist looks for more sailing challenges

by Danielle McKay on 30 Dec 2012
Sailors with Disabilities on Day 1 of the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart ROLEX-Carlo Borlenghi
The fast and furious nature of their latest Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race adventure makes Australian Paralympian sailing Gold medallist Liesl Tesch and the DisABILITIES crew craving for more 628-nautical mile voyages in the future.

Just minutes after completing her second Rolex Sydney Hobart, one of Australia’s most successful athletes, Liesl Tesch, has confirmed her sights are set on her seventh Paralympic Games.

It’s the speed that did it in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race this year though. Racing in excess of 25 knots on board the TP52, Sailors with DisABILITIES, in the 628 nautical mile southern dash has well and truly affirmed Tesch’s addiction to the sport of sailing.

In a move that many would consider certifiable, she’ll be back on board the yacht in less than 48 hours to take her back to Sydney - after a couple of rums and scallop pies, of course.

'Getting 41 knots from behind and going 25.1 knots downhill as the full moon rose and a rainbow broke from the moonlight; how magical is that,’’ she said.

It was a much tougher Sydney Hobart for Tesch, who is an incomplete paraplegic as a result of a bike accident in 1988, compared to her debut race in 2009.

First, there was a bout of sea sickness coming out of Sydney Harbour that not even her tried and tested cure-all of miso soup could help.

Then there were the violent conditions, brewed by a sou’wester off Tasmania’s east coast, which added to the challenge of racing the notoriously temperamental TP52. Though the only sign of any physical toll is Tesch’s chipped nail. Even they’re sailing inspired - her left hand is painted red for the port side, and her right is green for starboard.

'We got smashed harder and in different ways than what we did last time,’’ she said.



'It makes finishing that little bit sweeter. It’s an overwhelming feeling; you just feel these bursts of joy coming out of you.'

The crew crossed the finish line at Hobart’s Castray Esplanade just after 0900hours AEDT, after three days, 20 hours, four minutes and two seconds at sea.

It’s a far cry from racing the two-person SKUD dinghy at the London Paralympic Games, where Tesch won gold with her skipper Dan Fitzgibbon. It was her sixth Paralympics, having scored two silvers and a bronze as a member of the wheelchair basketball team, the Gliders.

'In the Paralympics I was a perfectly trained monkey,' she said laughing. 'There were just six pieces of string to pull; one tiny little boat. This thing is so big and so complex, it’s really challenging to take in all the things going on.'

Now, she’s turning her sights to the Rio Games in 2016. 'Rio’s always been on my mind, I’ll get back to that now,’’ she said.

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted today at 5:56 am
Will NZ's most successful Olympic Sailing event cop the Selection axe?
New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain in September 2014. In two of those the RS:X Windsurfing event, New Zealand is unlikely to be represented in the Men's event, and in the Women's event, Natalia Kosinska would appear to be a borderline selection.
Posted on 2 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
Kosinska to hit out against the Hyeres heavy metal in 2016 Olympic bid
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at Hyeres later this week. 2016 Olympic aspirant, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at the third round of the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Rio2016 - Winther hits ball firmly into Olympic selectors' court
2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team finishing 11th in the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico. Running a self-funded campaign which took in the Princesca Sofia Regatta in Palma, Spain followed by the World Championship on Banderas Bay, Mexico, Winther placed 11th overall and 10th country.
Posted on 21 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Kosinska flies out in RS-X Olympic bid
Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, in her final attempt to gain NZ Olympic selection. Kosinska has been training in her own program in New Zealand with the 2015 Women's World Champion, Chen Peina (CHN) in the RS:X Windsurfer, and Zhichao Zhang the Men's #4 at the 2015 Worlds in Oman
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther makes top three in final Qualifying race
2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds 2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds and has moved up the leaderboard to be in 12th place at the end of the shortened Qualifying Round. She placed third in the only race sailed today and continues to improve as the regatta progresses, and her confidence builds.
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther scores three single digit places - Day 3
New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table at the 2016 Laser radial Worlds being sailed in Mexico. She now lies in 15th place overall after three days of racing. She achieved single digit scores in the three races sailed today, despite hitting marks in two races and having to perform penalty turns.
Posted on 17 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Kiwis locked in Olympic selection fight - Day 2
The points gap has narrowed between the two elading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection The points gap has narrowed between the two lading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection in the Womens Singlehanded Laser Radial class.
Posted on 16 Apr
Lancer 40 yearsNaiad/Oracle SupplierSailutions - Furlex