Rolex Sydney Hobart- Super Sevens champ swaps rugby for super maxi

Grant Wharington, Ollie Phillips and Michael Donnan on Wild Thing
Kelly Matthews

<As the yacht made its way up the Harbour towards the CYCA, the gregarious Phillips spotted a couple of the super maxis and expressed a desire to 'have a go.' Wild Thing owner Grant Wharington obliged and Phillips found himself aboard the 100 footer which is aiming for line honours in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Arriving back at the CYCA after a stint in the Harbour and offshore, Phillips declared: 'That was unbelievable – incredible - I’m hooked. Grant (Wharington) showed me some techniques they use on the boat and I’m going to take them back to our boat. Hopefully they’ll improve our performance come the Hobart,' he said.

'Once we got out there, I didn’t want to just sit around and watch, so they gave me jobs to do on Wild Thing, which was wonderful.'

The 31 year-old previously captained the English team on the HSBC Sevens World Series, but is out while recovering from a nerve injury in his calf.

'I plan to be back in action for the Rio 2016 Games,' he said, 'After that, I’ll retire, so who knows – I’d love to do more sailing on a super maxi.'

Phillips is not the lone rugby player in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. He is joined by Australian Phil Waugh on Perpetual LOYAL, Mike Martin at the helm of his TP52 Frantic. The three are joined by a host of celebrities and media sailing amidst some of the most respected and decorated sailors in the world when the CYCA’s 628 nautical mile race gets underway on Boxing Day at 1.00pm AEDT.