Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Natelle Two arrives in Hobart

Natelle Two arrives in Hobart: Glenn, Laura and Ashley Roper (l-r) - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2011
Morgan Barnsley, Rolex Sydney Hobart media
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2011 - Natelle Two crossed the finish line at 1:03pm (local time) today, 31st December.

The skipper of Natelle Two, Hobart's Laura Roper, was glad to have the support of her father and brother as part of her crew in her first Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

One of only three female skippers in this year's race, the delighted 22 year old wanted to take the opportunity to promote women in sailing.

'They're seen as not strong enough but I don't think it makes much of a difference,' said Roper. 'You have your own way of doing things just as well as the boys!'

Another cause that the crew of Natelle Two wanted to promote was the A 21 Campaign, which works to fight the sex trafficking trade around the world.

'It is all about capturing these people, stopping it, prosecuting them, giving these girls housing, clothing them, and reintroducing them into the community to help get their life back,' said Roper.

Sailing for a cause made her particularly happy to finish her first Sydney Hobart, and it was even more special to be joined by her father Glenn for his 13th race, and brother Ashley for his third race.

'Of course it was tough at times, there's always the family feuds,' said Roper. 'It's okay though, we all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses which is really helpful.'

The race was a mixed bag for Natelle Two, with the wind hitting them on the nose at around 30-35 knots after they left the Sydney Harbour, knocking the boat around and saturating everything downstairs, with even a few minor leaks.

While pleased that there was no real damage or injuries, the most frustrating part came when the breeze died off completely. 'Sitting there, five miles from home, no wind – that was really frustrating!' said Roper.

Ecstatic to get home safely with her crew and beloved Peterson 41 2 Tonner, which she has been sailing on since she was three, Roper was already looking ahead to future races.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race websitene
http://www.sail-world.com/92424