Please select your home edition
Edition
C-Tech Emirates

The adventures of Jessica Watson part 2 - Set on Sydney to Hobart

by Jackelyn Norris on 6 Sep 2011
Jessica Watson helming Sydney 38 down-wind - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011 Sail-World.com /AUS © http://www.sail-world.com
Jessica Watson may be the youngest person to sail around the world solo and unassisted but her next challenge is just three months away when she will compete in the 2011 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race.

The famed Sydney to Hobart Race, held on Boxing Day, is widely considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world and is sure to test her mental and physical strength yet again.

‘It’s certainly going to be very challenging, but that’s going to be quite exciting. It’s a completely different skill set for me to learn, it’s racing - faster sailing, and it’s an intense three days, whereas my voyage was about slow and steady and sticking it out for such a long time.’

Jessica will be accompanied by four girls and six guys in the race, each bringing their own talents to the deck. ‘It’s a really interesting mix of skills we’ve got. Some of them are dinghy sailors and some of them are big boat offshore sailors, so it’s going to take a lot of effort to get us working well together as a team but it’s going to be really fun.’

Jessica said with the males outnumbering the girls the boat is being painted pink to keep the gender diversity intact. ‘The Sydney 38 has just arrived in the marina on the Gold Coast where she’s getting ‘pinkified’. We’re adding a few more pink accessories and some pink scaping and then it should be good. It will definitely be more familiar,’ she laughed.

The young team kicked off their Sydney to Hobart campaign with the Audi Sydney to Gold Coast Race at the start of August, where Jess said they ‘fluked a win’.

‘It was really great. We had a bit of a mixed team on board with our coaches as well, but it went well. Obviously the coaches are now taking a bit of a step back.’

They all recently competed in the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which Jess said was also a great training exercise.

Currently the crew is scattered all over the world but will come together again in October, in Sydney, to commence training fulltime up until the event. Jessica said that preparation will involve a range of elements.

‘Training will involve everything from doing the race, a dry run we call it, sailing down to Hobart as if we’re racing and then back again. We will also be sailing against other boats and racing the local races.

'But obviously the safety element and the offshore element is something that we’re going to town on. We’re not ever going to take any shortcuts there,’ she said.

The crew will also be learning each position on the yacht as part of preparation. ‘We’re all swapping around in positions. There’s a few of us girls on board that aren’t particularly big but we’re finding ways to do things. Definitely getting comfortable with every position is something that’s important for us on board, and again it comes down to being a safety issue and good sailing, in that anyone on board can jump into any position,’ Jessica said.

Chris Lewin and Jono Bannister will be the crew’s primary coaches in the lead up to the event. Both are experienced sailors and are also competing.

Jessica said that ‘it’s quite an interesting dynamic’. ‘We have our coaches setting us up to do well and then racing against us, so we’ll see what happens.’

‘I think on Boxing Day, just before the race starts, I’ll certainly be feeling a few nerves. Like everyone you’d be crazy not to. But I think now it’s all about learning as much as possible and doing the hard work to get there, to set ourselves up in the best possible way.’

Mackay BoatsC-Tech Emirates TNZZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

An interview with Patrick Kennedy about the Ida Lewis Distance Race
I interviewed Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution. With this year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race set to unfurl the weekend of August 18-20, I caught up with Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the event’s new partnership with the 2017 J/Fest New England.
Posted on 14 Aug
An interview with Marianne Davis about the CORK International Regatta
I interviewed Marianne Davis, co-chair of the CORK International Regatta, to learn about the regatta’s state of affairs. While the various CORK regattas' registration lists include international sailors, these events are some of the gemstones in Sail Canada’s yearly championship calendar, making them of extra importance to Canadian sailors. I recently caught up with Marianne Davis, co-chair of the 2017 event, via email, to learn more about the CORK International Regatta’s evolution and its current state of affairs.
Posted on 7 Aug
A Q&A with the RORC’s Nick Elliott about the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race
I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email, to learn more about the world-famous Rolex Fastnet Race. When one stops to consider the world’s best ocean races, the Royal Offshore Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Sunday, August 6, 2017, is never far from mind. I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the amount of work that goes into pulling off this world-famous regatta.
Posted on 1 Aug
Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
A Q&A with Tom Trujillo about the Transpacific Race’s 49th running
Sail-World interviewed Tom Trujillo, the Transpac Race’s PRO, via email to learn more about this classic bluewater race. The Transpac Race (est 1906) is in a rarefied group of four races that are considered sailing’s greatest bluewater Corinthian challenges, and it welcomes a wildly diverse fleet of bluewater-worthy boats. The 49th running of this classic race is currently underway, so Sail-World caught up with Tom Trujillo, the race’s principal race officer, via email to learn more.
Posted on 7 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun