Like a lot of teenagers, Ben the Bear has little sense of his limitations and decided that he would try out the 'I feel the need for speed' (for those too young, Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun) and joined the amazing Skiff Chicks Racing team for a spin around the Harbour the other day.
Ian Mainsbridge photo: Ben feels a bit more comfortable pretending to call tactics on Wild Rose - Rolex Sydney Hobart
Ben is sailing to Hobart onboard the 43 foot yacht Wild Rose to help raise awareness of The Kids' Cancer Project which funds research into some of the most aggressive kids cancers - which helps scientific awareness and possible cures for all cancers.
Ben is named after Ben Lynn, the son of one of some very special friends of Wild Rose. The real Ben is only 8 years old and is a little overwhelmed by all the publicity about his namesake. But he has already told his Cottesloe schoolmates in Perth that he wants to sail in the Sydney Hobart with skipper Roger Hickman and the Wild Rose crew (including Ben the Bear of course!).
Ben likes to get ahead of himself sometimes and tries to take over the tiller - Rolex Sydney Hobart
Ben Lynn will have to wait about another 10 years before he meets the minimum age criteria for the great race. By that time, Ben the Bear will be in a senior position on the boat and we will give him the extra special task of taking care of our newest crew member.
The all girl crew who are taking on the adrenalin fueled world of 18 foot skiffs were pleased to take Ben out for a slightly faster ride on the water compared to what he has experienced to date. We thank the girls, particularly Alex South (who narrowly missed out on a spot to represent Australia at the London Olympics in the Radial Laser class - but we are barracking for her for Brazil) for giving him a taste of high speed skiff racing - Ben was a bit too proud to admit that it scared the hell out of him!
I know he will be prepared to brave the 18s again in the new year, while bragging about, and telling tall tales, about his Rolex Sydney Hobart adventure. He hasn't experienced a strong southerly like the one(s) currently forecast so he may be in for a bit of a shock!
Thanks to the skiff chicks for joining in the spirit that the sailing community has so enthusiastically embraced for this amazing charity (six boats in the Rolex Sydney Hobart are raising awareness and funds). The crew on board Wild Rose are already in friendly arguments as to who should get to have him as a bunk buddy while off-watch. He certainly looks more cuddly than trying to sleep on a wet spinnaker .
Ben puts on a brave face before sailing with the Skiff Chicks Racing team - Rolex Sydney Hobart
If you would like to donate to Ben's first Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race raising money for research that will help many kids and their families going through pretty tough times please go to Everyday's Hero