Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - Ocean Affinity aims for top 20

Ocean Affinity - Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2011
Carolyn Lewis
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2011 starts on Boxing Day (26th December), when a mum of two and a Melbourne QC are to join Brisbane sailing boat Ocean Affinity.

Brisbane mum, Danielle Kendall from Hamilton, Brisbane will be joining the crew for her second Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. This mother of two young children takes to the Ocean as the only girl in a 12 'man' crew. Danielle started sailing at just six years of age and just loves the ocean and the sailing atmosphere. Her children, Lachlan (6) and Sienna (4), will be watching the start of the race at home with their Dad, Peter, and then travelling to Hobart to greet their mum when she arrives.

Melbourne QC, John Digby is taking a break from the courts and joining the Ocean Affinity team to compete in his first Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. John jokingly says that this will add a tick to his bucket list once complete! With a long history of sailing with his family and friends, John is keen to complete this memorable journey. His wife Kirsten will be waiting on the dock for him to arrive in Hobart.

John Digby QC has practised as a Barrister, principally in Victoria for the last 31 years or so and has been a Queens Counsel for nearly 20 years. John practises as a Commercial Barrister and is a recent past Chairman of the Victorian Bar and is currently the President of the Commercial Bar Association of Victoria.

John has also been a sailor since his early teens, first sailing in family owned VJs and Club Cadets and later crewing in couta boats and in his 20s and 30s crewing in keel boats including in the Victorian Ocean Racing Series Races. John has also cruised extensively with his wife Kirsten, on his Swanson 42 'Aranui'. John has not before sailed in a Sydney Hobart and is delighted to be getting the opportunity to do so on board Ocean Affinity in 2011.

Ocean Affinity is an Australian built Marten 49 racer/cruiser vessel with a carbon fibre hull designed by world renowned Riechel/Pugh.

In the 2010 race, Ocean Affinity finished in 22nd place – not bad for her first attempt, especially given the boat sailed for 16 hours without a main sail due to damage in the strong winds on the first night. Fortunately, crew member Casper White, is a qualified sail maker and was able to repair the sail at sea so they could go on to complete the race.

This year, skipper Stewart Lewis says he is aiming for a finish in the top 20. With new sails, experienced crew and good navigating Ocean Affinity is hoping to reach Hobart in the early evening of 29th December. The support crew of over 40 family and friends waiting on the dock hope that they finish at a more respectable hour than last year which saw them arriving in Hobart at 3.55am.

Ocean Affinity heads to Sydney on the 11 December 2011 and will undertake a series of lunch and sunset cruises on the Sydney Harbour for her major sponsors, Nautilus Marine Boat Insurance and OAMPS Gault Armstrong Marine Insurance Brokers, prior to the race start on Boxing Day. Keep your eyes peeled for the Purple Spinnaker at the beginning of the race if it is a downwind start.

Anyone wanting to track the progress of Ocean Affinity can do so online.

Ocean Affinity - Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2011
Carolyn Lewis

Danielle Kendall - Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2011
Carolyn Lewis

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race website
Ocean Dynamics website