Young Australian of the Year Jessica Watson, has upped the stakes for the seasoned sailors of the Sydney 38 fleet in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart this year. Behind the fame and glory of the large maxis, last year’s ocean race proved it ain’t over until the smaller fleet crosses the line.
Teenage skipper Jessica Watson takes command of her Sydney 38 class yacht Ella Bache Another Challenge in preparation for Boxing Day’s Sydney-Hobart start
In one of the closest and most challenging finishes the race has seen, it was the Sydney 38 fleet that provided a nail biting photo finish in the 628 nautical mile race, with the first two Sydney 38s finishing 29 seconds apart.
Last year’s winner, Eleni, is taking to the high seas again under the name TSA Management but it is the yacht that came second, renamed Ella Bache, that has the sailing community buzzing.
JESSICA WATSON, skipper of ELLA BACHE - Rolex Sydney Hobart Press Conference 2011
Jessica Watson will be at the helm of Ella Bache, and showing her usual flair and commitment to breaking records, her and her crew have been training intensely for the last few months.
Ella Bache has an average crew age of 19 while the defending champion TSA Management average age is well into their forties, you would be forgiven as seeing this as the young vs the oldies.
But Jessica Watson is adamant that their age is not a defining factor, saying recently 'I think it's surely about the experience and the way you go about things more than an age.'
Do not discount any of the eight yachts in the fleet winning the handicap honours.
The Goat, winner of the national championship earlier this year, has its sights on the Tattersalls Cup. Mark our words, just as it was last year, the most exciting race will be in the Sydney 38 fleet.
Sydney 38 fleet - Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race website