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Having started three months of intense courses to finish off my schooling, I’ve had quite a change of pace the last few weeks. After all the excitement of announcing the new project the other week, combined with the buzz of all the events and travel in recent months, hectic had somehow become my version of normal! So despite plenty of study, enjoying a slower pace for a little while!
Anyway, if you wanted to keep up with all the latest and hear about what I’ve been up to (or hear me gripe about a particularly tough maths lesson!), the best thing to do would be to jump on to my official Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/jessicawatsonofficial which I will keep updated regularly.
But what I wanted to do in this blog, was to explain a little more about the new project, “another Challenge”. I’m not sure how much you’ve already read in the media about the project, so I’d better start from the beginning.
To put it simply what we’re aiming to do, is to be the youngest crew to compete in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, on a boat every appropriately named another Challenge! The idea is to enter a highly competitive youth team in the 2011 race, (aiming to do as well as possibly in the Sydney 38 class) and by running a professional, world-class campaign, providing opportunities for young sailors to take part in the Sydney to Hobart and hopefully inspire other young people to stretch themselves. You can see all the info on the project website - click on the icon on the front page of my website: http://www.jessicawatson.com.au/anotherchallenge
You can watch some good news segments compiled at the media launch by the Seven Network and Network Ten. These clips also give you a great idea of what it’s all about.
Choosing/finding the crew isn’t something we took lightly. We (our coaching team and myself) came up with a list of skills needed and we went from there, contacting firstly friends, then sailing contacts, then some of the major yacht clubs and youth programs to find potential crew members. It was important that we had a diverse mix of skills rather than say 10 helmsmen and no foredecky! And most importantly that all crew were dedicated, focused on the campaign, keen to improve and for want of a better word, ‘nice people’!
So jump on the project web page and check out all the crew profiles and pictures (see crew pic below). Throughout the year and during training, you’ll be hearing directly from all the crew so will have the chance to get to know everyone.
With our crew scattered all over the place and some coming from half way around the world, it’s a little hard to get together every weekend to train like most crews would. So instead, we’ll be spending three full time months training at the end of the year, based out of Sydney. We’ll be out on the water pretty well full-time, putting in the hard work, to be as competitive as possible.
There will be lots of time spent offshore, even a dry (practice) run or two down to Hobart and back. Everyone on board will be doing a sea survival course, even though only 50% of the crew are required to and everyone, no matter their role onboard, will be studying coastal navigation. Closer to the race and after we’ve had the chance to shake out any cobwebs of our own, we’ll be training against another Sydney 38 and possibly joining in with some of the local racing to ensure that we’re right up to scratch!
Before we launched the project in Sydney, we had the full crew together for the first time training and getting to know each other for 10 days in Melbourne, which went really well. On top of having a lot of fun, we spent some long days on the water (I had some stiff muscles after a few days!) and headed offshore overnight. It was a great chance to gauge what level we were all at. I have to say everyone exceeded expectations - we’ve got some amazing sailors on board! We will all be working on our own skill sets through our personal sailing over the year. Myself included! There’s lots of pictures from the 10 days training on our webpage.
It might just be the 10 of us setting off for Hobart come Boxing Day at the end of the year, but it’s going to take a much bigger team and a lot more resources than that, to get us there with every chance of doing well. Along with crew profiles on the website, there are also profiles of some of our support team, including our two coaches.
If there was one thing I learnt from the last voyage, it was how important it was to have a perfectly prepared boat. So throughout the year, another Challenge will be kitted out with lots of new gear including new sails and a new colour scheme.....any guesses what colour?
Anyway, I’m sure that only covers the tip of a rather big iceberg, so I’d better leave it at that for now. But stay tuned to hear from some of the team and support team and as we announce project sponsor partners, our charity partner and all sorts of other exciting developments!
Pic: (Courtesy Howard Wright/IMAGE Professional Photography). My amazing crew!
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