Jessica Watson moves to the International 14

Solo round the world race sailor aiming to acquire dinghy experience

Sunday December 30th 2012, Author: Andrew Gough, Location: Australia

Sailing the 14 is all about fun over the summer, says Jessica Watson, who admits she missed out on sailing dinghies in her younger days, because of her fast move into keelboats for her solo round the world voyage in 2010.

Watson’s new challenge is sailing her International 14ft skiff Ella Bache, in this year’s Australian Championships, at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron against 25 boats as a new comer to the class.

Whether its crossing the Tasman with the youngest ever crew to contest the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race or sailing it solo around world, Watson is looking forward to blasting around the buoys with Cameron Dale in her new challenge the International 14.

“Trapezing and kites and all of this are new and fun, I didn’t realize how much was involved with these boats, its all about having fun over the summer, and learning as much as I can, and taking it from there” says Watson.

As the only female sailor Watson is taking on a field of experienced 14ft skiff teams, from all around Australia, including four time Australian champions Brad Devine and 96kg Ian ‘Footy’ Furlong.

“We aren’t going to be particularly competitive this season, and we aren’t the ideal weight but we will have to see how we go” says Watson.

The solo trip is in the past, but the Rolex Sydney Hobart Watson did last year was a great lesson in crew work. “I have spent the last few years doing a fair bit of sailing with other crew. Even on a small boat with just two of us you find it’s a good day if you’re working together as a team.

“It’s been great coming back from keel boats, everything on these boats [the 14s] is exaggerated, you can feel everything, and it will be great to take what I’ve learnt back to my keel boat racing."

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