Solo globe sailor joins SB20 crew at Hamilton Island

Solo globe sailor joins SB20 crew at Hamilton Island

The picturesque warm and friendly waters of the Whitsunday Islands will present Sunshine Coast teenage solo sailor Jessica Watson with different sailing experience today.

Jessica captured the admiration of supporters around the world after successfully steering the little sloop Ella’s Pink Lady through some of the wildest sailing places on the planet.

This time, the energetic teenager, who has proved her passion for mastering the physically and mentally demanding challenge of solo sailing will not be alone, as she will crew for friend Matthew Jones as his for’ard hand aboard Lumix by Panasonic in the SB3 class which is racing at Hamilton Island for the first time.

“I will be up the front of the boat as the wind and wave shield,” Watson said.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she added during a press conference at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, after she was named Ambassador of Tourism Queensland’s 2010 -2011 Season of Sailing.

“Jessica is a genuine Queensland inspiration and has developed an international profile which makes her the fit for the Season of Sailing campaign,” Tourism parliamentary secretary Steve Wettenhall said.

“I’m happy to encourage more people to take up the sport of sailing.

Responding, Watson said: “The Season of Sailing offers everyone, from all age groups, to get out there and give it a go.”

Watson will try to help Jones defeat his uncle Rod, who is also the Australian distributor of the SB3. Jones Snr is a dab hand who was the inaugural winner of the Audi IRC Australian Championship in 2007, which he won again in 2009.

She and Jones will also be competing against big names including Australian Dragon champion Nick Rogers from Tasmania, and former Australian 505 champion Phil Gray from Mooloolaba. Hamilton Island’s multiple National title winning boardsailor Dennis Whinstanly will also be hard to beat.

Rod Jones has left nothing to chance in his title challenge with his high performance sports boat Club Marine Blue. He will have Australian Olympic and Paralympic coach Adrian Finglas is on trim and tactics and Greg Macallansmith in the bow.

The series will be sailed on windward/leeward courses off Catseye Bay starting today.

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