The first all-female professional crew to enter the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has announced its bid to win the coveted Tattersall Cup in Hobart.
]The 13-strong crew, led by Skipper Stacey Jackson, will race under the team name Ocean Respect Racing, in partnership with 11th Hour Racing, to promote environmental awareness.
Sailing on the 66 footer Wild Oats X, the crew is a serious contender in the race, with a combined experience of 68 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races and 17 Volvo Ocean Races.
Team members include Jade Cole, Vanessa Dudley, Faraday Brooke Martin, Katie Spithill, and Sue Cafer.
“Sailing with a fully professional, all-female crew to Hobart is a wonderful opportunity," said Stacey Jackson, Skipper and Founder of Ocean Respect Racing.
"We are proud to build on the work of non-professional female crews who have previously raced.
"We are excited to promote and encourage women in the sport and engage with the Australian public on ocean health issues that are affecting us daily, both locally and globally.
"We are working with environmental organizations, as well as local yacht clubs, to further educate ourselves, be proactive in mitigating our impact on the ocean, and inspire our fans and communities to become ocean stewards.”
Ocean Respect Racing will promote the UN Environment's Clean Seas campaign, a grantee of 11th Hour Racing, growing the momentum of Australia’s recent commitment to the campaign to reduce ocean plastics.
Rob MacMillan, Co-Founder of 11th Hour Racing, said, "We are thrilled to continue our work with Stacey Jackson in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, building on her legacy with Vestas 11th Hour Racing and the Volvo Ocean Race.
"Stacey is a keen advocate for ocean health, which she demonstrates daily as a professional sailor and as a business owner.
"The opportunity to work with an all-star female team in this iconic offshore race is a great platform to raise awareness, and act, on the global issue of plastic pollution. We are very proud to support the legacy that Stacey and her team are going to build in her home country.”
Sandy Oatley, whose family owns Wild Oats X and Wild Oats XI, added: “Sailing is a sport that my family is incredibly passionate about.
"We were delighted to agree to contribute Wild Oats X to Stacey’s campaign at Hamilton Island Race Week. We are looking forward to seeing both Wild Oats XI and Wild Oats X on the starting line for what is expected to be a strong race.”
Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is also working closely with Stacey Jackson as Ambassador for the team.
“I am delighted to be the ambassador for Ocean Respect Racing," she said today. "This historic initiative will set the benchmark for female participation in sailing in Australia.
"Stacey’s team comprises some of the most capable sailors."
She added: "Importantly, I am looking forward to working closely with the team and the UN Environment's Clean Seas campaign to promote the importance of ocean health and sustainability in Australia.
"I hope that their sporting endeavors will inspire women and girls around the world.”
The Ocean Respect Racing team will make its debut at the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on December 11th in Sydney Harbour. The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will start on December 26th.