Sydney to Hobart yacht race: Clipper skipper Wendy Tuck creating history
Sydney to Hobart yacht race: Clipper skipper Wendy Tuck creating history

Double trouble for Sydney to Hobart groundbreaker

She's the most unlikeliest of sailing pioneers - a woman from Sydney's west who didn't know anything about sailing until she gave it a try in her mid 20s.

But Wendy Tuck, who grew up in Mount Druitt, is about to create more history in her sport.

"Who would have though a girl from Mount Druitt could do this?" said Tuck, two years ago after becoming the first female skipper to win the Clipper Round the World Race.

"Who would have thought we'd be sailing Sydney to Hobart two-handed,'' said Tuck as the countdown to the 76th edition of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race began.

 

Wendy Tuck, right, with fellow Sydney to Hobart sailors Emma May and Zoe Taylor.
Wendy Tuck, right, with fellow Sydney to Hobart sailors Emma May and Zoe Taylor.

Now 75 years after the first women competed in the Sydney to Hobart, the former Australian Sailor of the Year will be one of the first women to contest the 628 nautical mile race south two-handed - if funds permit.

When Jane Tate made it to the finish of the 1946 Sydney to Hobart - a year after the inaugural "cruise" south - she did it with her husband and crewmates.

Tuck, a multiple winner of the Jane Tate trophy awarded to the first female skipper to compete the Hobart each year, will just be doing it with mate Campbell Geeves, with the pair working to transform the 33-footer Speedwell from an inshore boat to an offshore racer with new sails, autopilot and a raft of safety equipment required under strict Sydney to Hobart racing rules.

 

Wendy Tuck, with her Clipper round the world crew on Sanya Serenity Coast at the end of their Hobart race in 2018
Wendy Tuck, with her Clipper round the world crew on Sanya Serenity Coast at the end of their Hobart race in 2018

"We need to do a lot of stuff for offshore,'' said Tuck, who is speaking at a fundraiser next month to help fund the campaign and has had great support from the sailing community.

"We are staying positive but there's a lot to do.

"The Sydney to Hobart will be a bit scary. I have done a lot of two-handed deliveries on small boats. I took a 31 footer though Bass Strait this year.

"But I've not raced. But I always say you are never to old to try new things.''

Tuck is testing the waters for a potential Olympic campaign leading into the 2024 Games in Paris where two-handed mixed keelboat racing will debut.

"You always have to have a dream,'' said Tuck, who is also interested in racing round the world on a 40-footer in 2023 and the Melbourne to Osaka race in 2025.

 

Wendy Tuck has big goals for her sailing.
Wendy Tuck has big goals for her sailing.

A mixed two-person keelboat offshore event will be raced for he first time at the Paris Olympics in 2024 with the Sydney to Hobart throwing out the welcome mate to double-handed sailors for the first time this year.

In 2018 Tuck became the first Australian skipper to complete two circumnavigations with the Clipper Round the World fleet. At the same time she became the first female skipper to win it.

Originally published as Double trouble for Sydney to Hobart groundbreaker


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