International 14 World Championship 2015: Geelong World Championships

International 14 World Championship 2015: Jessica Watson provides friendly suppor

Australia’s most famous young sailor, Jessica Watson, is in among the supporter crowd at the 2015 International 14 World Championships, being hosted by Royal Geelong Yacht Club until the 16th January.

Watson is constantly asked to be a part of a variety of events, both sailing and non-sailing, such is her profile and the respect that she has engendered in the international sailing community, since her successful challenge during 2009 and 2010 to be the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

When it came to the International 14 World Championship it was an easy decision for Watson to lend her support and profile to act as the Event Ambassador. This role means she gets to hang out with her friends and cheer on a class with which she has a close affiliation.

“I have enjoyed this class for the last few years. I sailed the nationals in Brisbane and actually won the handicap division. It’s not the most prestigious trophy in the 14 fleet, but to be honest, it was something I was very proud of. They are a damn hard boat to sail.

Jessica Watson is really enjoying hanging out with her I14 friends at the Geelong World Championships. Credit: Rhenny Cunningham - Sailing Shots
Jessica Watson is really enjoying hanging out with her I14 friends at the Geelong World Championships. Credit: Rhenny Cunningham - Sailing Shots

“To finish every race; that was something I was very proud of. It was the first time in a very long time that I would get in at the end of the day and someone would say ‘good job’ and I would say to myself ‘I actually earned that’.

Since then I have sailed the boat on and off and I have all my friends here so when I was asked to be the event ambassador, I said I was going to be here anyway watching it so I said I would absolutely love to take on that role,” - Watson said.

Watson will be helping to promote the International 14 class, hosting a spectator boat on some of the race days and rallying the supporters, helping them to get them involved in the various regatta activities including enjoying the local attractions.

When Watson is not involved in formal activities she will be heading out to watch the racing aboard her new project, a wooden H28 called Marisa. “It’s not very fast or exciting. It needs a bit of work and I am on a steep learning curve about wooden boats.

I have enjoyed sailing fast boats and different kinds of boats, but I think it is nice to have something to chill out on. It’s more of a social thing than anything else. It will let me get out on the bay as there is a lot to see on Port Philip,” - Watson said.

It’s a guessing game for Watson as to who will dominate the Geelong World Championship. She admits she would like to see the Australians and some of the Melbourne contingent dominate the podium. This might be tricky for them as the racing will be on fairly flat water instead of the chop that many of the local sailors are used to racing on the other side of the bay. Her tip is to watch the Perth sailors who are practised at racing in these conditions.

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