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2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Englishman On An Adventure Of A Lifetime

2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Englishman On An Adventure Of A Lifetime
Cabbage Tree Race J Bird © Salty Dingo 2023 Must credit Salty Dingo. © Copyright Salty Dingo 2023

2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Englishman On An Adventure Of A Lifetime

Englishman on an adventure of a lifetime.

Englishman Will Oliver is one among the number of people about to undertake their very first Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 2023, but there is one major difference for the 33 year-old from East Yorkshire.

Oliver got it into his head he wanted to compete in three major offshore races in one year. He is an adventurer from an adventurous family.

“My brother Dan did the South African leg of the Clipper Round the Race around 13 years ago and my Dad (Steve), did the Perth to Gold Coast leg the same year. They hadn’t done any sailing before. Adventure is in the family blood,” Oliver said.

First came the Rolex Fastnet Race, which takes the fleet from Cowes in the Isle of Wight to the finish line in Cherbourg France.

“I’d done the Round the Island Race (around the Isle of Wight) with CatZero on a Challenger 72.”

CatZero, he explained, is a Humber-wide organisation he is involved it. The charity is committed to making lasting positive and personal change in the lives of children, young people, families and adults.

“After that, I rang to see what longer races they were doing in 2023 and they told me I could do the Fastnet,” the 33 year-old recalled.

“We had 45 knots coming out of Cowes. It wasn’t just that, there were three different winds, the strong current. Then we were becalmed for five just before we reached the Fastnet Rock. That was surreal after being hammered and hammered. We got round the Rock and got headed again – 35 knots heading to the finish in Cherbourg, France.”

That Fastnet was Oliver’s breakout race.

“The Sydney Hobart was my next choice, but in between, I got a ride on Escapado, a Beneteau first 40.7,” he said of his first Rolex Middle Sea Race which starts and finishes in Valletta, Malta.

“It was a light wind start, to the point where all the yachts were pushing off each other. From there it was a headwind, to no wind, struggling to get through the Messina Straits because of the strong current and little wind. We had a combo of long kite runs to multiple sail changes going upwind.”

Now Oliver is about to do the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart on Annika and Ian Thomson’s Ocean Crusaders J-Bird from Queensland.

“One of my water ski connections sent me a link to the Ocean Crusaders Facebook page and here I am, trimming and floating in the cockpit. I flew to Brisbane and did the delivery to Sydney and that’s when I realised how fortunate I was. I am massively thankful to Ian and Annika.

“What’s nice too is the sustainability aspect of the boat. I work in the building industry and we’re working towards zero carbon buildings. So it’s a nice match.”

Oliver says he heard about the Sydney Hobart watching TV in England as a kid: “We’d wake up Boxing Day and it would be on TV then because of the time difference. I’d see the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in background and it and I just wanted to do it. It’s a world famous event.

“My trilogy of races... It will be exciting to finish all three in one year,” Oliver ends.

Written by Di Pearson | RSHYR Media