Coast sailor hopes weather gods will smile
SAILING: Professional sailor Stacey Jackson continues to make inroads in the male-dominated world of offshore sailing by quietly getting on with the job of being part of a leading racing team.
The Mooloolaba sailor is the boat captain and crew boss of the 66-foot yacht Alive which will be contesting this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
This will be her 11th year racing south.
Previously Jackson was on the bow of Alive, when it was called Black Jack 66, for three years before joining the all-women Team SCA that contested the last round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race.
In the last few months she has managed the refurbishment of the boat's electrical systems and an overhaul of all the fittings and winches. Helping her on the job has been Mooloolaba Youth Sailing Squad member and engineering student, Angus Lane.
"The boat is ten years old and we noticed some gremlins appearing in the systems,” Jackson said.
While she is unlikely to get much sleep during the race due to her key roles, she says her stress levels should be "okay” because the refurbishment means they "have fixed everything that was a problem”.
"I now know that mechanically the boat is sound which takes a massive bit of pressure off,” she added.
As crew boss Jackson is the link between the decision makers and the crew. She will have an overseer role, rather than being hands-on which is what she has done previously.
"Once we know where we are going and what we need to do, I sort of make the manoeuvres happen; getting the crew informed that there is a change coming up or we're thinking about gybing or tacking, for example, and making sure it all runs on time and smoothly,” she said.
There are not as many big boats in the race this year, compared to last year, but Jackson says the boats that are in Alive's "fleet” are good. They expect to be up near the three Volvo 70s and ahead of the TP52s.
"We just need to have the boat and crew prepared the best we can.
"I hope we get the right weather for our size boat and then sail the best we can. For a Hobart race, that is all you can do,” Jackson said.