Team SCA’s Stacey Jackson received the best possible birthday present yesterday when the 32-year-old was confirmed as back on the bow for the last legs of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Jackson was rotated off the all-female boat
for the last leg, from Newport USA to Lisbon in Portugal. She anxiously sat out that leg worrying it might mean the end of the Volvo Ocean Race for her.
With three legs ahead, each one of about 600 miles, Jackson is keen to show her experience in racing these short, hard distances. She has competed in nine Sydney Hobart races, that race length being about 630 miles.
Although several of the Team SCA crew have competed in similar length races, none of them have done as many as Jackson so she has been able to contribute to the team’s planning, offering input on how they should approach the final race legs including the watch system and what to expect about getting any form of rest when the race is likely to last only two and half days.
The final part of the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race goes from Lisbon, to Lorient in France, across to a pit-stop in The Hague and then across to Gothenburg in Sweden.
“Leg 9 basically becomes two legs because we have a pit-stop in Holland. So it becomes three Hobart races back-to-back for me which is a race I have done a lot of and I enjoy that distance.
“It’s almost harder to do that sort of distance because you know that is all there is. You are going to go all guns the whole time as you know it is short, but it is too longer period to stay awake for the entire time. We are really trying to prepare for this because this distance is long enough for us to hang in there and potentially get on the podium.
“We can have a best start, do good things at the beginning of the legs, but then get to a certain point where the tiredness or something kicks in or lack of experience takes over and we can’t hang in there with the guys. That distance is getting longer. In Leg 6 it was like eight or nine days before we lost it where at the beginning of the race it was one or two days. The gap is closing.
“With these shorter legs there is no reason why we can’t win one of them or get a podium place,” Jackson said.
The fleet are expecting to beat their way north for most of the rest of the race and even though it is almost summer there, the water is still cold and so will be the sailing. “It’s going to be like a southerly Hobart race,” Jackson added.
She also reported the Team SCA sails are all in reasonably good shape, other than the mainsail which has over 44,000 miles on it. Jackson thinks this will help them with their target of a podium place in one or more of the remaining legs.
The Lisbon to Lorient leg starts on June 7. The Lorient to Gothenburg leg starts on June 16 with the boats due into The Hague for a pit-stop between June 19 and 22. The fleet finally finish in Gothenburg on June 22 or 23.
The end of the Team SCA program is fast approaching. Once they reach Gothenburg, complete an In-Port race there and some corporate sailing at Marstrand, the program is due to wrap up on July 1. Sensibly Jackson has been working on putting in place her forward sailing program. She will head to Women’s World Match Racing Championship in Denmark to crew for her friend and skipper Katie Spithill.
“My next big yachting event then will be the Ladies Race at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on July 19 and then onto doing the Sydney Gold Coast Race and Brisbane Keppel Race with Black Jack. I’m not sure what will happen after that as there is talk about the Fastnet Race so I have find out what’s the future of the pink boat.”