Celebrated sailor to Tuck into new race

Wendy Tuck is entering uncharted waters during this year's Sydney to Hobart blue-water classic.
Wendy Tuck is entering uncharted waters during this year's Sydney to Hobart blue-water classic.

Wendy Tuck has created her own new word for how she expects to feel during her 14th - and most daring - attempt at the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

"'Slangry' - when you're sleepy, hungry and angry," Tuck said as she gears up for the new two-handed division of the famous blue-water classic starting on Boxing Day.

Tuck has an enviable record as the only woman on the planet to win an around-the-world race and is also one of only two to twice claim the Jane Tate Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the first female skipper to finish the Sydney to Hobart.

But in teaming only with Campbell Geeves on the Beneteau 34.7-footer Speedwell, at 9.9 metres the second smallest boat in 80-strong fleet, Tuck is entering uncharted waters.

"I've always liked a bit of an adventure and thought this is the next step," Tuck said at Wednesday's race launch at the Cruising Harbour Yacht Club of Australia.

"It's just another challenge. I like pushing myself and pushing those boundaries."

That she will be doing.

Tuck and Geeves have been friends for 20 years, but have never raced together in the Sydney to Hobart.

Doing to as a duo is next level and Tuck admits their friendship will be tested at times in the exciting new two-handed division, which will also debut on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games program.

"It's a big step back (from racing with bigger crews). I've got to stop walking after 33 feet or otherwise I'm going to get really wet," Tuck said.

"The additional challenges are looking after yourself.

"We're going to have to be aware of that because every change we do, we're both going to have to be up on deck.

"So it's not like we can go four, five hours without sleeping. If something goes wrong, it could easily stretch out to 10 hours before I get to sleep, which is not do-able.

"So it's just about keeping an eye on the weather and looking after each other as well, and knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your partner."

Citing mental preparation and application as key, Tuck hopes to complete the 634-nautical journey in no more than five nights.

"I want to be there by New Year's Eve," she said.

Tuck and Geeves are among 19 contestants in the two-handed division.

Australian Associated Press