Twenty-two year old Tasmanian Laura Roper will be skippering the two tonner Natelle in her first Sydney-Hobart. She will be joined by her father Glenn, and brother Ashley as well as the regular crew. This year will be Natelle Two’s lucky 13th Rolex Sydney Hobart, the same number for Glenn and crewman Lloyd Griffiths. Also competing in her first Hobart will be 29 year-old Ambi Ford.
“Every day as I walk down the hill to work looking out over the finish line off Battery Point, I get a little bit more excited!” she said. “I’ve wanted to do the Rolex Sydney Hobart for as long as I can remember.
A solid Peterson 41, Natelle Two has been in the family since 1990, when Laura was just one. With their three children in tow, the Roper family enjoyed many trips around the Derwent River and stunning cruising grounds of the D'Entrecasteaux channel.
Natelle Two was built in Auckland, New Zealand, from GPR foam sandwich and launched in 1975. The boat’s last Rolex Sydney Hobart was the 50th anniversary race in 1994. She has been restored to her original colour and has a new rig and sail wardrobe. The Ropers are hoping for a more traditional southerly slog, conditions better suited to the pre-carbon older and heavier-built fibreglass boats.
Laura will use the opportunity to raise awareness of the A 21 campaign www.thea21campaign.org, a non profit organisation committed to countering human injustice, particularly human trafficking.
|Crew||G Roper (12), A Roper (2), L Griffiths (12), B Perry (3), A Ford, G Hobbs, M Conrades|
|Type||Peterson 41 2 Tonne|
|Builder||Ocean Yachts NZ|