Excerpt from article from NewsRoom.co.nz:
For the first time in the gruelling Sydney to Hobart race, a professional all-women’s crew will line up on Boxing Day. Among them are two Kiwi sailors at very different stages of their careers.
Keryn McMaster is one of two Kiwis who are part a multinational crew of female sailing icons. The other is 29-year-old Bianca Cook, fresh from her first Volvo Ocean Race, on Turn the Tide on Plastic.
All 13 women are sailing stars in their own right. Between them, they’ve amassed 17 Volvo Ocean Races and 68 Sydney-Hobarts.
They’ve been handpicked by Australian sailor Stacey Jackson, who also sailed in this year’s Volvo on board Vestas 11th Hour Racing. Jackson’s latest mission is to encourage more Australian women to sail, and to push the message of taking better care of our oceans – naming this project Ocean Respect Racing.For Cook, this race – her first Sydney-Hobart – means the opportunity to sail with the women who she says “created the pathways for me”.
Women like Carolijn Brouwer, of the Netherlands - the first woman to win the Volvo Ocean Race on board Dong Feng this year. And Australian Vanessa Dudley, who's already sailed in 22 Sydney-Hobarts.
“I was up on the bow the other day, looking back and thinking ‘wow I can’t believe I’m sailing with these amazing women’. I realised I’m actually the youngest on board by quite a few years," Cook says.
“I’m going out there hoping we don’t have any majors and we have a good blast down to Hobart,” Cook says. “But it’s a race where you just don’t know which hand you’re going to be dealt.
“We’re hoping to get a pretty good result out of it, and we’re capable of it. It’s a fantastic project with such an incredible crew of sailors. Not women – sailors.”
Invited to join the crew by Jackson during the Volvo race stopover in Cardiff, Cook is also very aware of the importance of continuing to advocate for the health of the oceans and sustainability. Partnering the project is 11th Hour Racing, an organisation promoting sustainability through sport.
“All sailors are very passionate about our oceans, so it’s really just trying to push the message further,” she says.
“When I was a kid growing up it wasn’t really an issue. I’m not saying that we threw stuff into the ocean left, right and centre, but it wasn’t something you always thought about.
“Now, having been out on the world’s oceans and seen the effects humanity is having on them, it’s scary. It’s a message I’m passionate about spreading.”
Cook is also an ambassador for Yachting New Zealand’s sustainability strategy, urging every boat club in the country “to step up” and reduce their impact on the environment.
Since the Volvo ended in June, Cook has dabbled in some international match-racing, but mostly concentrated on finishing her Officer of Watch certificate to skipper super yachts. She's looking forward to finally spending time at home in Auckland this summer, sailing her family's famous classic yacht, Ranger. (Cook's dad, Ian, is commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron).
Read the full article, here - https://www.newsroom.co.nz/@sailing/2018/12/18/368397/the-kiwis-sailors-making-sydney-hobart-history