Members of the NSW Waratahs, who also represent the Australian 'Wallabies' team were taken out for their first ever sailing lesson in Sydney Harbour today by former England sevens Captain and GREAT Britain crew member, Ollie Phillips.
First time sailors Nick Phipps, Paddy Ryan, Matt Lucas, Michael Hodge and Jono Lance were invited to join Ollie, Old Pulteney skipper Patrick van der Zijden and Clipper Race crew members from GREAT Britain and Team Garmin to get an insight into Ollie’s own experience as a previous non sailor who only picked up the sport for the first time when he joined the Clipper Round the World Race in September.
Nick Phipps, one of Australia’s leading scrumhalves, who has faced Ollie on the pitch while both on national duty explained: “Ollie told us how he’d never touched a sailing boat before the race and now he’s an expert out there, telling everyone what to do. It was pretty impressive.”
“Now we’ve got to know the boat and some of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race crew, we’ll be watching their progress in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) with a keen interest. Good luck to them all.”
Ollie Phillips, who has played under both Waratahs Head Coach Michael Cheika and Australia Coach Ewen McKenzie during his career, said: “I’ve played against a couple of the guys so it was great to see them here today in a more neutral environment. We managed to get a few tacks and a few gybes in, and we winched Fanga (Nick Phipps) up to the top of the mast so they’ve all really seen what it’s all about and I think everyone’s had a great day. The next challenge would be to get them out in a real race situation and see what they can really do.”
Paddy Ryan, who plays prop for the Waratahs and national ‘Wallaby’ squad said “Racing in the RSHYR is an amazing experience but to be doing that as part of a worldwide race is a fantastic achievement by Ollie and all the crews involved. I would love to be a part of something like that if the opportunity arose.”
Inside Centre Jono Lance was equally impressed, saying: “Growing up in Australia, everyone hears about the RSHYR and it is such a massive thing so to get the opportunity to come out on one of the boats, not only taking part in that race but also doing the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is a pretty great experience and one I definitely couldn’t say no to.
The Clipper Race fleet‘s next challenge is the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race which departs on 26 December and doubles as Race 5 in the 16 stage Clipper Round the World Race.
To view video action of the Waratahs sailing lesson, click HERE