The MTA – Mobile Travel Agents’ sponsored ‘Mobile Travel Agents Big Wave Rider' has taken out line honours in the 2012 H&R Block Three Peaks Endurance Race held in Tasmania over the Easter weekend.
MTA’s brand ambassador Jessica Watson was actually at the helm as the 46’ catamaran, skippered by fellow Australian sailing legend Bruce Arms, crossed the finish line in Hobart on Easter Monday, four days after leaving the start point in Launceston on Good Friday.
MTA Managing Directors, Roy Merricks was also directly involved in the event - albeit on a dry land basis - with organisers inviting him to fire the 10-minute gun at Inspection Head Wharf in Launceston which traditionally marks the official count-down to the start of the race.
Mr Merricks said he was immensely proud to see ‘Mobile Travel Agents Big Wave Rider' cross the finish line with Jessica at the helm.
“But it was a very close run thing,” Mr Merricks said.
“Coming into the final stages of the race, when ‘Mobile Travel Agents Big Wave Rider’ failed to negotiate the Denison Canal before the compulsory closure at midnight on Sunday night, it looked like they had thrown their lead and the chance for victory.
“Strong winds funnelling through the canal combined with an outgoing tidal flow prevented the crew from rowing through into Norfolk Bay but after taking the opportunity for a sleep, they got underway just before 4am when the canal bridge re-opened – and that’s when disaster nearly struck.
“The yacht had only managed to travel a few hundred metres before going up on a bank which forced skipper Bruce Arms and crewman Lachlan Pryor to jump into the water with ropes to drag the 46’ catamaran clear of the shallows while Jessica steered.”
Mr Merricks said the crew’s action in manhandling ‘Mobile Travel Agents Big Wave Rider’ off the bank proved the decisive move for victory.
“Spurred on by 27 knot winds, ‘Mobile Travel Agents Big Wave Rider’ rounded the Iron Pot into the Derwent River, powering to the finish line an hour ahead of its nearest rival – a fantastic moment for all involved,” he said.
Mr Merricks said that MTA’s and Jessica’s involvement in the 2012 H&R Block Australian Three Peaks Endurance Race was just one of several exciting projects the company has planned with her across the year.
Sponsored this year by H&R Block, the annual Three Peaks Race is a non-stop offshore sailing and endurance mountain running event, commencing at Beauty Point just north of Launceston on the Tamar River and finishing in Hobart on the Derwent River.
En route, the running members of each team have to scale Mount Strzelecki, Mount Freycinet and Mount Wellington.
The 2012 event has been described as one of the toughest in the history of the event with competitors forced to take shelter from rough seas and strong winds on several occasions.