Natelle Two is a boat. And not just any boat. It is the beloved family craft owned by Tasmanian couple Glenn and Jill Roper. And their 22-year-old daughter Laura will be skipper of the crew entered for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race this year.

Natelle Two - Laura Roper

Laura Roper: skipper Natelle Two (photo supplied)

Natelle Two: Tasmanian Female Skipper

Laura Roper will become the youngest female to skipper a Tasmanian yacht in the iconic race when Natelle Two joins the fleet in Sydney Harbour. Not a bad achievement for a young nurse from Hobart, in spite of the media attention given to another young, female skipper. Yes, I do mean Jessica Watson!

Natelle Two - Sydney to Hobart Entrant

Natelle Two (photo supplied)

The Jane Tate Memorial Trophy is awarded to the first female skipper to complete the race, and Laura would dearly love to take home that silverware. Last year’s winner, Stephane Howarth from Victoria, would also be hoping to upstage Australia’s sailing sweetheart.

Despite the profile of her opposition, Laura does have a chance. The Natelle Two is a bigger yacht than the ones both Jessica and Stephane will sail, albeit nowhere near as modern or expensive. Strong winds blowing from the south as the fleet head towards Hobart, give the Roper clan their best opportunity of success.

Glenn, Jill and Ashley Supporting Laura Roper

This year’s entry into the Sydney to Hobart race will be a real family affair. Along with other crew members from around the world, dad Glenn will be aboard, taking orders from his girl. Brother Ashley will be joining them, playing his part as a crew-member of the Natelle Two. And Mum Jill, who works at Clarence Joint Therapy, has organised sponsorship from her employer and even made curtains for the galley.

Natelle Two - Sydney to Hobart Skipper: Laura Roper

Natelle Two (photos supplied)

So winning the race isn’t everything; Laura is extremely pleased just to have the honour of leading the team. Glenn and Jill bought the boat when their daughter was only one, and she’s been sailing ever since. Not even severe seasickness has dampened her enthusiasm. Laura has dedicated many hours to restoring and preparing Natelle Two, and all her savings have been allocated to the costly exercise.

Natelle Two - One-Year-Old Laura Roper

Laura Roper: sailing (photo supplied)

Funding the Natelle Two Campaign

With less than two weeks remaining before they set sail for the Sydney starting line, this truly Tasmanian campaign still needs additional funding. A minimum of two thousand dollars will have your name in the spotlight with Natelle Two, generating exposure to a world-wide race audience. Channel Ten will be filming the Natelle Two this week for their Australia-wide evening news program; so you might want to act now!

Anyone supporting Laura Roper is supporting a great ambassador for women in sport and women in general. The A21 on the main sail of Natelle Two represents the A21 Campaign. The international project is a not-for-profit charity that raises awareness of the exploitation and trafficking of young girls. It’s brilliant to see such commitment to a worthy cause, and great to see the media supporting such a fine effort.