INSPIRATION: Lismore university student Laura Stoltenberg is currently sailing on board the yacht Wings in the 2018  Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
INSPIRATION: Lismore university student Laura Stoltenberg is currently sailing on board the yacht Wings in the 2018 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. contributed

Local sailor takes on the Sydney to Hobart race

ADVENTURER, PHD student and local sailor Laura Stoltenberg is proudly representing the region and Germany in the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The 30-year-old Lismore resident is a German national who came to Australia three years ago to complete her PHD in Environmental Science at Southern Cross University.

Ms Stoltenberg's sailing mentor from the Richmond River Sailing Club, Michael Wiley said with a "limited" sailing background it was an amazing feat to earn herself a crew position on board the mid-fleet Dehler 46 Wings.

"Laura had little sailing background when she arrived, she had only done a bit of school holiday sailing as a kid," Mr Wiley said.

"She hasn't done anything this big before, she was a little nervous before leaving but excited.

"There's a limited number of spots on board so it's an amazing experience for her."

Mr Wiley runs a high performance skiffs sailing training group at the Richmond River Sailing Club in Ballina and had a flyer up at the Uni, which Ms Stoltenberg responded too.

"She's very driven and very quickly got to grips with the sailing I do on the skiffs," he said.

"Once she started she wanted to be middle of the action

"She's had experience in racing ... she always wants to learn the job and was my in my crew for two seasons.

Mr Wiley said "the poor student" paid for her own flights down to Sydney on multiple weekends for preliminary trails, following this, proved herself and secured herself on Wings.

Mr Wiley said to prepare for the race she completed a sea survival course in Brisbane as well as rigorous yacht handling training.

"It's something that's taken very seriously," he said.

"After the 1998 Sydney to Hobart tragedy the sea survival course is a must ... that's where Laura made some contacts with some boats going to Hobart, and she secured her place from there.

"We are all very proud of her."

Track Wings and Laura's journey on the Sydney Hobart Yacht Tracker http://www.rolexsydneyhobart.com/tracker/