Jono sets sail on Sydney-Hobart adventure

This Christmas is going to be more exciting than most for one Wollongong teenager.

Jono Liddle will be the youngest person in the fleet when the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race starts in Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day.

But he will not be among strangers.

Jono has sailed on St Jude, owned by Noel Cornish, many times before and actually sailed it back from Hobart with two other members of his family last year.

He is also a regular crew member in many of the Wollongong yacht races alongside many experienced sailors who, like him, got their start sailing skiffs and other small sailing boats on Lake Illawarra.

Peter, Jono and Andrew Liddle are three members of the one family sailing in this year’s Sydney to Hobart.

The only reason he has not sailed a Sydney to Hobart before is the race rule that states you must be 18 to sail in what is regarded as one of the most difficult cruising yacht races in the world.

Jono is well-experienced and when he sails out of Sydney Harbour on Thursday he will know exactly what is expected of him under the watchful eye of Mr Cornish and alongside Wollongong residents Boudewyn (Boudy) de Haas, Mish Ivaneza and two members of his family, Andrew and Peter Liddle.

Mr Cornish said he had nothing but confidence in his young crew member.

"He has sailed with us for a while but he is now 18 so he can do his first Sydney-Hobart," he said.

"Interestingly he is sailing with his father Peter, on the bow, and his uncle Andy. Then Boudy de Haas has also sailed with these guys so there is quite a strong Illawarra connection. Jono knows what to expect because he helped sail St Jude back from Hobart with his father and uncle last year."

Andy said it was "worse coming back than going down last year" but that had not put his nephew off.

"This is something I have wanted to do for a long time," Jono said.

"It is something not many people get to do. I have dreamed about this ever since I started sailing. This is the pinnacle. I was about 10 when I started so I have been sailing for eight years. I am very excited."

The Liddle brothers have also been putting pressure on their other brother David to join them one year and that would make four members of the family on St Jude.

And in a few years that could become five.

Jono's 15-year-old sister Victoria has the same dream of sailing in the classic yacht race.

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