A FALMOUTH girl has helped crew a clipper to victory halfway across the world in the prestigious Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Lara Sword, aged 33 and an assistant producer, was on board the The Da Nang Vietnam Yacht which clinched first place in the Clipper 70 class as it sailed up the Derwent River in Australia.

Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, the Sydney skipper of Da Nang - Viet Nam, managed to hold off GREAT Britain and LMAX Exchange in a tight, tactical battle up the Derwent River. At one point the gap closed to three nautical miles, before Da Nang opened up their lead to ten nautical miles. The team crossed the line first and finished in 22nd place in overall line honours.

As well as racing each other the 12 yachts in the Clipper Race fleet were also racing hundreds of other boats on this leg.

Lara, who has also worked at The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, is a qualified master diver who did just five weeks clipper yacht training before taking her place in the crew.

The Clipper Race offers the ultimate sailing challenge. It is held over 11 months with 12 boats, 22 crew on each boat, eight legs, 16 races, six continents, and over 40,000 nautical miles. They have battled 80ft swells, 40ft waves, 70mph wind speeds, sub zero temperatures to scorching heat, in the worst conditions since 2004.

Lara is raising money for UNICEF. You can donate at justgiving.com/Lara-Sword

Lara' sister Chantelle Goodwin Sword said she, her parents Luci and Frazer Sword, eldest sister Fraiza Sword and boyfriend Joe Platt were incredibly proud of her achievements.

More details in next week's Falmouth Packet