03 December 2022

Sailing: Major initiative to get more women involved in the Volvo Ocean Race

October 19, 2016

The new CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, Mark Turner, (the brainchild behind Dame Ellen MacArthur’s career) has recently announced a change in the rules that will encourage teams to take a woman as part of their crew. This groundbreaking move is in response to the fact that women have only made up 6% of all competitors since the race began in 1973.

Team SCA

In the last eight editions of the race there have only been two mixed teams – one of the women lasted one leg and the other was Tracy Edwards who started the race as the onboard cook! There have however been all-female teams, as seen in the last race with Team SCA skippered by Brit Sam Davies and in 1989/1990 with Tracy Edward’s Maiden.

The boats are set up to be sailed, at a very minimum, by 7 sailors, but teams normally race with at least 8 onboard due to the sheer physicality of sailing them. The teams will therefore either have to either compromise on the size of their team and diminish their strength efficiency, or bring women sailors into the team.

Annie Lush, Team SCA

Mark’s vision is, quite simply, to get more women onboard the boats. This will broaden the depth of experience of top level female sailors and help bring them up to the same experience level as the men, with the hope that in the future women will be chosen for the same reasons as the men: on knowledge, experience and skill.

Team SCA

For the 2017/2018 edition, the teams can now be comprised of:

7 men;
7 men and 1 or 2 women;
7 women and 1 or 2 men;
5 men and 5 women;
11 women

This video with the Team Principal of SCA (all female team) in the last race explains the situation further:

Find out more about the event here: www.volvooceanrace.com

The Women’s Sports Magazine



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