North Sails NEWS

October 25, 2017


Recognizing A Shift In Momentum For The Ocean’s Leading Women

© Tanya Visser/PPL

A new rule change for 2017-18 has brought women back to the center of the Volvo Ocean Race by leaving all-male crews at a significant disadvantage.

The rule pays homage to the race’s history of female sailors, which began in 1977 with skipper Claire Francis and includes the first all-female Volvo Ocean Race team of 1989 onboard Maiden, the Whitbread maxi skippered by Tracey Edwards. A long hiatus from 2005 – 2012 was broken in the 2014 edition by Team SCA, another all-female team led by two-time Vendée Globe skipper, Samantha Davies. The enthusiasm surrounding Team SCA, as well as the mounting interest from female sailors throughout the globe, prompted race organizers to keep the momentum going. The Volvo Ocean Race will have a landmark edition in 2017-18, with every team in the race electing to have two girls among the crew – guaranteeing a female sailor at the top of the podium in Gothenburg.

North Sails is proud to have supported a number of offshore sailing’s most notable female trailblazers, drawing back to Ellen McArthur’s notable campaign on Kingfisher (2000) where she achieved both the women’s singlehanded transatlantic record (east-to-west passage) and women’s singlehanded, non-stop, monohull circumnavigation record. North’s support continued on to her multihull platform B&Q/Castorama, on which she broke Francis Joyon’s outright circumnavigation record with a time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds. In more recent history, North Sails powered Sam Davies and the crew of Team SCA in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, as well as Dee Cafari, skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic, who currently has 800 nm to go in Leg 1 from Alicante to Lisbon. Dee is the only female skipper in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race and elected three female sailors to her crew.

Tracey Edwards competed in the Volvo Ocean Race in 1985-86 (then referred to as the “Whitbread Race”) and went on to skipper her own entry, Maiden, in 1989-90.
Team SCA completed the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race with a crew of 11 women. © Corinna Halloran/ Volvo Ocean Race
Team SCA would spark a flame of enthusiasm for female sailors around the globe, and encourage race organizers to promote participation from women. © Corinna Halloran/ Volvo Ocean Race
In 2006, Dee Caffari became the first woman to sail single-handedly and non-stop around the world “the wrong way” – westward against the prevailing winds and currents. © Jen Edney/Volvo Ocean Race
Dee is currently the sole female skipper in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, onboard VO65 Turn the Tide on Plastic. © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race