Volvo Ocean Race celebrates women sailors

08 March 2017: The Volvo Ocean Race celebrated 45 years of female sailors in the round-the-world challenge with a special event to mark International Women’s Day.

woman sailor in wave

Bianca Cook on board Turn the Tide on Plastic. James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

The event during the race stopover in Auckland, New Zealand, saw iconic females from across the decades reflect on their experiences and join the conversation about the future in front of a packed audience.

Three-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran Abby Ehler was joined on stage by a panel consisting of Australian Leah Fanstone (US Challenge/Heineken 1993-94; EF Education 1997-98), Lisa McDonald (EF Education 1997-98; Skipper of Amer Sports Too, 2001-02), Dongfeng’s Carolijn Brouwer and Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Hannah Diamond.

Great strides

Over 20 female sailors have already competed in the 2017/18 edition, compared to just 200 in the four decades previously.

“It’s incredible to see the support for female participation in the event, from all corners of the sport,” said Abby, who also competed on Amer Sports Too in 2001-02, and the all-female Team SCA in 2014-15.

“The Volvo Ocean Race has made great strides by introducing the mixed crew initiative prior to this edition, but it’s really key to keep the ball rolling in order to avoid a frustrating 12-year gap like myself and many others experienced after the 2001-02 edition.”

Woman sailing race yacht

Carolijn Brouwer on board Dongfeng. Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race

Inmarsat is the official Satellite Communications Partner for the fifth consecutive edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, providing all the connectivity the race boats need at sea for safety services, tracking, and weather updates, as well as data communications to bring all the excitement of the race to fans worldwide.

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