Offshore racing is the one of rare sports where men, women, amateurs and professionals, individuals both young and old, are able to compete on equal terms across all levels of the sport. While this is a fact that has been a core element of the sport for many years and indeed the rules have been in place, the reality is that it there have been far fewer opportunities for women.
Therefore it is all the more impressive that, in the past couple of months, women have been making history in offshore racing: the Australian Wendy Tuck has skippered a boat to victory in the Clipper Round the World Race, Englishwoman Samantha Davies won the Drheam Cup, Marie Riou from France, Justine Mettraux from Switzerland and the Dutch Carolijn Brouwer were part of the team that won the Volvo Ocean Race. As a result they, and all the other female sailors competing at this level, deserve huge credibility for their performances.
Dona Bertarelli, co-founder and skipper of Spindrift racing, is acutely aware of the importance of these performances and congratulates all of these sailors: ”It is a beautiful reward for all these women. Whether male or female, offshore racing requires hard work, a huge level of personal commitment and investment of time. These achievements should not be underestimated, but there are still too few women given these opportunities to be able to compete at this level. This was one of the driving forces behind me establishing a 100% female crew with the D35 Ladycat in 2007. I wanted give women the opportunity to race in multihulls against either all male or mixed teams. Justine Mettraux and Marie Riou were, infact, part of this crew and I applaud their victory as well as those of the other female sailors.”