For the first time since 2002, the Volvo Ocean Race will include a boat with an all-female crew. Sponsored by the Swedish forestry company SCA, the all-female effort was both the first to sign up for the event and the first to confirm an order for one of the new 65-foot one-designs that will be used in the 2014-15 edition of the race.
Created by Farr Yacht Design, the new boats demand less strength to sail, specifically to accommodate a wider range of competitors. As per VOR rules, the all-female team will also be allowed two extra crewmembers. A skipper and crew had yet to be named at press time.
“I reckon that with the old boat, the Volvo Open 70, we would not even have thought about this,” says SCA team leader and two-time VOR veteran Richard Brisius.
This will be the fifth all-female team to compete in either a Volvo or Whitbread Race. The last woman to compete in a VOR was navigator Adrienne Cahalan aboard Brasil 1 in the 2005-06 edition. Although no other teams had formally announced at press time, VOR organizers are hoping for eight to 10 teams in 2014-15.
Photo courtesy of Oskar Kihlborg and Volvo Ocean Race