Only four female teams have entered into the race, none of which have been able to receive the training or funding needed to make them serious contenders and beat the boys. However, 2012 saw the inception of Team SCA, an all-female crew who will have the boys worried as they stand a serious chance of winning the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time in history.
Team SCA (www.teamsca.com) is the creation of the Swedish Hygiene and Forest Products Company, who have selected 14 outstanding female athletes from a prospective 400 applicants to create an elite team, comprised of woman from the USA, Great Britain, Australia, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Contrary to the previous ruling of only 11 crew members allowed to enter the race, organisers are allowing an extra three crew members to take part in the nine month race which crosses over five oceans. This is a concession that the girls have accepted, however they have clearly stated that they do not want or expect to be treated any differently from their fellow competitors. It could prove to be hugely beneficial for the team to have three extra female brains powering them through!
The experienced team has taken part in numerous offshore sailing competitions, including solo racing and the Olympics, however only two members of the team have experienced the Volvo Ocean Race before. This, compared to their rivals, who have the combined experience of nearly 80 VORs will make it very interesting to see who comes out on top. Despite their lack of VOR track experience, the girls have been training together for the past 18 months, giving them plenty of time to bond with each other in a way that only girls can! We believe that this time spent together could well prove to be highly advantageous for them.
It’s a daunting prospect being at sea for such a long time but the girls are preparing for times when spirits become dampened; they've been given the permission of producer, Avicii to cover his anthem 'Wake Me Up,' adopting it as their official song to blast out when they need a pick-me-up! Their mascot, a cuddly Barney the dinosaur toy, will also be on hand to provide comfort and accompany the girls on their epic task!
The huge levels of support they have received is sure to buoy them along as they progress through the difficult race. The sea of bright pink supporters at the launch from Alicante was seriously impressive, outweighing the support for other teams by far. This, combined with the hard work and determination displayed by the team means they are likely to be the most successful female team the Volvo Ocean Race has ever seen! They are already well on their way to proving themselves worthy of this title with their impressive early lead.
We here at Topsail are eagerly following their progress and wish them the very best of luck – you go girls!