Creating the Pathway for Women in Offshore Sailing

Published on September 29th, 2017

The Magenta Project, launched after the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, seeks to continue the legacy of the all-female Team SCA by showcasing sailing as one of the few sports where women can compete directly against men on a level playing field. Here’s the organization’s newest initiative.


Four emerging female sailors will be given the opportunity to be mentored and gain offshore experience as The Magenta Project partners with Lisa Blair for the 2017 Rolex Sydney-Hobart, entering an all-female crew in the race.

In total, over 1000 women have competed in the race since Jane Tate first skippered her boat Active in 1946, but it has been 16 years since there was an all-female crew competing in the southern hemisphere’s most iconic yacht race.

This annual event, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is considered one of the toughest offshore races in the world. It is approximately 630 miles long, starting in Sydney Harbour, New South Wales on Boxing Day (Dec. 26), heading south down the coast of Australia to cross the often treacherous Bass Straits and then winding its way up the River Derwent to the finish in Hobart.

“Sailing is largely still a male-dominated sport so I am proud to be able to offer some opportunities to female sailors in the industry,” said Lisa Blair about putting this team together. “It was a shock to learn that it has been over 16 years since there was another all-female crew in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race which just shows how necessary a campaign like this and foundations like The Magenta Project are needed.”

By partnering with Lisa Blair, The Magenta Project is excited to help create a pathway enabling women to acquire the training and skills in offshore sailing to help narrow the gender the gap and will be looking to expand their network and continue to develop opportunities like this with Lisa Blair and other skippers out there.

Lisa Blair recently became the first female to solo circumnavigate Antarctica and the team will be sailing Lisa’s modified Open 50 Climate Action Now, continuing the post-it messaging movement which focus’ on actions individuals can take now to make a difference to climate change.

Also joining the team as co-skipper will be Libby Greenhalgh, navigator of Team SCA in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, and an additional two experienced sailors will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

“This is a great opportunity to do this iconic race, but also to continue The Magenta Project’s goals of creating opportunities and giving back to ensure the future of women in sailing,” commented Libby who is a director of The Magenta Project and will be sharing her knowledge of sailing, the weather and navigation to these future offshore sailors.

The boat will be raced with eight crew, with the four experienced sailors partnering and mentoring four emerging sailors to help them develop their pathway and network for the future.

This collaborative project is open to women across the world to apply by simply completing the application form. You do need to be over 18 years old and able to fund yourself to get to and from the start and finish of the race. The closing date for applications is October 20, 2017.

To apply… click here.

Find out more about Lisa Blair… click here.

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