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Team SCA adding to female history in Volvo Ocean Race

Published on October 8th, 2014

Among the seven teams competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, the Swedish-flagged Team SCA leads the field in several categories. They were the first team to form, acquiring a boat from the previous race to begin training. They were the first team to receive the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, and are the team with the most miles under their feet. And of course, the all-female team leads the gender category.

Four all-female crews have come before Team SCA in the history of the race. American Dawn Riley, who was onboard with the first two teams, brings us up to speed…

“The first female team was in the 1989-90 race. Maiden was a group of women who wanted to do the race at a time when there were very few opportunities for women to sail at any professional level racing. Skipper Tracy Edwards found the sponsorship, I joined as watch captain, and the entire crew did the boat work and the logistics and the sailing and the navigating and the cleaning… and the celebrating when we won the two Southern Ocean legs. Looking back, those were the two legs that many ‘experts’ had predicted we might die in. And that was before the course included ice gates.

“In the following race (1993-94), I was brought in to skipper the all-female Heineken after they had had a mutiny aboard their boat during the first leg. We had our share of rudder issues in that race, but when we actually had a rudder in the boat we did very well.

“The next two female teams occurred in what I term a brother/sister alignment. In the 1997-98 race, EF Language had two teams, an all-male team skippered by Paul Cayard and an all-female team skippered by Christine Guillou. In the 2001-02 race, Grant Dalton skippered the men’s Amer Sports One team and Lisa McDonald skippered the women’s Amer Sports Two team. While these partnered teams gave more opportunities for women, the ‘sister’ team wasn’t run by the sailors, it was run by the ‘brothers’.”

Experience remains a key component in the Volvo Ocean Race, and few teams can match Team SCA on their management with Atlant Ocean Racing, which oversaw two previous race victories with EF Language in 1998 and Ericsson Racing Team in 2009.

What Team SCA may lack in onboard experience, they will make up for in manpower. Led by skipper Samantha Davies, the race rules allow an all-female team to have a maximum of 11 crew, three more than the other teams.

Another edge the girls have already demonstrated is in musicality. They have their own music video.

Over the last 18 months of training, ‘Wake me Up’ has been their theme song, being played when they leave and arrive ports around the world. A request from the team to Avicii and the producers of ‘Wake Me Up’ to cover the song was granted and the crew headed into the recording studio to put a Team SCA spin on their favorite song.

“We wanted to have a song that really meant something to us, and this was a song that seemed to always come up when times have been tough or when we were celebrating,” noted crew Annie Lush. “It holds a huge amount of memories. The Swedish connection with Avicii makes it all the more special, and we are really excited to be able to cover this iconic track and proud to have it as our theme song over the next nine months.”

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