Team SCA: The Race Begins Today

Published on May 10th, 2015

When plans for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 got announced, the first team to enter was Team SCA, providing a critical early start for their all-female crew. They secured a Volvo Ocean 70 from the previous race for training, and then were the first to begin learning to sail the all new one design Volvo Ocean 65.

While not considered among the favorites at the start in October, expectations were higher than what the team has thus far produced. But the Volvo Ocean Race is a game of improvement, and skipper Sam Davies feels that their progress is no longer just words, but will be evident going forward. Here she comments…

We are now after leg 6, which was the last of the long legs in the Volvo Ocean Race, and it now finally feels like we are showing what we are learning.

In this leg we spent the first week sailing in the lead group, and at times being the lead boat. We are sailing with the other teams, doing the same as them. We can use them as pace boats, and they are using us as pace boats. This is the first time that has ever happened for us, which has been a big step forward for us. It has really boosted our confidence going forward, knowing that we can hang in there.

We’ve learnt so much, but learning is a long process and we’re only a small way through that big learning curve. While the team got an early start, it has really only been a small core of us that have been together during this span. When we were training, we weren’t really sailing together as we constantly had new people trialing for the team, alternating people in and out, and it took a long time to find the right group.

If you look back at what we were doing when we first started, we couldn’t even maneuver the boat. We were sailing with three or four guys onboard, and some of the girls had never used a winch before. We were starting from a long, long way down, and had a long way to progress. We just didn’t have the experience.

I say now if we could only go back and do leg one and two again, and use what we now have learned, you’d be seeing a different Team SCA performing. We’d been up there with the guys.

The frustrating thing is that there’s just so much to learn, and we are just now starting to feel the improvements. It is just starting to show to the people that are watching, but it is really hard for people to know how much we have improved unless you are actually on the boat yourself. And then you realize it.

We are going to see how much we’ve improved in the next edition, and the next edition after. When one of our young team members is skippering an all-female crew in the future, she’s just going to nail it. That’s when you will see the results for all the hard work that we are doing right now, and then I will be really chuffed.

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