Changing the narrative for women

Published on September 28th, 2022

Two organizations have teamed up to get more women on ocean race boats, with the goal to help develop female and youth talent from Canada and inspire the next generation.

The Magenta Project, founded by members from the all-female Team SCA in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, along with Canadian Scott Shawyer’s Canada Ocean Racing team, partnered for a sailing and networking event on September 26 in Toronto, ON.

“With two daughters of my own, I would never want my children to feel like they couldn’t compete in a sport just because of their gender,” said Shawyer. “Traditionally, sailing has been a male-dominated sport and our team wants to ensure we are providing plenty of opportunity to change this narrative.”

Shawyer, whose mission is to compete in the solo round the world Vendee Globe Race, has recruited solo-ocean racing icon Alex Thomson to assist him with this goal. Using the team’s 60-foot IMOCA, the duo hosted eight women from across Canada and the US that flew in for the program.

Beginning with a boat tour, technical briefing, splicing lesson and networking, the schedule continued with presentations on weather by US Sailing Team meteorologist Chelsea Carlson Freas, along with media/sponsorship and gear chats by other females in the industry. A sail followed to experience the power of the offshore racer.

“I’ve been lucky to have led and been a part of very supportive mixed teams, but I recognize that not all women have been so lucky,” said Meg Reilly with The Magenta Project. “The Magenta Project is grateful to be working with Canada Ocean Racing to provide opportunities for talented women to train and work alongside men at a high level.”

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