Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Yachting Range

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Ladies tackle Mother Nature

by Marina Thomas on 8 Mar 2014
Ladies onboard Clipper 70 Switzerland © Juerg Kaufmann http://juergkaufmann.com/
Ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow, Mother Nature’s toughest conditions are being taken on by nurses, marketing managers, housewives, PAs, engineers and lawyers from around the globe who are taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

There are 229 women from more than 30 countries on the 2013-14 edition of the world’s longest ocean race, making up 35 per cent of the entirely amateur crew. The majority are in the 18 to 40 age bracket.

Some of the women share extracts from their crew diaries about their adventure, the tough conditions and the skills they have learnt so far in the 40,000 mile global circumnavigation where gender does not play a part.

Caroline Marrows is a British 43-year-old marketing manager and round the world crew member on Team Garmin. She says: 'I'm proud to be part of an increasing number of women who look for challenges like the Clipper Race and really push their own boundaries to achieve truly remarkable things in their lives.

'There is a very physical element to sailing, like yanking on sails and winching, but after a few weeks, I found I'm just as strong as most of the guys.'

'Oh and I can't forget, I've learnt to make chocolate cake whilst the boat is heeled at a 45 degree angle.'

Kristi Wilson, 27, an American round the world crew member on Derry~Londonderry~Doire, usually works in medical equipment sales in New York.

'This race is about finding personal limitations you never knew you had before and pushing beyond them,' she says.

'From being thrown across the foredeck by massive waves, swinging around at the top of a pitching mast, to being knocked down in the Southern Ocean, I have encountered some of the most terrifying experiences of my life. Somehow through all this you manage to find a new resilience you never knew existed and the strength to get through whatever is thrown your way on this race.'

Roser Preuss is a German 26-year-old student round the world crew member on Switzerland. She says she is very proud as a woman on this race to be part of the only team out of 12 that is led by a female skipper, Vicky Ellis.

'The women on our boat play at least as important a role as the men and surprisingly don't lack in muscle or strength. I'm happy to be on quite a 'female' boat where intelligence and technique are valued more than brute force.'

British sailor Vicky Ellis, 30, acknowledges that she adopts a different, softer approach to skippering than her male colleagues on the 11 other identical yachts in the race, with safety a priority over risk-taking.

'I feel totally at home when I’m on the sea. The Clipper Race offers the type of sailing I really relish, on great boats with an inspiring crew. For me, a job really doesn't get much better than this.'


The Clipper Race is a series of 16 races spanning six continents over 11 months including some of the toughest conditions on the planet.

Alysoun Sturt-Scobie, 49, a British head of HR on Switzerland, says she has learnt how resilient she is when she has had to dig deep and then even deeper when the physical conditions were so demanding.

She is also surprised by her ability to retain a quite ridiculous sense of humour when things are tough.

'Be that hanging on at bizarre angles or managing the mundane aspects of life on the boat including really light airs sailing which would test even the patience of a saint.

'What I love about the race is that it doesn't matter about your gender or background, it's your attitude that counts.'

Kristi adds that she may not be the strongest or biggest person on the boat, but many times her small size, speed, and willingness to climb (she is the ‘rig monkey’) come in handy.

'I am the first to be asked to throw on the harness when something needs taken care of up the mast or out on the boom. A headsail may be stuck without nudging a bit around the inner forestay on the bow of the boat, but it's not a problem for me to tuck in the small gap on the other side of the staysail and push with all the force of my legs to get it moving. I have found it to be a huge honour, not to mention one of the best roles on board, to be the Assistant Watch Leader for the majority of the races. I love leading evolutions, coaching other members of my watch on the helm, and rigging sails for racing headsail changes.'

Applications for the 2015/16 race are now open. With two more boats for the 10th anniversary edition, it will be the biggest race ever. Clipper Round the World

North Technology - Southern SparsBakewell-White Yacht DesignBarz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr