If there is one team at the Volvo Ocean Race that is grinding out performances that are a bit underwhelming compared to expectations, it is certainly Team SCA. After placing second to last in the first leg (from Alicante to Cape Town), came sixth in the second leg (from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, above Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race finish photo), which is equivalent to a last-place finish when considering the incredible beaching of Team Vestas. The girls, on this final stage were unable to directly confront their opponents, “We made a course error and found ourselves behind our opponents. We couldn’t stay in touch and we didn’t have a chance to catch up,” said an exhausted and disappointed Sam Davies at the finish.
IS IT A PHYSICAL EXERTION PROBLEM?
In your opinion, is this merely a problem of physical endurance, given that the girls all have enviable sailing palmares (and despite the fact that the onboard team consists of 11 female sailors versus 8 members of the other crews)? The fact remains that the world tour, for now, continues to prove to be the black beast of women’s teams, with few exceptions. Let us briefly review its history.
HISTORY IN PINK ON THE WORLD TOUR
Clare Francis. The first woman to take part in the Whitbread Round The World Race was England’s Clare Francis (born April 17, 1946) in the 1977-78 edition, skipper aboard ADC Accutrac (it was a mixed crew, however). He closed in fifth position. Today Clare is a successful writer.
Maiden. The first all “pink” crew to appear on the Whitbread starting line was the Maiden crew, captained by Britain’s Tracy Edwards, in the 1989-90 edition. The team performed well, despite racing a smaller boat than the others: Maiden was a 58-foot sloop, and finished fifth and second-to-last (ahead of the French La Poste), eighth out of nine overall. Edwards was voted UK Sailor of the Year.
US Woman Challenge. In the 1993-94 Whitbread edition, it was the turn of US Woman Challenge with US Nance Franck as skipper: unfortunately, the boat took part in only the leg from Southampton to Punta del Este (Uruguay), finishing eighth, then had to abandon the race due to financial problems.
EF Education. In the 1997-98 edition, another all-pink team showed up: that of EF Education, Sweden’s carrier along with Paul Cayard’s EF Language (winner of the race), led by skipper Christine Guillou. Unfortunately, it did not go well and EF Education came in ninth and last place.
Amer Sports Too. Before Team SCA, the last women’s team to take part in the race, which had since changed its name to the Volvo Ocean Race, was the one aboard Amer Sports Too, captained by Lisa Charles (now McDonald). Again, the team closed at the seventh and final step of the ranking.