Vendée Globe: The feminine touch of sailing

Vendée Globe: The feminine touch of sailing
Copyright ©Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE / Initiatives Coeur
By Rodrigo Barbosa
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Six women are among the 32 "skippers" in competition, challenging the high seas in one of the toughest and most prestigious races in the world.


The Vendée Globe is increasingly a women's story: in the ninth edition of the solitary sailing tour around the world, six of the 32 "skippers" currently in competition are female.

The six women represent three different nationalities.

It's an important presence for the British Sam Davies who, at the helm of the Initiatives-Coeur sailboat, is the only one to have already undertaken this adventure, with a brilliant fourth place in the 2008/2009 edition.

It's great that we are six women in this Vendée Globe. I think it shows the evolution of parity and (gender) mixing. I hope that what we are doing will inspire other young women.
Sam Davies
skipper, Initiatives-Coeur

With a state-of-the-art Imoca equipped with "foils", Davies does not hide her ambitious goals for this second participation, namely to try to break the 74-day record set by Armel Le Cléac'h four years ago.

Defending the oceans around the globe

© Alexia Barrier / TSE - 4myPlanet
Alexia Barrier© Alexia Barrier / TSE - 4myPlanet

But competition is not the only thing these participants have in mind. For some of them this challenge also involves drawing attention to broader issues, such as protecting the planet.

A project on which the Frenchwoman Alexia Barrier, founder of 4MyPlanet, has embarked with the oldest of the sailing boats in competition, built in 1998.

I have seen the oceans change in the last ten years, there is more pollution. And there are also far fewer fish in the waters. All this is due, in particular, to the impact of man.

If we continue like this, in 30 years' time there will be no more than jellyfish and plastic in the water. [...] I created 4MyPlanet for the preservation of the oceans in particular, collecting data about the waters in each of the races in which I participate.
Alexia Barrier
skipper, TSE-4MyPlanet

Despite two decades of experience on the high seas, this is also the first time for British Pip Hare in the Vendée Globe adventure. The main objective: to complete the race and enjoy every minute of the journey!

I give thanks for this incredible, wonderful and natural world in which we live. We need to keep it that way!
Pip Hare
skipper, Medallia

A "stowaway" on board

© Clarisse Cremer / Banque Populaire X
Clarisse Crémer© Clarisse Cremer / Banque Populaire X

In a solo and unassisted race, they all have, like the rest of the participants, to dedicate part of their time onboard to making repairs and adjustments to their sailing boats.

Hard tasks but which can offer unexpected moments, like what happened to the Frenchwoman Clarisse Crémer, who found a "stowaway" on board: a small crab that she discovered in a compartment of the sailboat, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

As soon as I point the light, he hides! I've had birds and other things on my sailboat, but a crab... It has a small ecosystem here, it can probably hold on for a long time!
Clarisse Crémer
skipper, Banque Populaire X

The women's side of the Vendée Globe also includes French-German Isabelle Joschke and British Miranda Merron, who made her first sailing trip across the Atlantic at the age of nine.

Video editor • Rodrigo Barbosa

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