Women's Offshore Worlds
The inaugural Women’s Offshore Worlds will set off from Plymouth UK, heading for Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, on the 28 October 2012.
The event has already generated a tremendous amount of interest among women sailors from France, Norway, Germany and the UK with more countries are expected to sign up.
Sailed doublehanded in 33ft Beneteau Figaro 2s, the 3300 mile route takes in the Bay of Biscay then leaves the Azores to starboard, before heading out across the Atlantic to Antigua. The course is designed to test the sailing and navigational skills of the women crew as well as their stamina and endurance.
One of the first teams to sign up was the British duo of Hannah Jenna and Sammie Evans (above), sailing under their Team Beau-dacious banner. (teambeaudacious.com)
Jenner commented: “The launch of WOW is a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of Women’s ocean racing. Sammie and I couldn’t wait to sign up and now we are getting on with organising our campaign. Having the race start from the UK is an extra bonus for us British girls. We will have the chance to show our supporters what these events are all about."
Sammie Evans added: “The whole idea of racing in an all girl fleet is really wild. We are going to be battling it out in these one-design boats. So it’s not about the best boat. It’s about the best team. It’s a level playing field. A proper yacht race. Figaro’s are fast and fun to sail and you can charter one at a reasonable price. It makes it all very accessible.”
Jenner is hoping to build on her recent podium success in the iconic Transat Jacques Vabre race, sailed between France to Costa Rica. The girls will be joined on the WOW start line by two other TJV competitors, France’s Stephanie Alran and Germany’s Anna-Maria Renken.
Anna-Maria Renken commented: “The time is definitely right for a race like this. More and more talented female sailors are getting involved in short-handed offshore racing. This event gives us something to focus on. I will be flying the flag for Germany and it is going to be interesting to see which country carries off the prize.”
The race is being organised by Team Concise in association with the Royal Western Yacht Club and Antigua Yacht Club. In addition Plymouth University will be working with WOW to ensure the event is a success.
Andrew Eccleston, Lecturer in Nautical Studies at the University commented: “I am delighted to hear that one of our graduates, Sammie Evans, is entering the race. As a boy, I watched the first single-handed transatlantic sail from Plymouth in 1960. It’s great to see another event following that tradition – especially one that gives women like Sammie a platform to build on and the opportunity to move on to even higher achievements.”
Elizabeth Jordan, Commodore of Antigua Yacht Club added “As one of the few female Commodores in the world it is particularly exciting to me to have the chance to host the finish of the world’s first competitive offshore race just for Women. The girls will get a great reception when they reach the finishing line off our beautiful island of Antigua.”
Tony Lawson, founder of Team Concise said: “These are challenging times to get a new sailing event off the ground. But the women deserve their own event. I am really pleased with the amount of encouragement and support we have had from racers, yacht clubs and Plymouth University. As well as putting on a great race we intend in using the event to promote women and children’s charities. We will be asking the crews to nominate organisations they would like to see us adopt and hopefully over the course of the next year we will be able to raise a significant amount of money for their chosen charities.
"With the Olympics here in the UK this year there will be more interest in sailing than ever before. This is one area where we can definitely score gold. Combining the increased interest in sailing with this unique women’s race will provide an attractive arena for potential sponsors. We hope we to find companies that will want to team up with WOW and benefit from being identified with high level women’s sailing, the glamour, drama, demands, its green credentials and our work with charity”.