Since it was founded in 2015, The Magenta Project has become a voice for female sailors around the world. “Accelerating women to the top of sailing” is our mission – but what does this mean and why is it fundamental to the future of our sport?

At the core of The Magenta Project’s objectives lies the desire to increase the opportunities for highly-talented women throughout sailing and elevate their repute. We work to improve cohesion between male and female competitors across the globe and form clear channels of progression for the rising stars of tomorrow.

Sailing requires substantial experience to consistently perform at the highest level. Experience is a product of opportunity and until recently, there hasn’t been a natural trend to endorse and include women to allow for such progression. Improving the balance in this area is a core element of The Magenta Project’s programme. Developing pathways of progression will enable women in sailing to build-up considerable experience at the highest reaches of our sport and instil the self-assurance they need to believe they belong at the top.

The beneficiaries from this effort is not just for the female athletes. Harnessing their world-class potential provides opportunities for everyone: Who wouldn’t welcome an enriched pool of talent to select from?

In business, it is often recognised that highly effective team-work is brought to the surface when men and women work together. This year’s Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) is proving an excellent field to demonstrate how this applies to sailing too.

The VOR has implemented a rule to encourage mixed teams – there are over 20 women competing, spread right across the fleet. It has provided a great degree of opportunity to female sailors as well as providing inspiration the next generation. It’s vital for sailing to demonstrate the opportunities that tomorrow’s champions can aspire towards.

The positive shift in momentum doesn’t end with the VOR. The World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) and The Extreme Sailing Series have both seen the beginnings of an increase in female presence. Team Magenta 32, skippered by Sally Barkow put in exceptional performances on the WMRT, including a credible 6th place at the Alicante Match cup in 2017.

This energy towards the inclusion of women is greatly encouraging but there’s still much more we can achieve. This year, International Women’s Day falls on March 8th, coinciding perfectly with the VOR stopover in Auckland. The Magenta Project will be hosting “A celebration of women in the Volvo Ocean Race” alongside Volvo and GAC Pindar.

It is an ideal opportunity to showcase the rise of talented female sailors across the current VOR teams with an insightful Q&A session, including Tracy Edwards (via video link), Leah Fanstone, Lisa Macdonald, Carolijn Brouwer and Hannah Diamond. We are also delighted to have VOR President Richard Brisius and ETNZ Performance Engineer Elise Beavis as guest speakers.

This year’s VOR female competitors, coupled with so many more from present and previous years are forming an inspirational legacy – watch this space as we look to further elevate women in our tremendous sport of sailing in 2018.

By Rebecca Reynolds Jones

To register your interest in attending our Auckland event on 8th March 2018,  please email

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