Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 3, Madeira Islands will see the regular fleet joined by Portuguese-flagged wildcard Team Extreme, which is supported by The Magenta Project. The crew is unique in that it features four female sailors, who are on a mission to prove that females have a place in high-performance sailing regattas.

The work of The Magenta Project aims to increase female participation in professional sailing, which currently stands at only 3%, and it operates under the mantra of accelerating women in sailing and the marine industry by creating pathways, empowering leadership, and driving change.

“The Magenta Project is trying to help female sailors to get into high-level sailing and the Extreme Sailing Series is a great example. We are sailing with the best sailors here in Madeira,” said skipper Mariana Lobato, who represented Portugal in the 2012 Olympics.

“It’s really good to have even half a female team. It’s good to also have boys on the team. We all learn and improve through our differences.” said Lobato, whose squad also features four males, including local Madeiran sailor Paulo Manso. “This is a high-level event and we are very happy to be here. We are trying to improve as much as we can.”

“Sometimes I don’t even remember that I’m the only female skipper, I feel like I’m on an equal level and have the same chance, it feels good,” added Lobato, who competed in the Extreme Sailing Series in Lisbon last season as part of the all-female wildcard entry, Thalassa Magenta Racing.

Lobato is accompanied by a crew of highly accomplished sailors, including 21-year-old helm Olivia Mackay from New Zealand.

“When I found out I was doing the Extreme Sailing Series I jumped at the chance. I watch it when it’s on and never thought that at this age I would be doing it. I’m absolutely stoked at the opportunity,” said an excited Mackay, who won the 2016 Red Bull Foiling Generation alongside Team Extreme’s mainsail trimmer Micah Wilkinson.

“I’d say that there are a lot of similarities between the Extreme Sailing Series and the Red Bull Foiling Generation. The way the boat works is very similar and I definitely think that winning the Foiling Generation has really helped me get recognised by Magenta,” added Mackay.

On the bow for Team Extreme is Élodie-Jane Mettraux, who was part of the line-up on board the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race entry, Team SCA, another venture of The Magenta Project. The all-female squad finished the gruelling offshore race in sixth place and finished third in the in-port series.

Paulo Manso spoke very highly of his female teammates: “I definitely think they have a place in professional sailing. I am learning a lot from them. It’s was really interesting to watch The Magenta Project when they were training here last week. They brought lots of different nationalities and lots of amazing female sailors to Madeira. I hope they can achieve their goal of getting more females into the professional world of sailing.”

The push for the increase in professional female sailors is fully supported by OC Sport, the founder and organiser of the Extreme Sailing Series, and the Series itself. The Notice of Race dictates that one sailor must be either female, an amateur or under the age of 26. The rules also state that any team with two or more females in the line-up are allowed a sixth sailor on board, one more that an all-male team.

Racing mistaking place from June 29th until July 2nd in Madeira. For more information about the event and how you can follow, take a look at the official event page.

Photo Credit – Lloyd Images