Alison Kent, Allie Gray, Karen Young and Carina Becker make up the four crew members to join the first all-female crew for 16 years , in the 2017 Sydney Hobart. The women will be part of 8 crew that will race on-board Climate Action Now with Lisa Blair in partnership with The Magenta Project.
In October the opportunity for female sailors to apply for a spot as part of the crew was shared through social media and met with an incredible response. Over 170 applicants ranging in age, background and nationality applied. The candidates were then shortlisted into 4 categories from which they were chosen: Youth, Emerging Professional, Wild Card and Mature Sailor.
‘It has been great to see so many amazing women from all around the world apply. The applications were very varied with many different experience levels and age ranges with the youngest being 18 years old and the oldest applicant above 65 years old and all of us agreed that if we had enough positions we would have taken them all as they showed great enthusiasm and dedication for their passion of sailing.’ Said Lisa Blair, adding about the future, ‘I will be looking forward to working with and sharing some of my knowledge to the successful applicants and I hope to continue to offer opportunities like this in the future.”
The goal of the collaboration is to mentor each of the sailors by providing a racing opportunity to work with more experienced sailors, to upskill and further develop their pathway in sailing. These four women will benefit from racing in one of offshore sailing’s toughest events, building and showcasing their pathways which will in turn inspire and encourage other women to work towards their sailing goals at every level.
‘It was incredibly hard to identify the final 12, never-mind the final 4. The cross section and quality of applications from across the world was amazing.’ said Libby Greenhalgh of The Magenta Project, adding, ‘It is clear there is an ongoing need for this type of opportunity and we hope to create a networking event before the start to continue to building the relationships needed for there to be more women racing.’
Over the next two weeks you will get to know the crew a little bit more as we build up to the start of the race and share our journey on social media. These four crew member will be joined by Ellie Draper and Liz Shaw who make up the other half of the experienced crew alongside Lisa Blair and Libby Greenhalgh.
Liz Shaw is a professional sailor who currently works for the Volvo Ocean Race as an M32 Boat Captain helping to deliver the Guest Speed Experience and Pro Am racing on board high performance catamarans at stopovers around the globe. Previously, she was the Training Consultant for Oakcliff Sailing, a high performance training center in Oyster Bay, NY. She has logged over 30,000 coastal and ocean miles, including skippering Oakcliff Sailing in the Newport to Bermuda Race finishing 10th in line honors in the 150 boat fleet.
Ellie Draper started dinghy racing as a youngster, stepping into keelboat racing in her mid-20s. She takes every opportunity to race inshore and offshore, but her passion is for offshore as this develops the greatest range of skills. Competing in her 2nd Fastnet this year, racing inboard Phosphorus as a watch captain, they finished 17th out of the 288 boats. She’s also a keen promoter of women’s sailing, having been an organiser of the UK Women’s Open Keelboat Championship for 5 years.
The team will be getting together in Sydney for a weeks training from the 19th December, if you are in the area pop down and say hello. Between now and then you can continue to follow the team through our social media channels and Lisa Blair Sails. Throughout the next week you can get to know the 4 successful crew members as we share their 1 minute elevator pitches.
Sydney to Hobart Race Tracker: http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/tracker/