Team Sun Kung Kai/Scallwag that recently won the Melbourne to Hong Kong leg at the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) has a female navigator Libby Greenhalgh who is very passionate about women involvement in sailing.
Greenhalgh is not impressed with the current turnout of females in the three pinnacle events of the game. She complained of only seven females participating in the Vendee Globe race, with a fewer number being involved with America’s Cup. She is excited with the prospect of more women sailors especially following VOR’s rule encouraging teams to have female sailors. Greenhalgh opines that VOR’s rule will be a trailblazer for women interested in professional sailing.
“The rule’s been great. With 20 women in the race this time, there are about 30 per cent of women in the crews. Given the nature of the sport, that’s a good achievement. Of course, we want to see 50-50 opportunity for women, and we’d really like to see this new rule stay in place in the next Volvo race,” she added.
Greenhalgh wants more women in management positions in the game and for women to network more to get roles. She said she was part of a SCA 13-all women crew for the first time at VOR in 12 years. The team won a leg and two in-port races but they had to return to their regular day to day as there were no calls afterwards.
The sailor said the game required a lot of networking as sailors generally preferred to work with a crew they know and have sailed with before. She lauded the VOR rule for incentivising women in sailing as the rule will give more opportunities to talented and experienced female sailors.