Fearless female crew celebrate Women’s Sport Week

06 June 2015

If you didn’t know it already, this is Women’s Sport Week and at the Clipper Race we want to dedicate it to all of our fearless female crew, past, present and future who take on this unique and life changing challenge.

237 women, more than a third of our crew, will take part in the Clipper 2015-16 Race – many of whom have never sailed before they sign up but are simply looking for ways to widen their horizons and test their limits.

Also for the first time ever we have two female skippers, Canadian Diane Reid and Wendy Tuck from Sydney, Australia taking charge of teams on their 40,000 mile voyage.

Explaining her passion for sport, Wendy Tuck says: “Sport is so important to me, it’s my whole life. I grew up swimming, surfing and was quite a fast sprinter too. I wouldn’t be here if it had nothing to do with sport and it doesn’t really matter what sport it is because I didn’t even sail as a kid.

“Sport gives people so much confidence for all the aspects of their life and through team work, friendships are formed as well. One of the most rewarding aspects is learning that you can handle much more than you thought you possibly could.”

This is exactly what all of our crew are learning as they work their way through the Clipper Race training levels.

Sally Spence, a physio from London has just finished Level 2 of training and found herself falling in love with her new hobby. Arriving back into Gosport this week, Sally says: “I am not a sailor at all, never really been on a boat before so it’s all been a little overwhelming and I’m slowly taking it all on board, but it’s great putting everything into practice. We’ve had a great week, few giggles and a bit of banter which always helps.

“I play a lot of team sports and I just think to be out and about in the fresh air, under a blue sky and making friends is good for the soul, mind and body. The Clipper Race takes that to the extreme, it’s pretty mental.”

For two sisters from Yorkshire, who will sail against each other on different teams in Legs 6 and 7, the competition started before they even officially signed up. After a week learning to sail in Croatia, Grace Kitching, 25, had decided to step things up a gear and was considering joining the 2015-16 race crew. Then a phone call came from big sister Holly, 27, to say she had booked an interview for herself and if successful would be racing in Leg 7.

Holly says: “I would say I was mildly competitive but then when Grace signed up, the competitiveness went through the roof! Now it’s game on basically and Team Ash are going to win!

“Having said that, we completed our Level 1 training together and working alongside each other to achieve an end goal is such a brilliant feeling and since originally signing up for one leg, I’ve actually added another two now. You can’t get anything better, you just feel so good for it. I’m really happy that Grace and I will get to share this experience.”

It was encouragement from her family and partner that led to Lara Sword, 32, signing up for the full circumnavigation just over one month ago. Lara explains: “My mum saw the Clipper Race adverts on the tube and sent me a message saying this looks like something you would really like. She knew that recently, after leaving my job in the city, I was feeling that there is so much more to life and I just want to achieve something.

“I’ve always been active but a jack of all sports, master of nothing. Initially I was going to go for one leg and Mum said ‘do it all’ and when I found out that more people have climbed Everest than sailed around the world that was it. It’s a year long commitment and I’m completely one hundred percent into this now.”

Women’s Sport Week is an opportunity for everybody involved with playing, delivering, leading or working in sport to celebrate, raise awareness and increase the profile of women’s sport across the UK.

If you are inspired to join our fearless females and race the world’s oceans this year, please get in touch via the apply section of the website. We are now also recruiting for the Clipper 2017-18 Race.

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