The highly anticipated 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race begins this October 11th, and marks a milestone in equality in the race. For the first time, the race will be a one-design event, with all participating teams sailing the Volvo One-Design boat. More importantly, this year also marks the first time in 13 years that an all-female team has entered the event, Team SCA.

The team is comprised of 14 world-class athletes from the UK, USA, Switzerland, Australia and the Netherlands, whom were selected from a cohort of more than 250 sailors to take part in the nine month-long around the world race.

Even though all-male teams in the race are comprised of 11 members, the slightly increased crew for the all-female team is one of the only concessions made for the race’s only all-female team, making female equality one the central aims for this year’s edition of the event.

Each crew member is assigned a specific role in the team, from being on the helm, to being in the pit, although each crew member must be capable of carrying out other roles, in the event of trouble at sea, such as repairing sails, and fixing the navigation equipment.

A difficult voyage

Despite Volvo Ocean Race being one of the nautical world’s most difficult races, it is also one of the most prestigious, as it consists of nine stages with varying difficulty levels, strong winds, and extreme temperatures due to the changes in seasons throughout the race.

The first leg will start from Alicante, in the Mediterranean’s pleasant sailing conditions, but will become more challenging as teams reach the Alboran Sea, located just west of the Strait of Gibraltar, a stretch which features extreme weather conditions.

The trade winds are another obstacle for teams participating in the race, after sailing the Strait of Gibraltar, on their voyage to Cape Town.

Throughout the race, teams will sail over 38,000 miles over nine legs, each lasting 25 days in duration, and visiting 11 cities along the way, starting from Alicante, Spain and stopping at Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya (China), Auckland, Itajaí (Brazil), Newport (USA), Lisbon, Lorient (France), The Hague and finally Gothenburg in Volvo’s native Sweden.

A challenge which means more than just winning

We’re sure Team SCA will triumph, as the team is made up of elite sailors with experience of renowned nautical racing events such as the Olympics, America’s Cup and around the world solo races.

It is worth noting though that the team’s aims in participating are not just to be the best performing all-female team in the race’s history, but also to destroy gender stereotypes, and empower women through the high profile event, by proving that women everywhere, of all ages and backgrounds are capable of extraordinary feats.

We’re sure this year’s Volvo Ocean Race will make for excellent viewing, as Team SCA together with each participating team has an onboard reporter who will document firsthand the team’s experiences whilst at sea. Here at aBoatTime, we’re proud to be supporting Team SCA, as it is a positive force for female equality, achievement and empowerment.