Statisticians would rightly argue the race is Team SCA’s to lose. The women have the historical upper hand: Time.
The Swedish-backed team was first to enter, first to sail the VO65, and is funded through and through. They’ll sail with eleven crewmembers to the eight of the men: the equalizer being strength in numbers. “I think it will be an advantage,” says American helmsman and Olympic medalist Sally Barkow, one of the team’s earliest recruits, and herself a first timer to ‘round-the-world racing. “The watches will be stronger with two fresh,” referring to the four-on-four-off rotation of the men.
SCA is the world’s third-largest producer of paper products and toiletries, and has proudly put its money behind the storybook women’s entry. They had resources aplenty while training and bulking up in Lanzarote. They’ve got the media’s attention, making the morning talk show rounds and had a television documentary in the works before the October start in Alicante, Spain. They’re a sure bet to get the race public recognition, and the most practiced, but more importantly, there’s talent aplenty onboard. They’re the best female sailors in the world today—a dream team in pink and blue.
They’re taking a different approach to their team hierarchy; there is no officially named “skipper.” Sam Davies, of England, however, is the “person in charge.” A solo sailor of outstanding reputation and skill, she’s also supported by wrong-way solo circumnavigator Dee Caffari.
Months of tryouts netted a team deep in skill and personality, and SCA is all about empowered women. They’ve given them tools, the time, and the resources to wipe away the physical disadvantage.
“The guys can muscle their way through situations,” says Sophie Ciszek, of Australia. “We’re hoping to use our smarts.”