Following the conclusion of Team SCA competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-5, the thirteen strong squad have experienced racing on the center stage of offshore sailing as an all-female team. As the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race progressed, the team realized that they were impacting in many ways around the world; people were engaged, driven, and inspired by their endeavors. With the realization that the company SCA would not be continuing their partnership with the team, there was a strong sense of obligation amongst the squad to capitalize on the huge momentum and following generated during the campaign. To continue to assist other young women to realize their own ambitions within the world of professional sailing, and to continue the positive motion that was achieved through SCA’s opportunity. Hence, The Magenta Project was born and although getting a team on the start line of the 2017 Volvo Ocean Race to continue the development of women in offshore sailing remains one of the objectives, the vision has a much broader and longer-term reach to act as a campaign to showcase the achievements of women at the highest level and raise the visibility of role-models to inspire and encourage women to excel within the sport.
TMP have identified a number of key events to partner with, firstly and most complementary; Womens Keelboat regattas across the globe including the recent Dubarry’s Women’s Open Keelboat Regatta held in the UK, the upcoming US Women’s Keelboat Regatta to be held in August in NY, and later in the year a similar event in Australia. The feedback The Project received from the maiden event was overwhelmingly positive and a reminder of how much the squad has to offer with the experience gained from their Volvo Ocean Race experience!
Additionally TMP have hosted their first high performance-training clinic giving the opportunity to twenty aspiring female sailors to be coached by professional women on the M32 catamaran, which is currently utilized on the World Match Race Tour and one design race circuits. The Project aims to continue the success of this tailored style coaching at varying locations in the future in collaboration with organizations such as Aston Harold and OC Sport. The uniqueness of these clinics is to provide opportunities to race these boats and develop the required skills, while continuing to change the culture and develop opportunities for women at the highest end of these fleets
Furthermore The Magenta Project are working to increase the visibility and quality of media coverage to champion women within the sport of professional sailing both in the media and everyday life. Team SCA made a huge leap of increasing the value of women’s sport in a team environment and showcased a compelling business case for investment into women in sport. TMP are working to forge strong partnerships with media and leading journalists as well as working with athletes to create visibility and commentate on issues relating to gender and sport.
Growing the Network
The Magenta Project although originally comprised of the Team SCA squad is growing into a global professional sailing network dedicated to the support and engagement of female sailors worldwide. Our community has expanded to include successful, motivated and passionate professionals from various disciplines in sailing and associated trades with the belief that investing in themselves and in other women is good business. Olympic Ambassador Lijia Xu commented “Being part of the Magenta Project means we can accumulate as much power & voice as possible for women’s sports, especially female sailing. So that we can raise the general awareness around the world in order to create more opportunities for women.”
The Projects longer-term objective is to set up The Magenta Academy to help fund up-and-coming female sailors and provide apprenticeship opportunities for women within associated trades. However this remains firmly in the balance books of whether The Project, still relatively in it’s infancy, can continue to build its brand and raise funds through commercial partners or seed funding to realize it’s ambitions. At present the Project is self-funded by the passion and drive from the original Team SCA squad, committed to a cause of creating pathways into professional sailing and continuing the momentum generated through Team SCA. As Annie Lush commented recently “We knew we weren’t going to win the Volvo Ocean Race, but women have to continue participating in the Race in order to become competitive, to gain the necessary experience. After all sailing is a sport that rewards experience.”
For further information about the Project and it’s ongoing activities visit www.themagentaproject.org