by Miranda Blazeby, Digital Editor SailGP
The first all-female training session has taken place in Dubai, with SailGP’s line-up of female athletes training in new positions on board the F50.
The session, held ahead of this weekend’s racing in Dubai, took place on board the Switzerland F50 and was coached by team sailing advisor and former Japan driver Nathan Outteridge.
It marks the first time in SailGP history that an all-female crew has sailed together on the F50 and included 12 athletes from across SailGP’s 10 national teams, including Emirates GBR’s Hannah Mills, Switzerland’s Laurane Mettraux, New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Liv Mackay, and Australia’s Tash Bryant.
Speaking about the session, Outteridge said it was ‘a great opportunity’ for the female athletes to ‘all go sailing on an F50 together’.
“We had a quick briefing this morning to talk through the playbook of how we would sail the boat and the goal for everyone was to get a chance to be on the boat in a position they have’t done before.” Outteridge added that it was ‘the start of things to come’.
Since the launch of the Women’s Pathway mid-way through Season 2, female athletes have raced in 100% of SailGP races – usually in the role of strategist. The league’s ambition is to have a female driver on the start line for Season 6.
The training was split into a morning and afternoon session, with the athletes rotating into different positions around the boat.
New Zealand strategist Jo Aleh described the session as ‘momentous’.
“It was pretty amazing – not much wind, but it was the first time that we could all be free to try things, press all the buttons and figure out how it all works.”
She added that the female athletes ‘moved around the roles’ – ‘everyone just had a go at something they haven’t done before.’
Australia’s Tash Bryant said she was ‘grateful’ to the Swiss team for facilitating the training session. “We had a good start, no majors, nothing went wrong – I hope we get to do more.”
Launched in Season 2, SailGP’s Women’s Pathway aims to create an inclusive sporting championship where the best athletes have equal opportunity to compete on the F50.