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Magenta Project makes a mark in Cardiff

by RYA Cymru-Wales 14 Jun 14:17 BST
M32 sailing with the Volvo Ocean Race teams at the event © Caron Saul

Around 150 sailors gathered for the Magenta Project in Cardiff Bay, held during the Volvo Ocean Race which inspired the scheme to get more women and girls in sailing.

Supported by RYA Cymru Wales, the Magenta Project ties in perfectly with the All Afloat and Only Girls Afloat schemes which are also aimed at getting women, girls and people from non-sailing communities into the sport for life.

Olympic gold medallist Heather Stanning, along with Winter Paralympics gold medallist Jennifer Kehoe and sailing Paralympic bronze medallist Alexandra Rickham told their inspiring stories to the assembled audience.

They were joined by Volvo Ocean Race sailors Stacey Jackson of the Vestas team, along with Francesca Clapcich and Bianca Cook from Turn The Tide on Plastic who also described what it's like to be part of the round the world event.

Before the talks, there was the chance to go sailing in Cardiff Bay in M32 catamarans run by the teams taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race, with more than 40 people getting out on the water at the event run by RYA Cymru Wales.

"I think it's hugely important to continue our voice and the Magenta Project is a body and an organisation that can do that," said director Josie Gliddon.

"We can get our voice heard, having more than 150 people here shows we have the support and we want to continue that.

"We were born out of the Volvo Ocean Race so this was an appropriate place and time to hold it and we knew there was a chance to give people an M32 experience.

"Whilst the Volvo Ocean Race is going on it is a great chance to get those people over to inspire future generations and also to use the M32's.

"If I got the opportunity to go sailing on a fast catamaran and then have a cup of tea with one of the Volvo Ocean racers, like some of them have, then I think that is mind-blowing."

RYA Cymru Wales were delighted to support the event, which ties in so well with the recent initiatives in Welsh sailing such as All Afloat and Only Girls Afloat.

"This was an inspiring day and great to be a part of," said RYA Cymru Wales chief executive Phil Braden.

"The Magenta Project is trying to get more women and girls into sailing, while making sure there are opportunities to go all the way to the highest level.

"We fully support those plans and also believe the initiatives we are launching at grass roots level is where most of those elite sailors start and learn their trade.

"Sailing offers so many different opportunities in life, including plenty of different avenues to making it a career.

"It also offers so many life skills, which is another area highlighted by the Magenta Project." In the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, there was only one all-female team in a fleet of seven boats taking on the longest and most gruelling endurance event in the sport of sailing.

In the early hours of June 11, 2015, Team SCA crossed the finish line first in Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race creating history and sending waves across the sailing world.

Team SCA was the first female team in 25 years to win a leg and secure third position overall in the stadium-style, in-port racing.

To continue the legacy, The Magenta Project was formed, a collective of passionate, committed female athletes showcasing sailing as one of the few sports where women can compete directly against men on a level playing field.

Since completing the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race, The Magenta Project has lead a growing movement to enable and support greater female participation within major events, including the World Match Racing Tour, The Extreme Sailing Series and The Volvo Ocean Race.

The Only Girls Afloat programme is designed to get more women and girls out on the water in on a regular basis in our clubs and centres. This new programme is growing organically throughout Wales and in the first year saw over 150 women took part last year in sessions designed to increase confidence and skills.

For further details about Welsh sailing and watersports, please go to rya.org.uk/rya-regions/rya-cymru-wales or Facebook page.

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