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Marlow celebrates Ground-Breaking Sailing Ambassadors for International Women's Day 2023

by Emma Donovan 8 Mar 2023 12:11 GMT
Marlow Ropes Sailing Ambassadors © Marlow Ropes

This International Women's Day, Marlow celebrates some of the leading yachtswomen that we are proud to work with as they continue to exceed the limitations both of their sport and personal achievement.

We asked four of our ambassadors from different sailing disciplines about their career highlights, the meaning of their success and the women who have in turn inspired them along their journeys.

Here's an insight into some of the inspirational women athletes that Marlow are proud to be associated with.

Pip Hare

Smashing expectations in the 2020 Vendee Globe, Pip became the 8th woman to ever finish the race. She is now preparing for the 2024 Vendee with a new foiling IMOCA. Marlow Ropes have been Pip's rope supplier since 2019.

What have the highlights of your career to date been?

Probably four of them.....

  1. Getting to the start line of the Vendee Globe Race in 2020, against all the odds having started in 2019 with no funding, no team and less than two years to pull it together.

  2. My top position of 15th in the Southern Ocean in the 2020 Vendee Globe race. I eventually finished 19th after breaking my rudder just before Cape Horn. But I was in the second oldest boat in the fleet and it was fun and exciting to be pushing that hard.

  3. Finishing 8th in the overall IMOCA rankings in 2023, after my first year in a foiling boat. It was beyond my expectations and a great result for me as a sailor and us as a team.

  4. A little know achievement but I am part of the only team who have ever finished the 3 peaks yacht race as a double handed entry. The race has been running for close to 50 years, and is normally competed by teams of five with two runners and three sailors. As a double handed pairing with my co-skipper Charles Hill, we finished the race in 3rd place in 2017, running up all three peaks and sailing between them. No one knew if it could be done. We did it. No one has done it since. It was a world first.
What does it mean to you to be a successful woman in your sport?

When I am on the water, I don't reflect on my gender at all. I am just a sailor. I am doing the sport I love and adapting to sail my boat in a way that works for me. Like we all do. I only notice my gender when I am back on the land and then I realise I am in a minority. It has always been difficult for me as a female sailor to convince others that I have skills and can perform at a high level.

It's hard when just by looking at you people make judgements that you could possibly be good enough to race, or to win. I have fought my way to the top of my discipline, I have created my own opportunities when others were not willing to offer them to me. But I still have to keep fighting the misconceptions about who I am and what I can do. My respite is on the water, where I get to show people for good or for bad. Once I am on the water no one can stop me.

What message do you have for young women looking to get into competitive sailing?


Which other female sailors do you look up to or are you inspired by?

I was originally inspired by Isabelle Autissier, a French solo sailor who I read about in my teens and made me believe I too could participate in the world of ocean racing. I think the impact Ellen MacArthur made on the world of sailing was huge, for a brief window in time she had the whole nation focussed on her record-breaking races and it didn't matter she was a woman. She was a British Sailor we were all proud of. Samantha Davies has always been someone I looked up to, she has a long career and demonstrated to the world that women could be mothers, as well as professional offshore sailors. In the inshore world we have ground-breaking talent in Hannah Mills and Hattie Rogers.

But I am also inspired by the many women who come and tell me their sailing stories. Often older women who have taken a while to gain the confidence to take the helm, but are pushing themselves, in their own ways. Loving learning about their own resilience and resourcefulness. Stepping out from behind the men and affirming to themselves. 'I am a sailor too'.

Cam Farrah

A graduate of Tulane University, Cam is a rising star in the foiling class. More specifically, she is the only woman racing foiling A Class Catamarans in North America and the current Women's and Junior (U25) Foiling A Class World Champion. If that's not impressive enough, she is also skippering a Nacra 17 Olympic campaign. Cam is Marlow Ropes US Sailing Ambassador and has worked with us since 2022.

What have the highlights of your career to date been?

Gaining third Place at the 2022 Foiling A Class Catamaran North American Championship in Burlington, Ontario and becoming Women's and Junior (U25) World Champion at the 2022 Foiling A Class Catamaran World Championship.

What does it mean to you to be a successful woman in your sport?

Being a successful women in sailing means that I can inspire other women to sail, and I can support and learn from my fellow female competitors. I always sail my regattas without considering or factoring in the gender of my competitors, which lets me focus purely on racing and being the best athlete I can be.

What message do you have for young women looking to get into competitive sailing?

I think it is very important for young women to have mentors and role models within the sport, and to reach out to other female sailors for advice and support. I also think it is important to be brave and take every opportunity you get to sail and gain experience. And most importantly, don't get intimidated on the race course, at the end of the day the boat does not care about your gender or age or background... the boat only cares about physics and skill.

Which other female sailors do you look up to or are you inspired by?

I am thankful to have had a ton of female role models growing up. Sally Barkow inspired me to start sailing Foiling A Cats when I was 16 & has been a great coach and mentor over the years. Katie Pettibone is my Magenta Project Mentor and has been a huge inspiration and really guided me through the early days of my sailing career.

Hattie Rogers

Known as the face of the foiling generation, Hattie's win at the SailGP Grand Final in the Waszp class was exemplary and her sailing onboard the F50 with Sir Ben Ainslie made headlines around the world. Everyone is talking about the 2023 YJA Yachtsman of the Year who predominantly sails an International Moth (Exocet), WASZP and ETF26 with the Athena Pathway. Marlow have supported Hattie as a Waszp Youth Class Sailing Ambassador since 2022.

What have the highlights of your career to date been?

The 2022 season was certainly a turning point in my sailing career. Firstly winning the SailGP Inspire WASZP Grand Final Season 2 in San Francisco, followed by joining the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team in Dubai later in the year, where I helmed with Ben Ainslie alongside. I recently concluded 2022 on an enormous high by being awarded the YJA Yachtsman of the Year and becoming the youngest ever to win this prestigious trophy.

What does it mean to you to be a successful woman in your sport?

The fact that women will be front and centre in the next America's Cup in 2024, alongside the traditional men's teams, speaks volumes for our sport and its commitment to moving forward in gender equity. With my successes to date, my target to helm an America's Cup boat for GBR and the use of social media, I know I am able to shine a light on this new pathway and inspire, particularly for women. In addition, I really do seriously like the idea of having the same opportunities as male sailors in the pro sailing environment and where mutual respect reigns.

What message do you have for young girls looking to get into competitive sailing?

  1. Keep loving your sailing no matter what. It's the most important thing because otherwise what's the point.

  2. As Daniela Moroz (the 5 times US kitesurfing world champion) always says, "enjoy the process". To reach the top, it's not just about the sailing, it's about the whole lifestyle package including fitness, recovery, nutrition, mentality.

  3. Say YES to every opportunity you can, you never know what could come of it.

  4. Remember how lucky you are to be doing this amazing sport!

  5. Give yourself time. Unlike some other sports where your career is over in your 20's, sailing is a long game. I remember when I was 16 and attending SportsAid seminars and speaking to the Olympians, they said to me "There's no rush. You can opt to do a degree and then go full time" which is exactly what I've done.

  6. Believe in the fact that you can compete with the boys on an even footing and beat them.
Which other female sailors do you look up to or are you inspired by?

I look up to the sailors who are pushing for equal opportunities for female sailors. Without these individuals, there is no doubt that the opportunities would not be there, especially at top level. Being a young female sailor at this particular point in time is extremely exciting given the pathway that these individuals are beginning to carve.

Hannah Mills has always been a role model of mine. Her mantra "it's no longer acceptable to just be an athlete" is really important and I hugely respect how she has used her status and voice to educate, particularly children, on the topic of sustainability in connection with the oceans. Aside from that, she is the most successful female sailing Olympian of all time and is dedicating now a lot of her time to carving the pathway for youth and female sailors with the newly announced Athena Pathway, showing that there are other pathways into professional sailing, other than the Olympics.

Saskia Tidey

Representing both Ireland and Great Britain in international sailing regattas, Saskia is a World Champion silver medallist 49er FX sailor who has represented Ireland at the 2016 Olympics and more recently GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Marlow have worked with Saskia as part of the British Sailing Team since 2018.

What have the highlights of your career to date been?

The highlights of my career have been winning a silver medal at the 2020 49er World championships and representing team GB at the Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020.

What does it mean to you to be a successful woman in your sport?

I am very grateful for the wonderful career I have had so far in International sailing.

The 49er FX fleet is packed full of very hard working talented women. I am proud to represent GBR and Marlow at the top of the fleet and inspire the future of British skiff sailors to follow in our footsteps. It has taken a huge amount of work to challenge the top of the world spots, the learning never stops.

What message do you have for young women looking to get into competitive sailing?

Find a teammate who you can smile with. Be aligned on what you want to achieve everyday and do not over complicate learning. For me it was important to find a boat I loved to sail. Even if that meant learning a whole new skill from scratch!

Which other female sailors do you look up to or are you inspired by?

There are characteristics from a few female sailors who I have been massively influenced by. Some of these characteristics are; hard work -always pushing, being better not bitter and keeping focussed whilst having fun.

I have always been drawn to team sports and double handed sailing has fulfilled that for me. I really enjoy getting to know how to make your teammate be the best version of themselves whilst staying honest to your own presence. I have watched many successful female teams achieve this. It is so inspiring.

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