SailGP & The Women’s Pathway

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The Women’s Pathway was introduced to help realise our ambition of creating an inclusive sporting championship where the best athletes have equal opportunities to compete together on the F50.

Since the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Season 2, all teams have raced with a female athlete on board in both four and six person crew configurations, while teams are also required to hold selection camps to identify and include female athletes in training. The Pathway gives female athletes the opportunity to compete at the highest level, with training and development designed to fast-track their process.

Teams have also been incentivized through the Impact League to prioritize the development of female athletes on board the F50s, in both training and racing. Since entering the league, SailGP’s roster of female athletes have been racing in the role of strategist and training in a variety of positions, gaining the valuable experience needed to race the super fast, flying F50 fleet. To mark the first anniversary of the Women’s Pathway, our female athletes explain in their own words why the initiative is so important and how it has changed their own careers.

Isabella Bertold, Canada SailGP Team:

Season 3 // Canada SailGP Team // Isabella Bertold crew photo

“The Women’s Pathway brought me back into competitive sailing. In 2019, when I stopped Olympic sailing, I never thought I would be back racing at an elite level – there were a few women who had managed to jump into professional sailing, but it didn’t seem like a credible path forward. SailGP’s introduction of the Pathway means not only is there now a path into professional sailing, but there’s the skill development support to start playing catch up.

Season 3 // Canada SailGP Team // Isabella Bertold F50 roll out

“One of my favorite quotes is ‘if you can see it, you can be it’. The Women’s Pathway provided a foundation for women to purse professional sailing at the highest level, and now we can be role models and inspire the next generation.”

Paula Barceló, Spain SailGP Team:

Spain's Paula Barceló in the grinder role with Joel Rodríguez

“The Women’s Pathway brings together the best sailors, latest technology and incredible boats – having the opportunity to be a part of that is unique. The Pathway has had a really positive impact on the sport of sailing, helping to close the experience gap and giving female athletes more experience and knowledge every day, proving that we are capable too.

Season 3 // Spain SailGP Team // Paula Bercelo at press conference

“We still have a long way to go to achieve total equality, but we are moving in the right direction and the Women’s Pathway is a big step forward.”

Nina Curtis, Australia SailGP Team:

Season 3 // Australia SailGP Team // Nina Curtis crew shot

“The Women’s Pathway has opened the door for female sailors into this aspect of sailing that has previously been closed. To have the opportunity to sail shoulder to shoulder with the world’s best sailing athletes on a boat as technical and fast as the F50 is an absolute dream come true and without the Women’s Pathway it wouldn’t be a reality.

Season 3 // Australia SailGP Team // Nina Curtis celebrates win

“I hope the next generation of female sailors finally feel represented at this level of sailing and chase their dreams. It’s going to be a big fight, but we are making the first big steps and it’s an exciting time time to be a female athlete in this sport – the tide is turning.”

Katja Salskov-Iversen, Denmark SailGP Team:

ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team athlete Katja Salskov-Iversen in the grinder position

“The launch of the Women’s Pathway means my dreams and career have taken a complete 180. I didn’t dream about becoming a professional sailor before because I couldn’t see a pathway for me, but I definitely do now. Now I’m all in for a career in professional sailing.

Season 3 // Denmark SailGP Team // Katja on board

“We have a huge experience gap between genders and these initiatives make it possible for women like me to become part of high-performance racing and learn as much as possible to close this gap.”

Erika Reineke, United States SailGP Team:

Season 3 // U.S. SailGP Team // Erika Reineke strategist crew shot

“When I was a young girl, the Olympics was the top tier of women’s sailing and I was always wondering if it was possible to do other professional sailing.

Season 3 // U.S. SailGP Team // Erika Reineke grinding in practice

“Now there’s a big push for women to be involved in SailGP and that’s the sort of thing I dreamed about as a little Opty kid. Now I’m 28 and seeing the sailing world want women involved in the sport is a dream come true – the Pathway is the leading example of that.”

Olivia Mackay, New Zealand SailGP Team:

Season 3 // New Zealand SailGP Team // Liv Mackay at the wheel

“The Women’s Pathway has completely changed my career – it’s not just the opportunity to race on the F50 – it’s about all the other sailing that I see as possible. Having raced on these boats, I think about everything else I want to do and being a woman doesn’t feel like a deterrent.

Season 3 // ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix // Liv Mackay celebrates New Zealand win

“The launch of the Pathway was the first genuine step forward for women’s professional sailing in quite a long time and one year on it’s created a huge amount of momentum and set the bar for what other leagues should be doing to ensure women have opportunities equal to men. It also gives the next generation of female sailing talent a reason to keep pushing. This process and change will hopefully make 16-year-old girls realise there is a career in professional sailing and want to pursue that challenge.”

Nikki Boniface, Great Britain SailGP Team:

Season 3 // Great Britain SailGP Team // Nikki Boniface with Ben Ainslie

“The launch of the Women’s Pathway was important for our sport to create opportunities for women to be exposed to fast foiling, high performance racing. Our sport needs more female role models, so this Pathway has allowed female sailors to push for these positions and hopefully gain the knowledge to be fundamental parts of the teams.

Season 3 // Great Britain SailGP Team // Nikki Boniface with Inspire kids

“It’s also allowed women to have insight into how big teams work and the scale of the shore and tech teams. For me personally, it’s been an amazing step coming out of Olympic sailing and be able to keep progressing my career. I have learned so much from everyone on the team, from the skills of the other athletes to the knowledge of the shore team – I continue to learn and embrace every day as much as possible.”

Laurane Mettraux, Switzerland SailGP Team:

Season 3 // Switzerland SailGP Team // Laurane Mettraux fixing F50

“The Women’s Pathway is the only way it would ever be possible for me to jump on board and race this type of boat. It is an amazing opportunity and one that will open up even more opportunities for me in the future. I’ve been racing on board the F50 in different roles, from the strategist to grinder, which has helped me develop new skills.

Season 3 // Switzerland SailGP Team // Laurane Mettraux crosses the F50

“Every time you are on board, you learn something new. After just a year, the Pathway has achieved so much and going forward I hope it will inspire even more women to get involved in professional sailing.”

Manon Audinet, France SailGP Team:

Season 3 // Spain Sail Grand Prix // Manon Audinet celebrates with France SailGP Team

“The Women’s Pathway has given me an opportunity I never would have had and I’m proud to be in this team. The competition brings together the best sailors and technologies in the world, which is inspiring. “I hope women will soon be part of any team based on their skill levels they’ve shown through circuits like SailGP.”