SailGP celebrated role of women in new championship on International Women’s Day

SailGP joined the celebration of International Women’s Day by recognising and saluting the many women who are integral to the new global championship, highlighted by two-time Olympian and member of the France SailGP Team, Marie Riou.

Riou has found significant success in both women’s and mixed Olympic classes, winning four world titles and earning two Olympic berths. More recently, she has made headlines for crossing into a realm formerly reserved for her male counterparts, pushing her to pioneer status. In 2018, she was one of the first female sailors not only to compete in The Ocean Race, but to win the gruelling round-the-world marquee offshore event.

Now she continues to make waves as the first female sailor in SailGP, which features top sailing talent representing six countries on the world’s fastest race boats.

Alongside Riou, many women are steering the inaugural SailGP season to success. Nearly 30 percent of SailGP comprises female team members in a variety of roles across management, technical operations, engineering, finance, race management, race governance, broadcast, hospitality, creative and communications.

“Women play an integral role in all parts of our society, and that is especially true at SailGP,” said SailGP CEO Russell Coutts. “Our operation as a whole relies heavily on a diverse set of expertise, and we’re fortunate to be one of the few sports in which men and women can compete alongside one another. Marie Riou is a pioneer and role model, and we hope the first of many female sailors in our exciting new professional sports league.”

As flight controller and tactician for the France SailGP Team, Riou is responsible for ensuring the boat is foiling and at optimum speed throughout the vital manoeuvres the team has to make to get around the racecourse at speeds never before seen in sail racing. She also has to absorb all the data from the environment, the boat and the other five competing national teams to place the French in the best position on the racecourse and get them over the line in front.

Joining Riou as crucial members of the SailGP team are women in every area of the new organisation, from all corners of the globe.

Tickets are now on sale for SailGP’s second event and US debut. San Francisco SailGP is set for May 4-5, before the annual championship moves to New York (June 21-22), Cowes (UK, August 10-11) and Marseille (France, September 20-22), where the season culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race. Visit SailGP.com for additional details.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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