And now a Transatlantic in all girl mode……

@the_famousproject @georgiaphoto

And now a Transatlantic in all girl mode……

With the big boat, the Ultim, due for a May launch, the race is on to get a core team up to speed and this Transatlantic from the Caribbean to Portugal, followed by a training passage continuing on to their Mediterranean base in La Grande Motte, is an essential keystone in this training and learning block. Until now they have had the likes of Bouttell, Sidney Gavignet and others on board to fast track the learning. Now it is time to go do it themselves…

Co-skipper Caffari, who will run the boat whilst project captain Alexia Barrier will take responsibility for navigating, says, “For the first time we won’t have the safety net of the guys on the boat with all the experience, all the miles they have on the boat with us. So it will be good to be taking that step. And also we are moving into that mode now where Alexia and I, having that bit more experience, are bringing more people forwards with confidence, that will really build our confidence as well.”

And the main objectives are seeing and sailing with different crew and upskilling them, “It is a little bit of having new people sail the boat with us, it is a little bit of ‘we can do this’ because until now it has been…. ‘well they only sail with the guys on board’…..and we don’t actually need them to sail the boat but it is good to have them to fast track the learning and keep up the intensity. Now we have to generate that ourselves.”

Caffari and the girls are not really relishing the weather, not least the return to chilly, windy Europe “The weather looks a lot of upwind sailing. I think that is what it is and it does make it a little bit safer, we are not in that downwind danger zone very often. But finding the right sea state and keeping in the right modes will be the key to keeping the boat going.”

Splitting the roles into the defined responsibilities is also a ‘next step’ in the process,

“Alexia is learning to be a team player as she is so used to being a solo sailor on her Vendée Globe set up and so I am here helping with that, I have been through that transition, keeping the communication flow going. Clear, concise communication is key, everyone using the same kind of language, especially as we have different nationalities on board, especially when people are tired.” Caffari concludes.

Along with Joan Mulloy, 35 year old Pam Lee is one of the two Irish sailors on board for the Transat. Lee has more than 10 Transatlantics under her belt including one on a Multi 50 multihull, as well as the most recent Transat Jacques Vabre race on a Class 40. She is taking time off from helping prepare the giant Ultime near her base in Lorient and aims to be one of the key technical expert  ’fixers’ on board for the Jules Verne.

Lee sailed the MOD70 during a training week in the Med last spring and is looking forwards to this new oceanic challenge, her first time – she realises – with an all girl crew.

After her first training days in Antigua she notes, “Day to day everyone is so down to earth, just professional sailors doing a good job, it is amazing we are just all sailors who love sailing and love what we do. This feels like such a big opportunity and I just want to make the very most of it. I want to learn as much as I can and bring my best ‘sailor self’ to it every day. Don’t get me wrong there is no competitive feeling there but there will be a team selection, sometime. But meantime for me it be focused, be humble and be myself.  “

She concludes, “And it is the first time I have sailed with an all-girls group. But the funny thing about that is the penny has just kind of dropped. I have not been thinking in those terms at all, we are all sailors doing what we love, it is so natural. But it just feels like going sailing, there is no crusade here, even if it will be the first time an all-female crew have sailed a MOD70 across the Atlantic.”