The Famous Project: Mod70 Limosa in Portugal

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The Famous Project: Mod70 Limosa in Portugal

The Famous Project’s all girl crew of the MOD70 Limosa reached the Portuguese Algarve port of Portimao this morning to successfully complete their main objectives, delivering the boat back to Europe from Antigua on the first ever transoceanic passage on a MOD70 by an all-female crew and to significantly increase their learning and cohesion together as a team at some 18 months before they plan to sail the Maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT on the Jules Verne Trophy record course and set a women’s benchmark.

The Transatlantic passage was co-skippered by project founder Alexia Barrier (FRA) and Dee Caffari (GBR) and the team comprised Marie Riou (FRA), Joan Mulloy (IRL), Deborah Blair (GBR), Annie Lush (GBR), Rebecca Gmuer (NZL) and media reporter Georgia Schofield (NZL). In part the crossing helped in the training and future selection of the 10 strong team which will sail the giant multihull ULTIM IDEC SPORT non stop round the world during the winter of 2025.

For the former Vendée Globe solo ocean racer turned team leader, project founder and ocean racing skipper Alexia Barrier, it was also another big step in her own personal transition from lone singlehanded racing to skippering a strong team of women  on a high speed multihull for the first time.

“I discovered myself as a captain,” Alexia Barrier admits with her usual frankness. For the past year, she has been learning the role of skipper and team leader which she gets more and more used to.

“Certainly, we have not pushed the boat to its limits,” says Alexia, “We didn’t look to make it hard for ourselves either. The main idea was to build cohesion and good understanding between us eight women who had very little sailing time together, even if we all knew each other individually. As far as I was concerned, it was important for me to prove to myself that I knew how to take on the role of captain and leader. It seems to me that on these two counts, our Transat is a success. There was loads of good fund and good humor all the way across. Everyone quickly found their place, and I was able to keep a close eye on the team and assess their reactions, both from a technical review point and on a human level. I appreciated their good humor and their ability to support each other. There was a real kindness on board which seems essential to me for a successful round-the-world crew.”

Supported ably Caffari on the water, and on land by team manager Jonny Malbon, Barrier is giving herself several more months to continue her experiments and trials with other sailors. “Our doors are open to everyone, whatever their level of excellence or experience. We share the belief that everyone can dare and achieve their dreams. The fundamental criteria are an ability to adapt and live in a group in the long term. I think I will have to test around ten more girls before deciding on a shortlist of 14 people, for a final crew at the start of the Jules Verne Trophy of 8 to 10 teammates. New races against the other MOD70s, Phaedo by Brian Thompson, Zoulou by Erik Maris and Loick Peyron on Argo with Jason Carroll) are on the program, in Palma de Mallorca this summer and in Greece with the Aegean 600. And on May 31, the IDEC SPORT trimaran will be launched ready to go sailing.”

With no time to rest or enjoy a pastel de nata in Portimao Alexia heads to Lorient for the start of the The Transat CIC this weekend before going to Vannes to catch up on progress with the Maxi Trimaran IDEC SPORT at the Multiplast yard ready to supervise the launching of the famous boat which still holds the Jules Verne Trophy.