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World Sailing Trust Makes Recommendations to Support Improved Maternity Policies in the Sport

26th March 2023
Clarisse Crémer by her Vendée Globe IMOCA with the branding of her now former sponsor Banque Populaire
Clarisse Crémer sparked a serious conversation in the sailing world about maternity policies when she opened up about losing her main sponsor Banque Populaire Credit: Jug81/Wikimedia

Following Vendée Globe competitor Clarisse Crémer’s “shock” at being dropped by her main sponsor after taking time off to have a baby, the World Sailing Trust was among those who took notice and has now published a set of recommendations to improve maternity policies in high-level sailing.

Titled ‘Project Juno’, the trust’s report comprises six recommendations “to look to set the sport of sailing on a more inclusive course when it comes to women who wish to become mothers and remain in their chosen fields”.

Speaking about the report, World Sailing Trust chair and legendary offshore sailor Dee Caffari said: “Following our publication of the Women in Sailing Strategic Review in 2019 and subsequent research into participation and the governance of the sport, we are well-placed to understand the challenges that face athletes and others who wish to become mothers.

“The pace of change regarding attitudes to mothers in sailing has been slow. When Clarisse Crémer confirmed on social media that she had been let go by her sponsor, Banque Populaire, there was uproar.

“But one does not need to dig too deep to find similar stories that. Olympians Theresa Zabell and Shirley Robertson both fell foul of the ‘system’ not being sufficiently flexible or accommodating of pregnant and new mothers, and there are doubtless many more.

“Project Juno looks at the four primary areas that athletes, teams, organisations and stakeholders should consider when looking at how to best support mothers and fathers. Through them, we also call on our sport to remove the ‘mother blinkers’ and accept that it will only be the best it can be only by being diverse and inclusive.”

Duncan Truswell of Sport England and a World Sailing Trust trustee added: “The rules are not deliberately made to discriminate, but, in the main, they do. This does not come from a place of prejudice or negativity but rather from a history of being a male-dominated sport. There is no immediate overnight fix and Project Juno is a work in progress, a first step to improve and make things better.”

The Project Juno report is available to download from the World Sailing Trust website HERE.

Published in Vendee Globe, Offshore
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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The 2024 Vendée Globe Race

A record-sized fleet of 44 skippers are aiming for the tenth edition of the Vendée Globe: the 24,296 nautical miles solo non-stop round-the-world race from Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on Sunday, November 10 2024 and will be expected back in mid-January 2025.

Vendée Globe Race FAQs

Six women (Alexia Barrier, Clarisse Cremer, Isabelle Joschke, Sam Davies, Miranda Merron, Pip Hare).

Nine nations (France, Germany, Japan, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and Great Britain)

After much speculation following Galway man Enda O’Coineen’s 2016 race debut for Ireland, there were as many as four campaigns proposed at one point, but unfortunately, none have reached the start line.

The Vendée Globe is a sailing race round the world, solo, non-stop and without assistance. It takes place every four years and it is regarded as the Everest of sailing. The event followed in the wake of the Golden Globe which had initiated the first circumnavigation of this type via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) in 1968.

The record to beat is Armel Le Cléac’h 74 days 3h 35 minutes 46s set in 2017. Some pundits are saying the boats could beat a sub-60 day time.

The number of theoretical miles to cover is 24,296 miles (45,000 km).

The IMOCA 60 ("Open 60"), is a development class monohull sailing yacht run by the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA). The class pinnacle events are single or two-person ocean races, such as the Route du Rhum and the Vendée Globe.

Zero past winners are competing but two podiums 2017: Alex Thomson second, Jérémie Beyou third. It is also the fifth participation for Jean Le Cam and Alex Thomson, fourth for Arnaud Boissières and Jérémie Beyou.

The youngest on this ninth edition of the race is Alan Roura, 27 years old.

The oldest on this ninth edition is Jean Le Cam, 61 years old.

Over half the fleet are debutantes, totalling 18 first-timers.

The start procedure begins 8 minutes before the gun fires with the warning signal. At 4 minutes before, for the preparatory signal, the skipper must be alone on board, follow the countdown and take the line at the start signal at 13:02hrs local time. If an IMOCA crosses the line too early, it incurs a penalty of 5 hours which they will have to complete on the course before the latitude 38 ° 40 N (just north of Lisbon latitude). For safety reasons, there is no opportunity to turn back and recross the line. A competitor who has not crossed the starting line 60 minutes after the signal will be considered as not starting. They will have to wait until a time indicated by the race committee to start again. No departure will be given after November 18, 2020, at 1:02 p.m when the line closes.

The first boat could be home in sixty days. Expect the leaders from January 7th 2021 but to beat the 2017 race record they need to finish by January 19 2021.

Today, building a brand new IMOCA generally costs between 4.2 and €4.7million, without the sails but second-hand boats that are in short supply can be got for around €1m.

©Afloat 2020

Vendee Globe 2024 Key Figures

  • 10th edition
  • Six women (vs six in 2020)
  • 16 international skippers (vs 12 in 2020)
  • 11 nationalities represented: France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Japan, China, USA, New Zealand (vs 9 in 2020)
  • 18 rookies (vs 20 in 2020)
  • 30 causes supported
  • 14 new IMOCAs (vs 9 in 2020)
  • Two 'handisport' skippers

At A Glance - Vendee Globe 2024

The 10th edition will leave from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 10, 2024

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