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The Famous Project Complete Their First All-Female Atlantic Crossing

25th April 2024
The Famous Project crew hold their teammates in high esteem after their arrival in Portimao, Portugal on Wednesday 24 April
The Famous Project crew hold their teammates in high esteem after their arrival in Portimao, Portugal on Wednesday 24 April Credit: Georgia Schofield

The Famous Project crew have completed on their first all-female ocean passage across the Atlantic on their MOD70 The Famous Project Limosa.

The seven-strong crew — which included Ireland’s own Joan Mulloy — arrived in Portimao, Portugal from Antigua on Wednesday (24 April) to complete one of their main objectives ahead of the Jules Verne Trophy next year.

This Transatlantic passage was co-skippered by project founder Alexia Barrier (FRA) and Dee Caffari (GBR) with a crew comprising Marie Riou (FRA), Deborah Blair (GBR), Annie Lush(GBR), Rebecca Gmuer (NZL), Joan Mulloy (IRL) and media reporter Georgia Schofield (NZL).

Ireland’s Pamela Lee is also involved with the team but did not complete this passage, dedicating herself more recently to the final selection phase of the UpWind by MerConcept project, aimed at building a 100-per-cent female crew on the Ocean Fifty UpWind skippered by Francesca Clapcich.

In part, the Famous Project’s Transat helped in the training and future selection of the 10-strong team which will sail the giant multihull Ultim IDEC SPORT non-stop around the world during the winter of 2025.

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

“I discovered myself as a captain,” Barrier said. “Certainly, we have not pushed the boat to its limits. 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 tome that on these two counts, our Transat is a success.

“There was loads of good fun and good humour 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 humour and their ability to support each other. There was a real kindness onboard which seems essential to me for a successful round-the-world crew.”

The MOD70 The Famous Project Limosa that the all-female crew sailed to Portugal from Antigua | Credit: Joao Costa FerreiraThe MOD70 The Famous Project Limosa that the all-female crew sailed to Portugal from Antigua | Credit: Joao Costa Ferreira

Supported ably by 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,” she said. “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 eight to 10 teammates. New races against the other MOD70s…are on the programme, in Palma de Mallorca this summer and in Greece with the Aegean 600. And on 31 May the IDEC SPORT trimaran will be launched, ready to go sailing.”

With no time to rest or enjoy a pastel de nata in Portimao, Barrier heads to Lorient for the start of the Transat CIC this weekend before going to Vannes to catch up on progress with the team’s Maxi trimaran at the Multiplast, yard ready to supervise the launching of the famous boat which still holds the Jules Verne Trophy. Team

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