This year’s Spain Sail Grand Prix marks the second anniversary of SailGP’s Women’s Pathway Programme and having female athletes onboard the F50s.
The ambition of the programme is to create an inclusive sporting championship that has gender equity at its heart and where the best athletes have equal opportunity to compete on the F50. To achieve this, SailGP provides world-class training and development to female athletes and opportunities to race at the top level.
Emirates GBR is fully committed to providing more opportunities for female athletes and has its own scheme, the Athena Pathway Programme. The programme is led by Emirates GBR Strategist, and the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time, Hannah Mills OBE. It aims to level the playing field in high-performance foiling sailing and bring diversity into the professional sport, with sustainability embedded in its core. The programme hopes to create more opportunities for women within the sailing industry, while also widening the pool of talent for the Emirates GBR SailGP Team.
Speaking at Friday’s press conference in Cadiz, Emirates GBR Strategist Hannah Mills OBE said: “SailGP is one of the only sports where you can have men and women competing on an equal footing, what that showcases to the rest of the world is amazing. I don’t think it’s long until we see a female Driver, whether it’s me or someone else, it’s really exciting and will be a big jump forward. I’m pushing hard and would love to do that, but equally providing that opportunity for other women to come forward is really important to me.”
Mills said giving female athletes training time in different crew roles on-board the F50 was important for development, and during practice racing on Friday afternoon she had to jump into the grinding role for the final race as crew size was reduced to four people due to light winds. Less breeze made for tricky conditions for all 10 Teams, but slightly more wind is expected on Saturday, when official racing kicks off. There will be three fleet races on Saturday, before two more fleet races on Sunday followed by the three-boat event final. UK viewers can catch all the action live on ITVX from 14:30BST on Saturday.