I get asked this question frequently, "Why aren't there any girls in the race?" Actually, the really hilarious question is them asking which boat I sail on...yah...the one in my dreams!
You can all stop laughing now, thank you...
Last night a group of us were sitting around the tele, sick of CNN's reports on the dreadful state of financial affairs in the US and managed a discussion on sailing injuries. One of the gals husband recently suffered a nasty injury on one of the V70s when a winch drum failed, shifting the full load onto the pedestal he was working. The increased load took him off the deck, up and over the pedestal (a.k.a. "coffee grinder") and back onto the deck where he met up with traveler system and nothing soft or smooth.
The lad sustained serious injury to upper leg (where he landed) and sliced open his knee just below his "knee cap" (a gift from the traveler system.) He had a very long and painful recovery.
This, just one tale and a mild story of the potential physical risks of sailing such a demanding boat. Now, please keep in mind before getting upset and wondering why the hell they sail these boats. They love it and would not have it any other way and in this story, the winch drum was faulty. This could happen on any boat, just happens that when a V70 or maxi is involved, more damage to the sailor.
So back to why there are no girls on the modern V70s and it is not because they aren't skilled enough to do so. The boats were simply not designed with female physiology in mind. They are designed to push the boundaries of man. What would be interesting, pairing V70 designer with a team that want's a female crew, therefore crafting a powerful, fast boat with a smaller framed person at the controls. This would be an interesting question to pose.
Think it will be awhile before we see such a team and personally, greatly respect the guys who take on this offshore challenge and the wives and girlfriends who support them. Many of them are damn good sailors but raising our future generation of sailor is a very important job!
So ladies, please do not get upset or even discouraged because the time will come when female and boat designer come together, but till then, lets just admired the Volvo Boys for the solid sailors they are and appreciate their love for such raw, passionate sailing...