Ocean sailing might often seem to be a predominantly masculine sport but the women crew members of Team SCA have radically different thoughts about that. The first all-female crew to enter the Volvo Ocean Race in more than a decade, they completed the first two legs of this gruelling annual event with distinction.

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On the first leg, from Alicante (starting on 11 October) to Cape Town, after a sleepless night and clever strategy, they overtook the Spanish boat MAPFRE almost at the end to snatch sixth place in the seven-boat fleet. “We never ever stopped fighting,” said skipper Sam Davies, on the dock. “That’s something that our coach, Magnus Olsson, taught us – and we keep that spirit with us all the time.”

They had some more tough skirmishes on the second leg, to Abu Dhabi, eventually repeating sixth place, albeit thanks to Team Vestas Wind’s failure to finish the race. After a break over Christmas, they were due to resume nautical battle on 3 January from Abu Dhabi to Sanya.

The race will them continue to Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Lisbon, Lorient and finally, after a pit-stop in The Hague, to Gothenburg – where the boats are due to arrive between 21 and 24 June 2015.

opensea3After the first two legs, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (winner of the first leg), Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunei (victorious in the second leg) headed the overall points list jointly. The other participating boat in the race, Team Alvimedica, was fourth ahead of MAPFRE.

The women’s team is funded by SCA, founded in Sweden in 1929 and currently mainly concentrating on hygiene operations and products, while also being Europe’s largest private forest owner.

They entered a team in the Volvo Ocean Race because globally more than 80 per cent of the retail products they make are purchased by women. “This gives us a natural interest in the role that women play in the field of hygiene of millions of families around the world. Furthermore, SCA supports women’s empowerment and their freedom to participate fully in society – socially, educationally and professionally – across the world by giving them access to and education about hygiene products and solutions.”