The Women of Earth’s Toughest Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race  is probably the most demanding and challenging ocean race in existence. Teams compete on a nine-leg race around the world, covering over 38,000 nautical miles of the most dangerous and unpredictable conditions.

The race lasts nine months and features the world’s best professional sailors, sailing the fastest and most technologically advanced offshore racing craft known to humanity.

The all-women Team SCA is outfitted by Helly Hansen and will be training continuously until the October race.

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Photo courtesy Team SCA Flickr.
Photo courtesy Team SCA Flickr.

Crews routinely race for more than 25 days at sea, living inside a 65-foot world, which includes working areas for the navigation station, media station and the kitchen (a gas stove). The crew share bunks, food is freeze-dried, and they live a cycle of four-hour shifts. The crew work in watches, four crew working four hours on and four hours off (and one of the off watches will see the crew on standby for two hours). Big maneuvers on these boats often require the whole crew on deck, which can mean any periods of extended rest are hard to find onboard. During the four hours off the crew can sleep, eat, relax, and fix anything that needs to be maintained or repaired onboard; life onboard is non-stop 24 hours a day until they cross the finish line.


Photo courtesy Team SCA Flickr.
Photo courtesy Team SCA Flickr.

Helly Hansen has been associated with teams in the Volvo Ocean Race since the round-the-world race started 40 years ago. Their partnership with the all-female Team SCA marks an important moment. “Helly Hansen was a fairly obvious choice of clothing partner for us as a team,” says Richard Brisius with Team SCA.

“For Team SCA the main deciding factor was Helly Hansen’s desire to develop and design a range of clothing specifically for the female offshore sailor. We’re excited about the new range and the impact that it will have both from a performance as well as visual aspect.”


Team SCA’s training headquarters at Puerto Calero Marina – in Lanzarote, Canary Islands – has been home to two previous Volvo Ocean Race campaigns and has excellent facilities for a project of this nature. The Team has made the most of their location off the coast off Africa, using the conditions on their doorstop to their advantage as they train to race and live offshore.

From watch systems, night sailing, maneuvers, cooking, sleeping, strategy and systems, the team has been running through every scenario to gain as much experience offshore ahead of the start of Leg One on October 11.


Photo courtesy Team SCA Flickr.
Photo courtesy Team SCA Flickr.

With just a few months left for SCA’s race preparation, the team is making the move towards race mode, sailing straight to Gosport, UK where they will compete in the Artemis Challenge, followed by the Round Britain and Ireland Race in mid-August.

Team SCA will take on the most challenging environments on the planet as they aim to become the most successful female team in the history of the race: 11 women, 1 boat = 1 Epic Challenge.

Check out the Helly Hansen Sailing Collection. Follow Team SCA here.