Our role models

Meet some of the Women who inspire us.....

Our role models are encouraging more women into sailing...some of whom we're delighted to have had as skippers for Girls for Sail!

Vicky Ellis

At the age of 31, Vicky took the helm of the yacht “Switzerland”, one of the 12 entries in the Clipper race 2013-14, the longest ever round the world yacht race.

Vicky led an international crew of amateur sailors, from all walks of life, on board a 70’ ocean racing boat on an 11 month journey of a lifetime.  They raced through some of the planet's remotest oceans facing storms and dangers.  Vicky was the only female skipper in the 9th edition of the race and became only the second female skipper to ever complete the race. 

We're delighted to count Vicky as having been one of our skippers here at GFS, as well as her having completed her training with us for the Fastnet Race.

Tracy Edwards-Maiden

Tracy was THE pioneer of all-women sailing and she led the way for women in sailing as we know it today. After being one of five women to sail around the world in 1985, Tracy Edwards decided that women should have more opportunities in the sailing world and announced the first-all-female race crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989/90. 

Not only did Maidens entry break the social norms of racing, they went on to win two legs of the race and came second overall - an inspiring achievement for women sailors everywhere.  In 1990 she became the first woman to received the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy and was appointed an MBE, along with Sportswoman of the Year and Sports Team of the Year with Maiden. Today she is an inspiring voice for women everywhere.

Team SCA

Team SCA were the first all female team to compete in The Volvo Ocean Race in 12 years, and were  the only all female team in the 2014-15 competition. This race requires physical and mental strength - there were over 250 applications to join Team SCA and only 15 were chosen to compete. The eleven crew on board competed on an equal level to their male competitors, racing the same boats around the world and covering 39,000 miles over nine legs (up to 21 days of racing at a time) in the longest RTW route in the 42 year history of the race.

The Team SCA crew were aged between 28 – 42, and came from six nations; USA, UK, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands. Three of the crew were also mothers - a fact which made their close escape from disaster on leg five all the more compelling.

They made history by becoming the only female team to ever win a leg of the race, finishing 48 minutes ahead of the closest boat on leg eight, from Portugal to Lorient in France and finishing amid scenes of absolute jubilation!


Challenging society's view of women as sailors, the Magenta Project is made up of members of Team SCA - an inspiring all-female crew who were the first to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race - one of the toughest races in the world. In 2015 they made history by being the first all-female crew to win a leg of the race in 25 years. An opportunity for women in offshore sailing to show that gender doesn’t hold you back became an empowering story for women all over the world. Be inspired by their short video below!


Hannah Stodel 

 Started sailiing at the age of 3,  in 1995 she joined the Royal Yachting Association Mirror National Junior Squad, a predominantly able bodied team, and in 2003 she switched class to sonar competing in disability events.

Hannah has represented Great Britain at three Summer Paralympics and with her colleagues John Robertson and Stephen Thomas has won multiple medals in the Mixed Sonar class at the Disabled Sailing World Championships, including gold in 2005 and 2006. 

In the run up to the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio, Stodel was part of a third World Championship winning Sonar team.

Currently her time now is divided between taking on the new challenge of Paralympic javelin throwing, working on a Sports Development course for young learners, coaching and motivational speaking.

She is now working towards being the first disabled sailor to take on the Vendee Globe, with the aim of being on the start line for the 2020 edition. Watch this space!

We are so lucky to have Hannah onboard with us, while she works towards her Yachtmaster.

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