The Jules Verne Trophy, considered one of the toughest ocean challenges in the world, has been dominated by male sailors; so far no woman has been part of any crew competing for the prestigious prize. That is all about to change with the announcement of the first all-woman team that will race to claim the trophy. The campaign, named The Famous Project, was announced in a press release on Tuesday and is led by Alexia Barrier and Dee Caffari, both of whom have impressive international sailing résumés.
Dee Caffari may be known to our readers for her many high-profile sailing races and challenges that we’ve featured in previous stories, such as Sailing with Michael Moradzadeh aboard Oaxaca when the team won their class in the 2019 Transpac, and skippering the Clean Seas/Turn the Tide on Plastic team in the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race. Caffari is known as “a record-breaking round-the-world sailor with six circumnavigations under her belt and is the only woman to have sailed around the world solo, in both directions.”
“This project will break down barriers. It will be the pinnacle of my career, a special record that few people have achieved or even attempted before. It’s a great sporting challenge, but the project in itself is so much bigger. This is about creating an impact for women all around the world,” co-skipper Caffari said in Tuesday’s press release.
In addition to Barrier and Caffari, the crew currently comprises Helena Darvelid (SWE), 12 world speed-sailing records; Sara Hastreiter (USA), round-the-world sailor and mountain adventurer; Elodie Jane Mettraux (SUI), leading multihull specialist; Joan Mulloy (IRL), offshore solo specialist; Marie Riou (FRA), The Ocean Race winner; Marie Tabarly (FRA), skipper of Pen Duick VI. Among them these woman claim 12 circumnavigations of the planet, 54 transatlantic races, three transpacific races, 28 world records and 16 championship titles.
The Famous Project will be running a two-boat campaign. The former Spindrift MOD70 — renamed Limosa — will be the training and selection platform. The team has also been supported by IDEC and has been given use of the Ultime IDEC SPORT (formerly Groupama 3, Banque Populaire VII). The boat is the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy record and three-time winner of the Route du Rhum.
In addition to racing around the world, the team will develop education and scientific programs around ocean health. “The Famous Project is more than attempting to set the Trophy Jules Verne record,” commented Barrier. “Over the coming months we will unveil the scientific program we will be undertaking with our partner, UNESCO, as well as a global educational program, which will bring to life the importance of ocean health for schoolchildren. The Famous Project will leave an impact for many years to come.”
The Famous Project is running a lengthy training and selection schedule throughout 2023 and 2024, and will be on standby to commence their campaign, on the ocean, from October 2025. The team’s website, https://www.thefamousproject.fr, is still under construction, but we encourage you to bookmark the site to check back in for updates.