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Girls on top: women’s team wins Volvo Ocean Race leg

Team SCA, the all-female sailing team competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, has finally taken a win, silencing critics who have said they weren’t stacking up to their male rivals.

In 41 years, only four female crews have competed in the gruelling round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race. Led by British skipper Sam Davies, Team SCA is the first all-women’s crew to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race in 12 years. They are the first to win a leg of the race in 25 years since team Maiden, led by Tracy Edwards, won two legs in 1989-90. 

Leg 8, the penultimate of the race, took the teams from Lisbon, Portugal, to Lorient, France, a distance of 647 nautical miles.

Team SCA pulled off the win with a time of 13 hours, 11 minutes and 11 seconds, grabbing a spot on the podium. It is considered a win both for Team SCA and the sport of women’s offshore sailing.

"It's a reward for all the hard work we have done,” said Sam Davies. “It's a great confidence booster. It's going to be huge for us. We've had a mountain to climb to get here. The conditions might have been man breaking but they were not women breaking.” 

The team is made up of relative rookies compared to their male counterparts. Only two of the 12 members of Team SCA had ever competed in the Volvo Ocean Race before.

The leg that the women won was arguably one of the more arduous, described as “coast of death.” According to race organisers, the northwest coast of Spain can be one scary place to sail. Myriad ships have sunk here, the shoreline is directly exposed to the Atlantic Ocean, it’s an active shipping route, and capsizes are common – all making it an even bigger coup that the women succeeded in winning on this leg. 

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