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The Famous Project Update

At the beginning of 2024 the announcement that Ocean Safety had become the official Safety Partner of The Famous Project was made. In the short period of time since then a great deal has happened but, as I have discovered, even the journey towards this speed record is going to be a fast one. 

From initial conception of the idea a couple of years ago, project Skipper and Founder Alexia Barrier has been moving this project forward at pace. It has been 26 years since a female skipper with an all-female crew attempted the Jules Verne Record and that was Tracy Edwards on her catamaran, Royal and Sun Alliance. Sadly, Tracy and her crew were unsuccessful with the attempt being aborted at Cape Horn after a dismasting. This particular record setting space has been male dominated since then, with opportunities for women to gain multihull experience in sailing significantly limited. 

It has taken over a quarter of a century for another all-female record attempt to come together and is testament to Alexia’s determination that her dream has now become reality. Although the Famous Project’s goal is ultimately to break the Jules Verne Record with an all-female team, Alexia wants to use the momentum the project generates to create a pathway for young people by allowing access to the team and boat and to provide more opportunities for young sailors. By opening up these avenues, she hopes to inspire budding sailors to dream and dare. Alexia is a champion of successful females, athletes, entrepreneurs and business leaders and keen to shine a light on women doing great things. I firmly believe that when women support each other, there is no limit to what can be achieved. 

I was lucky enough to have been asked to take on the role of co-skipper for the project. I always knew that if I was going to attempt another circumnavigation (this being my 7th) it would have to be something special and this certainly ticks all the boxes. It is such a privilege to be part of such an exciting project.   

We are training on a MOD 70 trimaran in a mixed format. By sailing with guys that have raced these boats for many miles, we are able to tap into their experience and knowledge to fast track our learning. Our MOD70 is very aptly named after a record setting bird whose latin name is Limosa. The longest non-stop flight recorded for a Limosa was 11 days, over which this plucky little bird covered a staggering 8425 miles.  

When it comes to our record, we will be swapping the MOD 70 for IDEC Sport, a 32 metre maxi trimaran. She has great pedigree having held the current record of 40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes and 30 second for the last 7 years. Currently undergoing an extensive refit, IDEC Sport will be re-launched later this year. 

Any activity at sea requires safety equipment but it is particularly important in a racing environment. To date we have raced in the Rolex Middle Sea Race a Category 2 race with RORC prescriptions and then in January the RORC Transatlantic Race which is a Category 1 race with RORC prescriptions. 

We are fortunate to be supported by Ocean Safety and, ahead of our racing schedule last October, took delivery of our equipment which comprised of Ocean ISO Ultralite liferafts, Ocean Safety Sport Pro 170N ADV lifejackets with Ocean Signal MOB1, and a selection of man overboard recovery equipment from the renowned Jon Buoy range. Flares, throw lines and a selection of fluorescene packs and cylalume sticks. 

We have covered a number of miles since then, both racing and delivering, which have been important for us to use and test equipment, get to know each other and learn how far we can push the boat in different environments. Mistakes were made and lessons learnt on the Middle Sea Race and the subsequent Transatlantic Race but this led to better preparation and an incredible performance on the RORC Caribbean 600 race. Not only could we feel the improvement ourselves, but it was also commented on by our competitors.  

Our plan now is to bring Limosa back across the Atlantic from the Caribbean to France with an all-female crew onboard. With a new crew combination and the first time a MOD70 has sailed with an all-female team, we are slowly but surely moving in the right direction.