Can the Magenta Project Beat the Clock?
There is simply no denying the huge impact the all-female Team SCA entry made on the last Volvo Ocean Race. While they were never challengers for the overall title, they won one offshore leg and two inshore races and finished the In-Port Race Series in third place. Back ashore, they utterly dominated the marketing and communications ratings war as their seemingly ever-increasing legion of fans swamped the race’s social media channels with messages of support and flooded each of the 11 stopover sites around the world in a sea of magenta t-shirts and frantically waved SCA flags.
For their backers, the Swedish paper products company, SCA who wanted to increase brand awareness of their range of feminine hygiene products by associating themselves with the global empowerment of women, an all-women crew competing in a male dominated round-the-world yacht race was a match tailor-made in heaven.
So it came as quite a shock when shortly after the end of the race the women were left high and dry by SCA’s announcement that they would not be sponsoring the team for another lap of the planet.
The former-SCA sailors quickly regrouped under the banner of ‘The Magenta Project’ with high hopes for a new corporate brand to come along and snap them up along with their global army of supporters. A year on from the finish of the last race, however, no one has yet stepped into the breach willing to pick up the reins where SCA left off.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and as the January 1 cut-off the women have set themselves drifts inexorably closer on the tide, the question is starting to be asked: Could time be running out for the all-women crew?
We sat down with former Team SCA watch leader Abby Ehler and navigator Libby Greenhalgh to find out how the crew planned to get themselves off this commercial lee shore. We began by asking if The Magenta Project’s sole goal was still to field another female entry in the Volvo Ocean Race or whether it had evolved into something broader?
Abby Ehler: To start with, a brief insight: SCA gave us a huge opportunity to compete on the centre stage of offshore racing as an all-female team in the Volvo Ocean Race. As the 2014-2015 race progressed we realised that away from the boat we were making waves around the world. People were engaged, motivated and inspired by our endeavours.
This comment in a note sent to us by Billy Jean King summarises that: “Thank you for showing girls and women around the world that we can accomplish anything and to dream big. Your perseverance, drive and commitment to... READ THE FULL ARTICLE