Sunday, December 19, 2010

First all-female GOR team is confirmed

British yachtswoman, Hannah Jenner, has confirmed that her co-skipper for the double-handed, Class40, Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) is German sailor, Anna-Maria Renken. Jenner and Renken are currently the only all-girl GOR team.

Hannah Jenner secured her GOR entry in April this year and had originally planned to take advantage of the GOR’s Team Entry option and swap co-skippers at each stopover. “When putting together a global race campaign that relies on external funding, you really need a unique selling point,” explains the 30 year-old, professional sailor. “I started with the idea of a team entry with the focus on taking young sailors with me, but, in the back of my mind, I also really liked the idea of entering as an all girl team,” she continues. “It was just a question of finding the right girl!”

Meanwhile, 20 year-old German sailor, Anna-Marie Renken, was simultaneously planning a GOR campaign with a female co-skipper, but when Renken’s co-skipper was forced to withdraw, she contacted Jenner in October and suggested joining forces. “When I first wrote to Hannah, I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be to the concept of an all-girl team,” admits Renken. “It was a really positive response that came back and we discovered that we had a lot in common and wanted to achieve the same things from the race.” Communications between the duo were exciting and intense. “After many emails, Skype video calls and finally a meeting in Hamburg, we are convinced that we will work very well together and I am really looking forward to getting out on the water and sailing with Hannah,” adds Renken.

Between them, the duo has sailed over 200,000 nautical miles including valuable ocean racing and shorthanded sailing experience. At 28 years-old, Jenner was the first female skipper in the Clipper Round the World Race and took her team to a podium finish, while Renken has moved to sailing from a windsurfing and semi-pro swimming background as one of the very few female sailors in the German offshore racing circuit and she skippered and trained a German team in the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race. Most recently, Renken was the first German woman to participate in Sweden’s extremely demanding, double-handed Watski Skagervak 2 Star. The Anglo-German duo are now expanding their hunt for a title sponsor: “We are fully aware of the marketing potential of an all-girl team and are seeking a sponsor who shares our ambition, energy and commitment to standing out amongst the crowd,” Jenner concludes.

With 19 teams already confirmed for the race, Josh Hall, Race Director of the GOR, is delighted by the latest news: “There is no doubt that this entry will be highly competitive in the GOR,” Hall believes. “We believe that the GOR and Class40 offer a quality platform for every sailor to showcase their talents in a round the world race with manageable boats and achievable budgets,” he continues. “Hannah and Anna-Maria have individually achieved great success in offshore racing and as a duo they will be formidable – watch out boys!”

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