GOR Female Team Gets to Know Each Other on Qualifying Sail

Global Ocean Race – Hannah Jenner and Anna-Maria Renken – the only all-female crew in the double-handed, round the world Class40 Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) – set off on the mandatory 2,000-mile qualifying passage from the Caribbean to the Azores on board their chartered Class40, 40 Degrees. For the 3-year-old, Anglo-German duo, the trip is proving to be a tough, but invaluable, experience and the first opportunity the pair has had to sail together.

Having left Guadeloupe after a six-day period of familiarization and test sailing with Peter Harding’s two-year-old Owen Clarke Design Jaz40 MkII Class40, Jenner and Renken were in a hurry to start sailing, heading from Guadeloupe directly into 16 knots of breeze coming directly from their destination, Horta in the Azores, 2,400 miles to the northeast across the North Atlantic.

“It was quite a big day really,” Hannah Jenner recalled in a blog sent from 40 Degrees. “What if we didn’t gel on the boat?” Jenner and Renken first met via a series of Skype calls last October, as both of the yachtswomen were planning independent GOR campaigns, but soon decided to collaborate. “What if we had just made the biggest mistake of our sailing careers?” she continued. “After all, two on a boat is an interesting dynamic, and it needs to work.”

After an initial period of upwind sailing spent experimenting with water ballast and sail configurations, the breeze vaporized, dropping to below 2 knots and swinging from all points of the compass. Cabin fever and sunburn soon set in: “We spent the first three days as two individuals finding their way around their new world,” Jenner explains. “Of course, we were a team, but we had not yet begun to develop that partnership, we had yet to find our team rhythm,” she admits. “Then came the turning point, a day of zero wind, searing heat and a good deal of frustration.”

For the complete story, go to www.globaloceanrace.com.

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