America's Cup Team Canada Blog

Women in Sailing

Puig Women's America's Cup

History of Women in Sailing

When the AC40s with their all-female crews approach the starting line at the first-ever Puig Women’s America’s Cup in Barcelona in October 2024, Canada will be ready. Isabella Bertold and the team are excited to race against the world’s best female sailors. These remarkable women will inspire future sailors and break down barriers as they sail their way to glory. But before we dive into this groundbreaking event, let’s take a moment to explore the history of women in sailing and the challenges they have overcome.

Making History in Paris - 1900

Representing Switzerland, Hélène de Pourtalès, was the first female Olympian and the first female Olympic medalist in any discipline when she won gold and silver racing with her husband and nephew at the 1900 Paris Olympics.

Los Angeles Gold - 1984

The Windglider event was the first women-only sailing event in Olympic history at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. It was also Canada's first Olympic Gold medal in sailing, won by Karen Morch.

Maiden Voyage - 1989

Tracy Edwards, a British sailor, and her crew achieved a groundbreaking milestone by becoming the first all-female team to compete in the renowned Whitbread Round the World Race, now known as The Ocean Race.

Women making a splash at the America’s Cup - 1992

Dawn Riley made history as the first female sailor to compete aboard the America 3 yacht. In 1995, she took it a giant step further by helming the first all-female team. Their debut race was truly remarkable as they defeated the four-time America’s Cup winner, Dennis Conner.

Solo Voyage - 2006

In 2006, British sailor Dee Caffari embarked on a groundbreaking solo non-stop voyage, sailing westward against prevailing winds and currents. Then, in 2009, she achieved another historic milestone by becoming the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, around the world in both directions during the Vendee Globe race.

Youngest Solo Voyager - 2010

Laura Dekker, a 15-year-old Dutch sailor, achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the youngest female sailor to sail around the world. Her epic journey spanned 16 months and took place on her 38-foot yacht named Guppy.

Promoting Gender Inclusion - 2017

In the 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race around the world, a new inclusion was made by introducing male/female ratios for each team. This allowed the top female international sailors to participate and compete alongside their male counterparts.

America’s Cup–the Women’s Edition - 2023

Moth sailing: Isabella Bertold at a Team Canada Women's America's Cup training camp in Pensacola, Florida.