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First All-Women Crew Take On The World’s Toughest Ocean Race

The 11-strong crew will set off from Spain to compete as the first all-women team in the Volvo Ocean Race this October.

Inspiration alert! It's a never-ending juggling act – work and motherhood. But these women are sailing through – striking a balance that suits their lives.

 The team – sponsored by global hygiene brand SCA, parent company to several brands including Bodyform and TENA – includes women sailors from the UK, USA, Switzerland, the Neverlands and Australia and they’re preparing to take on the biggest challenge of their lives, being the first all-female crew to sale in the Volvo Ocean Race.  

Known as the world's toughest, the race covers 39,379 nautical miles from Spain to Sweden, but being away from family is one of the toughest challenges of all – many of the grittily determined women are married or have partners, and are mums.

M&B’s Editorial Assistant Jen joined the crew at their base camp in Lanzarote, where they have spent the past 16 months training for the challenge.

Jen takes to the waves with some of the SCA team.

Juggling her sporting ambitions and motherhood, British sailor and mum to two-year-old Ruben, Sam Davies says, ‘This is a challenging race – the most challenging – and what makes it more testing will be missing my family, in particular my son.  Thinking about him will spur me on to get into port even more quickly,’ she says.

And British-born Abby Ehler says the thought of son, also two, will spur her on to reach the various drop off points and act as her motivation during the race.  ‘Millions of people will be following the race, including my husband Tom and son, Harley,’ she says.  ‘They will be my inspiration to get to the next port, so I can see them.’

 However, having competed in the 2001-02 Volvo Ocean Race, Abby insists even nine months at sea cannot compare to the challenges of motherhood – and the pain of giving birth.

‘When I had my baby, that is the most tiring thing I've ever done,’ she says. ‘So in a way the race is quite relaxing.  When I get on the boat it's like a relief. I'm on holiday!’

Over the course of nine months the team will sail for up to three weeks at a time, stopping at ports in ten countries around the world, including Portugal, China, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil and, finally, Sweden.

What challenges have you taken on since becoming a mum and how did being a parent inspire you? Let us know in the comment box below. 

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