Adrienne Cahalan will become the first woman to take part in 25 Rolex Sydney Hobart races when she leaves Sydney Harbor on Monday, and she still remembers her first time very clearly. It was in 1984.
“I was 20 years old, and I was so excited to get a ride,” Cahalan said in a telephone interview from Sydney, Australia. “The forecast itself was horrendous. It was one of the worst years, but when you are young and fearless, that just doesn’t even register on the scale. When you are older and wiser, you see the consequences more, but you know, we were in a very safe boat, a 36-footer, and we didn’t get to Hobart until New Year’s Day, and I just remember the enormous satisfaction of crossing that line having got through all the adversity and the breakages.
“One of the things about the Hobart is that finishing the race is an enormous achievement in itself. You shouldn’t ever lose sight of that.”
Now, more women may get similar chances. The professional sailing world is increasingly focused on creating opportunities for women, with the Volvo Ocean Race having recently announced incentives to encourage female participation in its next edition.
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