Gender equality in sailing: a second season with Leyton Sailing Team & The Magenta Project

  • By Natalie Ong
    • Feb 23, 2022
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Leyton x The Magenta Project : offshore formations for women sailors

Following on from the successful programme in 2021, Leyton Sailing Team and The Magenta Project have decided to continue their collaboration to provide access to multihull sailing for female sailors.

Leyton x The Magenta Project : offshore formations for women sailors
© Marin Viezzer / Leyton Sailing Team

Last season, 13 women were given the opportunity to participate in this unique experience over the course of four sessions in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the North Sea. Sam Goodchild and his team invited the female sailors to join the team for offshore sail training aboard Leyton to enable them to gain experience of racing an Ocean Fifty, a number of them have now joined crews in the Ocean Fifty circuit.

Mathilde Géron, was given the opportunity to join the team in France, Belgium and the UK.

Mathilde Géron, an offshore olympic sailor having participated to the Leyton x The Magenta Project formations

“The opportunities provided by Leyton are unique and unprecedented for female sailors. As someone with a background in dinghy sailing and not necessarily comfortable with offering my services to offshore racing teams, the experience of sailing an Ocean Fifty with Sam and the team have meant that I can now rightfully lay claim to a spot within a team as a female sailor. As a result, this season as I am part of a crew racing in the Pro Sailing Tour 2022. I’m really keen to compete in Grand Prix events and, thanks to Leyton and The Magenta Project, I’ve discovered a fantastic source of support and I have very fond memories of this experience.”

Mathilde Géron

Dominique Knüppel, a Nacra17 sailor from Uruguay, also recalls “an incredible experience”:

“I did a week’s sailing as part of the Leyton x The Magenta Project programme in 2021 and I was lucky enough to compete in a race in Portsmouth and then do a delivery trip to Scotland. That gave me a good insight into the multihull in all types of conditions, both in light airs as well as at high speed. Early last year, I could not have imagined that I’d get the opportunity to sail on this type of machine at over 30 knots! Aymeric and Sam were fantastic and I felt at ease and safe with them. They shared lots of anecdotes about sailing these boats. It really was very rewarding and formative.”

Dominique Knüppel

The 2022 programme will be made up of six sessions between April and December, with the primary aim of helping women to overcome the primary obstacle of offshore multihull sailing – a lack of opportunity to go sailing. “We will be inviting female sailors to join us during delivery trips of varying lengths in the Mediterranean and UK as well as for the return trip from Guadeloupe after the Route du Rhum,” explains Sam Goodchild, skipper of Leyton. “This will enable them to learn all about the multihull in various offshore conditions with a variety of passages.”

With up to two places available the Leyton x The Magenta Project training sessions are open to all female sailors wishing to take up offshore racing, particularly those drawn to multihull sailing. A brand-new feature for this year, a prime spot for an on-board reporter, will be up for grabs on one of the delivery trips and the selected person will be trained by one of the team’s media crew.

Registration is open via this form through until 11 March for sailing slots.
For the OBR application please use this link.


Caroline Villecroze, director of marketing, communication and CSR for Leyton group: “We were keen to extend this programme as last year’s success showed us that there was a genuine lack of opportunity for female sailors wishing to have offshore training. Gender diversity lies at the heart of Leyton group’s challenges and we’re delighted to be able to take practical steps towards achieving this by being the first mixed crew in the Pro Sailing Tour in 2021 and offering this training with The Magenta Project. Sam and the team are fully behind this programme as they know just how tough it is to carve out a niche for yourself in this discipline. We hope to be able to offer a number of female sailors another great experience this year.”

Abby Ehler, The Magenta Project : “I salute Sam Goodchild and Leyton Sailing Team for their forward-thinking objectives of exposing more women to these high-performance speed machines. It’s all about recognising the power and benefits of a diverse team by drawing on the collective skill and commitment of a broad mix of people. The results of last year’s Clinic and delivery opportunities speak volumes about them and the women who took part have benefited in so many ways from these experiences. I am extremely excited that Leyton Sailing Team will once again be offering these unique openings.”

2021 Leyton x The Magenta Project programme participants

  • Kass SCHMITT – United States
  • Cassandre BLANDIN – France
  • Pamela LEE – Ireland
  • Rosalin KUIPER – Holland
  • Cecilia ZORZI – Italy
  • Mathilde GÉRON – France
  • Sarah STONE – United States
  • Dominique KNÜPPEL – Uruguay
  • Djemila TASSIN – Belgium
  • Rebecca COLES – Scotland
  • Mariana LOBATO – Portugal
  • Elodie-Jane METTRAUX – Switzerland
  • Laurane METTRAUX – Switzerland

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