30 teams set out, and only 21 finished the race. The final team took 3 weeks to arrive. Sail Like A Girl's team leader wanted to assemble an all-women crew to encourage more women to take up sailing, and to push back against stereotypes about female sailors.
They didn't know each other before meeting up last October. Their boat needed serious maintenance and refurbishment. They didn't expect to win the race. They crashed into a log on a dark, foggy night, and thought their boat might go down. They thought they were way behind, but it turned out they were in the lead. They pushed hard, and in six and a half days, reached Ketchikan to the cheers of the crowd. Looking back, they say that while it was rewarding to win, if was just as fulfilling to see what the act of plunging into the unknown had brought out in themselves.
Each woman brought a different strength to the team. They could tackle all the concerns from different angles. They also wanted to honor their "warriors," their loved ones who had been affected by breast cancer. Their names were written on their boat. It inspired them to keep persevering no matter what happened. They credit their success to their cooperative teamwork and unity. Their courage to tackle the unknown and to persevere through all the obstacles paid off. Team captain Jeanne Goussev reflected, "It was the greatest experience that I've had in my adult life of teamwork."
Congratulations to this crew and all the women and men who strive for excellence and persevere!
(I got to see these 8 awesome women in our Fourth of July Parade; 3 of the women live on the small island where I live, and we all cheered mightily as they rode by!)