Francesca Clapcich to Lead Groundbreaking Initiative in Offshore Sailing

Francesca Clapcich, a distinguished two-time Olympian and the sole Italian victor of the Ocean Race, is set to spearhead a project launched by MerConcept, a renowned French entity deeply entrenched in offshore racing ventures.

Dubbed “UpWind by MerConcept,” this ambitious endeavor will see Clapcich take the helm of a new racing program aimed at providing female sailors with opportunities to excel at the highest echelons of the sport.

Teaming up with founding partner 11th Hour Racing, the initiative’s maiden voyage will span the next two years, navigating the Ocean Fifty offshore trimaran circuit through a series of multi-event competitions, including a challenging west-to-east transatlantic race. Under the mentorship of seasoned industry veterans and technical shore teams, the program aims to set a new standard in offshore sailing, championing diversity, inclusion and sustainable excellence.

Embracing the vision espoused by François Gabart, Vendée Globe winner and MerConcept’s founder, Clapcich underscores the pivotal role of diverse talent in maximizing team performance.

Clapcich says, “Teams reach their pinnacle when they embrace diverse talent. Encouraging the development of skilled female sailors with offshore multi-hull expertise is a pivotal step towards ensuring future endeavors, such as the Jules Verne Trophy, feature mixed-gender crews.”

In a bid to assemble a truly global and versatile team, the program invites applications from female sailors worldwide, spanning diverse disciplines of the sport, from inshore and offshore racing to match-racing and Olympic competitions. A rigorous selection process will culminate in a shortlist of 12 candidates converging in France for an intensive week-long evaluation, from which a squad of six female sailors will be chosen to form a performance crew, supported by a dedicated delivery and training team.

Applications are open for aspiring female sailors, with a deadline of March 24. Clapcich encourages interested individuals to seize this unique opportunity and extend the invitation to potential candidates within their networks.

For those unfamiliar with MerConcept, the organization has orchestrated offshore sailing campaigns for esteemed figures such as Gabart, Charlie Dalin and Tom Laperche. Located in Concarneau, France, MerConcept boasts a formidable team of over 100 experts renowned for their expertise in boat design, construction and performance racing. The organization also seeks to be at the vanguard of sustainable innovation, leveraging its laboratory to push the boundaries of technology and minimize the sport’s ecological footprint.

Italian by birth and currently residing in Park City, Utah, alongside her wife Sally Barkow and their daughter, Clapcich remains actively engaged in advocacy efforts as a board member of the Park City Task Force. Beyond her sailing pursuits, she champions LGBTQ+ rights, spearheading initiatives aimed at fostering inclusivity and expanding access to support resources, sports and outdoor activities within the community.

Share This:


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *