Paige races in the New Caledonia Groupama Race - Noumea June 2018

WHERE IN THE WORLD: New Caledonia, June 2018

A couple of months ago I saw an opportunity via The Magenta Project – the chance to be part of an all-female team competing on the Trimaran Ave Gitana in the 2018 Groupama Race.

IMG_1638.JPG

I jumped at the opportunity as a way to broaden my sailing knowledge, apply skills to new boats, and get to know a know bunch of amazing female sailors, and I’ve been itching at the chance to do any offshore (technically still coastal) racing for years! I didn’t think I’d be so lucky but when Sharon Ferris-Choat called me saying I was selected out of a bunch of 60 females I was stoked.

IMG_1845 (1).JPG

Ave Gitana was raced to Noumea in the Auckland to Noumea race at the beginning of June by the owner and crew from the Bay of Islands – for them handing Ave Gitana over to us for the Groupama race can’t have been an easy task. 

IMG_1158.jpg

The team was an international team with Sharon and myself from New Zealand, Val Doan from Canada, Anna from France and Jo Breen from Australia. There was a wide skill set on board and due to the big loads of the boat we really all had to work together to sail the boat competitively. I was in awe of the females on board and what they had all individually achieved. Notably Jo had just competed in the two-handed Melbourne to Osaka Race and was all over the driving with Sharon.

IMG_1922.JPG

I learnt so much on board, you could say I was literally thrown in the deep end. Sending it going 20knots and having to be up on the bow sorting for our next manoeuvre meant I was constantly getting a "Pacific Jacuzzi",  as we liked to call it, as the bow plummeted under waves.

IMG_1892.JPG

The race wasn’t without a few minor complications, some of which involved me being up the rig a few times during the race which wasn’t ideal in a rolling swell. We saw everything from 30knots plus sending it to 0knots and being becalmed. We managed to pull away with 6th on line, 2nd Multihull and 1st all-female crew – big congratulations to the Line Honors Winners Miss Scarlett from New Zealand and the 1st Multihull Rushhour from Australia. 

IMG_1869.JPG

This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing kindness of the owner Antonio who happily handed over Ave Gitana to us.  Big thanks to The Magenta project, New Caledonia Bluescope Steel, Sea Cleaners NZ, Thalassa Magenta Racing, Evolution Sails for fixing the sails toot suite, New Caledonia Groupama Race, Musto for keeping me toasty and lastly Yachting Developments for giving me the time off to compete in such an amazing event!

Check out the full gallery of my adventures below: