Towards equality

Olympic athletes and world champions Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich have founded Equal Sailing, aimed at levelling the playing field for professional opportunities.

01 November 2021


Equal Sailing is a global initiative founded by Olympic athletes and world champions Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich, aimed at inspiring an equal, competitive playing field for male and female sailors.

The project provides opportunities for some of the top female sailors from across the world to take part in expert training courses and compete in high-tier regattas aimed at developing key technical and professional skills to further their sailing careers and significantly reduce the gender gap across the world of sailing.

The career-defining opportunities that Equal Sailing provides include the chance to take part in the initiative’s own 69F Academy, where a selection of the world’s top performing female sailors (20 percent of whom are selected from among the most promising U25 Youth Sailors) can develop fundamental skills onboard the high-tech high-performance 69F, the only flying monohull besides the AC75.


69F Academy training courses last 6 days and take place prior to each Persico 69F Cup Event and will also be tied to other regattas including the Youth Foiling Gold Cup.

“I am thrilled and deeply proud to see how far we have come,” commented co-founder Giulia Conti – World and European champion, four-time Olympic athlete in three classes and US FX team coach for Tokyo 2020.

“It feels like only yesterday when Francesca and I were sat down discussing how we could try to make a difference.

“Now we already have a full roster of exceptional female sailors and two events just around the corner: the 69F Youth Foiling Gold Cup in Cagliari (Sardinia – Italy) and the 69F Foil Cup, a pro sailor event, in Sferracavallo (Palermo – Sicily). It is really exciting to be able to create opportunities and involve so many female sailors of this calibre from all over the world.”

“It is a dream come true to start this project with Giulia,” continued Francesca Clapcich – co-founder, World Champion, Olympic athlete, Ocean Race sailor and first Italian female sailor to finish the Solitaire du Figaro.

“The two of us are good friends and close teammates. We have both experienced first-hand how hard it can be to transition from being a successful dinghy sailor to developing a career in a sport we love.

“It should not be this difficult, which is why, with Equal Sailing, we want to create defining opportunities for top performing sailors looking to develop a career in professional sailing and make it easier for future generations to reach their potential. In order to do so we need partners who want to support our project and help make a difference in our sport.”

The first event for Equal Sailing will be the 69F Youth Foiling Gold Cup, scheduled to take place from 21st to 31stOctober in Cagliari. Team members will be Silvia Mas (ESP) – 2021 470W World Champion and Tokyo 2020 Olympic athlete, Paula Barcelo (ESP) – 2020 49erFX World Champion and Tokyo 2020 Olympic athlete, Sena Takano (JPN) – 49erFX Tokyo 2020 Olympic athlete and member of the JPN SailGP Team, Jana Germani (ITA) – 2021 49erFX Youth World Champion, and Eugenia Bosco (ARG) – silver medallist at the Pan Am Games in Lima 2019 (Nacra 17) and currently training for Paris 2024.

While for the 69F Foil Cup event, scheduled to take place from 10th to 12th November in Sferracavallo, Sicily, team members will include Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) – gold medallist in London 2012 (match race), twice 49erFX World Champion and team member of MAPFRE during the latest edition of the Ocean Race, and Paula Barcelo – Tamara’s 49erFX teammate.

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