By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Motherhood has cost solo round the world French woman sailor, Clarisse Cremer, her participation in next year’s Vendee Globe race.
Cremer currently holds the record for the fastest woman to sail solo around the world.
As a result of having a baby, her sponsor, Banque Populaire, has withdrawn her sponsorship for the 2024 race, despite the fact that, in February 2021, she told her sponsor, without any obligation to do so, that she was planning to start a family.
Nevertheless, she was told by the Bank that she would be sponsored for the 2024 race, but the Bank informed her on 27 January 2023 that her sponsorship was being withdrawn and that she was being replaced by someone else.
The Bank stated that she was a “risk” and “is today in a situation which does not allow her to hope to obtain the number of points necessary to qualify for the Vendee Globe 2024.”
This news has caused a stir in offshore sailing circles and also amongst French politicians, including the Minister for Equality, Isabelle Rome, and the Minister for Sport, Amelie Oudea-Castera.
The organisers of the race have stated that:
“In order to preserve the fairness of all candidates …. The Race Organisation cannot under any circumstances allow itself to change the rules when the selection process has already begun.”
However, Cremer has retorted that she is in shock because:
“…. other projects launched much more recently are still going on without an eyebrow [raised]…. [and there are] …. 2 full seasons left and 4 transatlantic [races] to get back on the level I was on.”
It would appear that Cremer is being penalised for becoming a mother and that, surely, cannot be considered to be fair play and equality, which is what sport is all about!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘