Wisconsin native Sally Barkow is the newest member of Neenah-based SCA Tissue’s all-female international racing crew, an elite team of 11 women set to compete in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race.
The crew, known as “Team SCA,” will be competing in the 12th edition of the race this October. The race is a highly demanding trek across the globe that covers about 46,000 miles and is recognized as one of sailing’s “Big Three” events, along with the America’s Cup and the Olympics.
The race will begin in Alicante, Spain on October 4 and end on June 27, next year in Gothenburg, Sweden. The teams will cover a route that includes stops in Cape Town, South Africa; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Sanya, China; Auckland, New Zealand; Itajaí, Brazil; Newport, Rhode Island; Lisbon, Portugal and Lorient, France.
Barkow, 35, is from the Village of Nashotah and is the first American to join the team. In her career, she has been the 2002 Collegiate Women’s National Champion and has competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Team SCA is the only all-female team lined up to compete in this year’s race. All-female teams are a rarity in the competition, with the last all-female team competing in the 2001-02 edition of the race.
Barkow submitted an application to join the team after she first heard about it in 2012. She was then invited to come out to the team’s base in Lanzarote, Spain between late 2012 and early 2013 to try out. After being invited to train with them a second time last summer, she was finally accepted into the team in December.
Barkow will be responsible for both steering the boat and operating the sails.
The Volvo Ocean Race offers SCA the opportunity to raise the profile of the company, says Don Lewis, president of SCA in the Americas. SCA has about 930 employees in the Fox Cities and has operations in Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky, New York and Pennsylvania.
Follow the Volvo Ocean Race on Twitter @volvooceanrace.
— Sean Lyons