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Female Skipper Alexia Barrier's Limosa Crew Makes Waves & History

Breaking Barriers: Alexia Barrier's All-Female Crew Shines in RORC Caribbean 600
Mod 70 Multihulls Limosa, Zoulou and USA's Argo Racing in the Caribbean
Mod 70 Multihulls Limosa, Zoulou and USA's Argo Racing in the Caribbean Photo Credit: Lanzarote Sport

March is Women's History Month and the women of Limosa - The Famous Project have already left their mark by making the15th annual Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Caribbean 600 race an historic and inspiring one. 

The RORC Caribbean 600-mile offshore yacht race which kicked off on February 19 in the warm tropical waters of Antigua, is a racing bucket list event for myriad sailors all over the world. Though feminine energy clearly permeates the sailing world with boats being referred to as "she" and "her" and frequently given female sounding names, these races and the sport itself are notoriously dominated by men.

But this year, an exciting new crew sailed into town on a boat from France called Limosa - The Famous Project, which became the first ever helmed and staffed by a majority of female sailors. Limosa -The Famous Project—more on the "Famous Project" part later—is led by skipper Alexia Barrier, a passionate and inimitable visionary working to bring the spotlight on women in racing and foster and ensure their continued inclusion and success in the sport.

Alexia Barrier Skipper of Limosa
Alexia Barrier Skipper of LimosaPhoto Credit: RORC |Arthur Daniel

Alexia is also the owner of Limosa, which is a Mod70 class multihull trimaran. The boat itself is beautiful in both design and appearance: artistic and colorful feminine faces in silhouette painted on a black sailcloth combined with an impactful logo.

Beautiful Limosa
Beautiful LimosaPhoto Credit: RORC/Alex Turnbull

Ms. Barrier recruited world class women sailors from all over the world to join her team.  They had already previously proven their merits after a very successful run at the RORC Transatlantic Race in Grenada in January - a grueling 3000 mile course that took the overall winning team - USA's Warrior Won 12 days to accomplish.

With an impressive fourth-place finish in their class and fulfilling the goal of completing it in under 8 days, Team Limosa beat out many renowned seasoned sailors, including previous race winners! Alexia became the first Mod 70 woman skipper to cross the finish line.

Team Limosa at the RORC Transatlantic Race Finish Line
Team Limosa at the RORC Transatlantic Race Finish Line Photo Credit: RORC/Arthur Daniel
USA's Warrior Won and Limosa at the RORC Transatlantic
USA's Warrior Won and Limosa at the RORC Transatlantic Photo Credit: Lanzarote Sport

Besides Barrier, the RORC Caribbean 600 team members on Limosa -The Famous Project were co-skipper Dee Caffari-- who herself is quite acclaimed having sailed the world six times and is now on the newly developed RORC Admiral's Cup 2025 Advisory Committee; Elodi-Jane Mettraux; Marie Riou; Pam Lee; Sara Hastretier; Joan Mulloy; Marie Tabarly; Arianne van de Loosdrecht; and the newest member, 21-year-old Deborah Blair, who made her Mod 70 sailing debut.

Each of these stellar sailors play an equally important role in the team's success and goals, and have the confidence to sail bow to bow with their counterparts.

Ms. Blair who hails from England, was beaming when I spoke with her at the RORC Caribbean 600 prize giving ceremony on February 23rd.  She stated that she was "thrilled" to be a part of the Limosa/Famous Project journey, describing her maiden Mod 70 experience as "very fun, very fast, and very exciting." 

There were three men who rounded out the crew: Miles Seddon (who served as team navigator), Tom Dawson and Jack Boutell.

The Limosa Crew comes in 3rd at the Caribbean 600 arriving in Antigua late at night
The Limosa Crew comes in 3rd at the Caribbean 600 arriving in Antigua late at night Photo Credit RORC/Arthur Daniel | William Simpson Photography
The crew of Limosa celebrate their Caribbean 600 finish
The crew of Limosa celebrate their Caribbean 600 finishCredit RORC/Arthur Daniel | William Simpson Photography

Barrier, who founded The Famous Project less than two years ago, and her co-skipper Dee Caffari (a former school teacher), recently held a conference in London to expand on The Famous Project, their collaborative partnership, and their plans moving forward.  

Ms. Barrier discussed her ambition to become a skipper as a pre-teen and stressed the importance for young sailors, especially young women, to persist and persevere when working towards their goals and dreams.

"I saw on TV the start of a Vendée Globe and I decided that I would do that, I would be a skipper of a Vendée Globe... I just started working out and going for it," said Barrier. "That's how it starts."

"When you go for your dreams, sometimes if you don't give up, you can catch them and realize them."

Alexia Barrier

Alexia Barrier completed her first Vendée Globe in 2020.
Limosa - The Famous Project Sailed by Alexia Barrier
Limosa - The Famous Project Sailed by Alexia BarrierCredit RORC/Arthur Daniel

Through The Famous Project Alexia Barrier has made it her mission to connect with, educate, and inspire young women to dare to achieve their goals and live their dreams. "Diversity is a very important part of this project," said Barrier.

"She saw a space where there was a void," said Caffari about Alexia. "She's actually getting kids on board to experience the sailing...we are really showing them that there is no difference, you just need to have the confidence to dream big." 

During the downtime before the start of the RORC Transatlantic and the Caribbean 600, the Limosa crew met with young local sailors, allowing them to come on board to experience and explore the boat and how it works.

Emily Gaillard, one of the sailing students from the Antigua Yacht Club (AYC) not only got to join in, but was also allowed to take the helm of Limosa and drive her! 

Gaillard 16, who has been sailing for 4 and a half years, commutes 45 minutes each way after school and on weekends, to get at least 3 weekly lessons in at the AYC.  She exuded such passion when discussing her Limosa experience and it's impact.

"When my Dad told me that I was going on the boat, and going on a practice, I was so excited." enthused Gaillard. "I went home and did a little research on the boat...at first, I didn't know what to do as I had never been on a boat with three hulls. It was a lot, but it did not take that long to understand."

"They were very nice and very welcoming." said Gaillard about the crew. "And then when Alexia said, 'come and have a go at driving', I was like, wow!" 

Limosa on the Move
Limosa on the MovePhoto Credit: RORC/Alex Turnbull

"I was checking the speed and the boat was going like 30 knots.  That was the fastest I have ever been on a boat!  We were going faster and the boat came out of the water, and it was gliding.  I don't know what words to use to explain it, said Gaillard. "It was so fun."

Miss Gaillard plans to become a marine engineer. "I want to be able to know how to both sail the boat and fix it," said Gaillard. "It will come in handy if I'm in the middle of the ocean and the engine stops working."

Obviously, Emily already has that Famous Project confidence.  Having a place like the Antigua Yacht Club and the RORC races in her backyard, as well as meeting people like Alexia Barrier and her crew, will go a long way towards allowing her to build on that and succeed.

Alexia Barrier, Deborah Blair, Emily Gaillard, and Dee Caffari
Alexia Barrier, Deborah Blair, Emily Gaillard, and Dee CaffariPhoto Credit: RORC/Tim Wright/photoaction.com

The RORC race series has become a must do event for participants and spectators alike, and gets bigger every year. Antigua's main marinas, which include Falmouth Harbour and the cutely named Cat Club Harbour, are filled with yachts and boats of all types and girths brought in from across the globe. The area is buzzing with people enjoying the energy, food, vibe, and of course, spectacular racing.  

Revelers at the RORC Caribbean 600 closing night party
Revelers at the RORC Caribbean 600 closing night partyPhoto Credit: Arthur Daniel

Congratulations to Team Limosa on a terrific Caribbean 600! The fact that they came in third among myriad powerhouse teams is definitely newsworthy! Their exact time was 1 day 10 hours and 16 minutes.  But in addition to competing at the highest level and giving it their all in a highly competitive race, they are truly inspirational - proven contenders who have secured the right to that proverbial "seat at the table". Representation matters.  

Ms. Barrier's next lofty goal is to have an all-female team bring home the Jules Verne trophy in 2025, which would be another historic feat. 

"The question is not who will let us go, but rather who will try to stop us!"

Alexia Barrier

That is what I would describe as confidence.

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