Next year, the Copa América that Barcelona will host will present a novelty that will go down in history: for the first time there will be a women’s competition in which 12 boats will participate. Among them is the Spanish crew Sail Team BCN. This will be the first step towards the full integration of female sailors, without distinction of sex, in the oldest competition in the world, born in 1851.
«Women have never been excluded from competing in the Copa América, but due to lots of reasons they have never been able to do so. The boats are difficult to handle and this requires strong people, but, despite this, it is incredible that the tournament has never been held with the participation of women,” he says. Leslie Ryandirector of the 37th edition of this tournament, which will be held from August 22 to October 30, 2024.
«Everything related to this edition is more open and that makes this the ideal time to incorporate this novelty. “I have been involved in the world of sports for more than 30 years, interest in women’s sports is growing a lot, especially women’s football, and that is why I also believe that it is the most opportune time to take this step forward,” insists Ryan. .
Elise Beavis, world champion in the WASZP class in 2022, development engineer and responsible for the selection of the women’s boat of Emirates Team New Zealand, dares to go further: «The way I see it, this can be a path for the sailors make their way to the traditional America’s Cup. Sailors can find their way through their physical strength, but women, as a matter of course, have not had that opportunity. “What it is about is ensuring that they can access roles in which strength is not decisive.”
Beavis explains that in the 2021 youth America’s Cup, which was not held due to the pandemic, it was already decided that there would be two boys and two girls on the boats. «There are different ways to be efficient in creating the necessary force for boats, there are more and more innovations and this sport is increasingly open. To move the rudder you don’t have to be very strong, there is no difference whether a man or a woman does it. This America’s Cup will pave the way, since in the future women will also have the opportunity to handle the most complicated boats and continue progressing. The future will be very different,” highlights Ryan.