Top navigator, racing sailor and weather forecaster Libby Greenhalgh is given prestigious annual award


Leading weather forecaster and racing sailor Libby Greenhalgh was awarded the Ladies Day Trophy yesterday at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. The annual award, a highlight of Liz Earle Ladies Day, is made to recognise the achievements of women sailors, who make up around 40 per cent of all participants in the UK’s largest sailing regatta.

Most recently navigator on the all-women Volvo Ocean Race entry Team SCA, Greenhalgh has a long career in sailing and meteorology, and twice won the VOR’s navigator prize, chosen by her peers. She began sailing as a youngster and was on the youth sailing team, campaigning a 470, before training as a meteorologist and working for a time with the Met Office.

She has been the British Olympic team’s meteorologist for two Olympic Games. But when she joined Team SCA she had rarely sailed offshore. Her crowning moment in the VOR was winning leg 8 and proving how much the crew had improved and demonstrating their full potential.

During Cowes Week, she has been racing on her father’s J/92 , J’ronimo.

She won against other nominees including Annie Lush, fellow crewmember on Team SCA, Dragon sailor Julia Bailey, who has been on the podium at Cowes Week every year for the last seven years. She has twice won the Dragon class’s prestigious Edinburgh Cup, becoming the first woman to claim it in its 67-year history. She also has a stellar track record in the Etchells class, in which she has become the most successful female sailor ever.

Another nominee was Lizzy Foreman, a former member of the British keelboat academy first mate on a  Clipper yacht and now forging a career in shorthanded and solo offshore racing. She begins her first Mini Transat race, one of the hardest events in solo ocean racing, on 19 September.

Steph Bridges was also nominated. The champion kitesurfer this week set a record for kitesurfing round the Isle of Wight with her son Guy (Guy, who is aged 15, just beat her, finishing in 3h 34m). She is five times world champion and her three sons, Olly, Guy and Tom, are all kitesurfing champions as well.