Class 40 to be skippered by female duo in this year's Transat Jacques Vabre 1/10/07

Pindar have today announced that Jo Royle and Alexia Barrier will skipper Class 40 yacht Pindar 40 in this year’s Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) transatlantic race. Over 40 boats have been entered in the Class 40 fleet which will race from France to Brazil starting on 3 November, Royle and Barrier being the sole female duo.

Royle, 27, from Lancashire, UK, is one of the few sailors to have circumnavigated South Georgia in the Southern Ocean, as well as sailing as far north as Iceland, and as far south as Antarctica. Having learnt to sail at an early age, Royle has a broad racing background and has competed on the Mini Transat circuit as well as having worked as a corporate skipper and as Vendee Globe shore crew. Royal has a passion for environmental work and has led many research-based sailing expeditions. Through her sailing, she aims to continue her environmental campaigning, by promoting pressing environmental matters.

Barrier, 27, from Paris, France, joins Jo aboard Pindar 40 having competing together earlier this year in ‘The Route De Elissa’, the only all female offshore race in Europe. Barrier, who also sails regularly with Sam Davies aboard Open 60 Roxy, is an accomplished offshore sailor with a background in racing on the Mini Transat and Figaro circuits, as well as being a World Champion match racing sailor and having sailed aboard ORMA 60 ft trimarans.

Pindar 40, previously known as Group V, chartered from journalist and Vendee Globe veteran Patrice Carpentier, is the second entry in the 2007 edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre race to be sponsored by print and electronic media company Pindar. It was announced last week that Pindar’s brand new Open 60 will be skippered by Briton Brian Thompson and Australian Will Oxley. Jo and Alexia last week successfully completed their 1,000-mile qualifying sail in strong winds in the north-eastern Atlantic and English Channel.

Royle, Pindar 40 skipper commented: “Alexia and I are very excited to be racing in the TJV Class 40, the biggest fleet the race has ever seen, next month. I have been working with Pindar aboard the Volvo 60 for almost six months now, and am delighted that we are able to enter a Class 40 as well as an Open 60 in this infamous double-handed transatlantic race. Competing in offshore short-handed races has been a dream of mine for some time, and the opportunity to do so surrounded by such an experienced team, allowing us to learn from the best, is brilliant. We have a great boat and can’t wait to cross the start line.”

Andrew Pindar, Chairman of the Pindar Group added: “Jo and Alexia make a formidable team and we are delighted to support the only female duo in the TJV’s Class 40 fleet this year. The Transat Jacques Vabre is a fantastic race, an environment in which the girls will have the opportunity to really stretch their legs. Pindar are very pleased to have two promising entries in Brian Thompson and Will Oxley aboard the Open 60, and Jo and Alexia in the Class 40, under the Team Pindar banner.”

The 2007 Transat Jacques Vabre Race starts on the 3 November from Le Havre, France, and the Class 40 fleet will finish in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, approximately two and a half weeks later. Pindar 40 will be the fifth yacht sponsored by Pindar to enter the TJV, having previously raced boats in the 1999, 2001 and 2003 editions of the race.