The Famous Project team are aiming to become the first all-women crew to win the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the world in any type of yacht without outside assistance

25 years after Tracy Edwards and her Royal & Sun Alliance team attempted to become the first all-female crew to win the Jules Verne Trophy, a new attempt has been announced

French Vendée Globe skipper Alexia Barrier has unveiled The Famous Project, which brings together the best female professional sailors from around the world.

The Famous Project will be racing the 100-foot Ultime trimaran IDEC Sport during their Jules Verne Trophy attempt

The Famous Project will be racing the 100-foot Ultime trimaran IDEC Sport during their Jules Verne Trophy attempt in October 2025

The c0-skipper is Dee Caffari, the only woman to have sailed solo non-stop around the world in both directions.

They are training alongside:

  • Helena Darvelid (SWE), 12 world speed sailing records
  • Sara Hastreiter (USA), round the world sailor and mountain adventurer
  • Elodie Jane Mettraux (SUI), leading multihull specialist
  • Joan Mulloy (IRL), offshore solo specialist
  • Marie Riou (FRA), The Ocean Race winner
  • Marie Tabarly (FRA), skipper of Pen Duick VI

The three year campaign and record attempt is being backed by CIC and IDEC.

The Famous Project will be running a two-boat campaign.

The former Spindrift MOD70 – renamed Limosa – will be the training and selection platform; the Jules Verne Trophy attempt in October 2025 will be on the 100-foot Ultime trimaran IDEC Sport.

Francis Joyon and his crew in 2017 are the current holders of the Jules Verne Trophy Record, having successfully race IDEC Sport around the world in 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes and 30 seconds.

“We want to make the women of the planet ‘Famous’! We want to shine a light on those who dare and to inspire others to realise their dreams and ambitions,” explained Barrier.

Alexia Barrier has raced across the Atlantic 18 times.

Alexia Barrier has raced across the Atlantic 18 times. Credit: Robin Christol

“Over the next three years, the Famous Project will highlight inspiring projects, both large and small. Ultimately we not only want to be the first ever all-female team to complete the Jules Verne Trophy route, we want to break the record at the same time.”

Caffari, who has has circumnavigated the world six times, believes the project will “break down barriers.”

“It will be the pinnacle of my career, a special record that few people have achieved or even attempted before. It’s a great sporting challenge, but the project in itself is so much bigger. This is about creating an impact for women all around the world,” she added.

The Famous Project crew will be supported by team director Jonny Malbon (GBR), who has prepared yachts for Brian Thompson, Ellen MacArthur, Dee Caffari and Mike Golding, and worked with Chay Blyth on the BT Global Challenge; he oversaw crew training.

Brian Thompson (GBR), who in 2012 won the Jules Verne Trophy as helmsman and trimmer for Loïck Peyron, on the maxi-multihull Banque Populaire V,  Sidney Gavignet (FRA), and Alex Pella (ESP), who was part of Francis Joyon’s Jules Verne Trophy crew in 2017 will also be part of the coaching team.

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To create a lasting impact, Barrier and her crew will develop education and scientific programmes around ocean health.

“The Famous Project is more than attempting to set the Trophy Jules Verne record,” commented Barrier.

“Over the coming months we will unveil the scientific program we will be undertaking with our partner, UNESCO, as well as a global educational program, which will bring to life the importance of ocean health for school children. The Famous Project will leave an impact for many years to come.”

Tracy Edwards’ Jules Verne Trophy record attempt

Tracy Edwards is so far the only skipper to lead an all-female team in a Jules Verne Trophy attempt.

Ellen MacArthur skippered an attempt in 2003, but she was the only female member of the crew; her 110ft maxi catamaran Kingfisher2 was later dismasted 110 miles south-east of the Kerguelen Islands in the southern Indian Ocean.

Edwards’ crew for the record attempt were: Sam Davies, Emma Richards, Sharon Ferris, Helena Darvelid, Miki von Koskull, Adrienne Cahalan, Emma Westmacott, Hannah Harwood, Miranda Merron and Frédérique Brulé.

Their 100m catamaran, Royal & Sun Alliance had solid record-breaking credentials – it was previously called Enza New Zealand and had been sailed non-stop around the world in 1994 by Sir Peter Blake and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in 74 days, 22 hours, 17 minutes and 22 seconds.

The crew of the Jules Verne Trophy team Royal & Sun Alliance

The naming of Royal & Sun Alliance by Sir Christopher Benson of Royal Sun & Alliance and Pete Goss at the Ocean Village in Southampton. Credit: Getty

During their two year campaign, Edwards and her Royal & Sun Alliance team broke seven world records, including the 138-mile Channel Record, which they sailed in 6 hours 49 minutes and 19 seconds, averaging 22.7 knots; Steve Fossett broke it by 27 minutes in 2001 on his 125ft maxi catamaran, PlayStation.

Royal & Sun Alliance crossed the start line at Ushant, north-west France on 3 February 1998, with the aim of circumnavigating non-stop and without outside assistance in less than 71 days 14 hours 22 minutes 08 seconds

Initially, the team made good progress, and were well on course for the record, but the maxi catamaran was dismasted by a rogue wave 2,000 miles from Cape Horn on 18 March 1998 in 40ft seas and 30-50 knot winds.

At the time, Tracy Edwards said: “We are disappointed beyond belief as we were so close to getting to Cape Horn in such good time against the record. Words cannot describe how we feel at the moment although the girls are once again pulling on their reserves of strength to get through this.”

24 hours before the dismasting, the boat had sailed 350 miles, and had averaged 435 miles a day over the last 9 days.

Edwards and her crew set up a jury rig, and sailed 2,000 miles unassisted to Puerto Montt in Chile.

Jules Verne Trophy holders

2017 – Francis Joyon / IDEC SPORT (31.5m) – 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes 30 seconds (3 attempts) current record holder
2012 – Loïck Peyron / Banque Populaire V (40m) – 45 days 13 hours 42 minutes 53 seconds
2010 – Franck Cammas / Groupama 3 (31.5m) – 48 days 07 hours 44 minutes 52 seconds (4 attempts)
2005 – Bruno Peyron / Orange II (36.8m) – 50 days 16 hours 20 minutes 04 seconds (6 attempts)
2004 – Olivier De Kersauson / Geronimo (33.8m) – 63 days 13 hours 59 minutes 46 seconds
2002 – Bruno Peyron / Orange (32.8m) – 64 days 08 hours 37 minutes 24 seconds
1997 – Olivier De Kersauson / Sport-Elec (27.3m) – 71 days 14 hours 22 minutes 08 seconds (5 attempts)
1994 – Peter Blake, Robin Knox-Johnston / Enza New Zealand (28m) – 74 days 22 hours 17 minutes 22 seconds (2 attempts)
1993 – Bruno Peyron / Commodore Explorer (28m) – 79 days 06 hours 15 minutes 56 seconds

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