SIX WOMEN SAILORS are to start the solo, around-the-world Vendee Globe 2020-21 on Sunday.As Pip Hare notes: "More men have walked on the moon than women have completed the Vendee Globe." These six skippers are the focus of our coverage – the stories of courage and daring they bring to a competition with each other and 27 male sailors.

Isabelle Joschke

I'm going to give it my everything. I'm going to give everything to the competition, but my world doesn't end there. I am not going to try to beat everyone at all costs. I want this to be beautiful. … Ocean racing is about more than competition.
Isabelle Joschke looked death in the face, and prepared her life raft.

The 2016 British Transat got off to a rough start. Two boats dropped out in the first two days, then the weather collapsed. Joschke was in a match with a British boat when her boat’s hull cracked on the port side and began shipping water. Here’s her account:

  • “I had to go on port tack, which made me head towards an area with icebergs. I entered that ice zone at night, and I was not able to leave until the next morning. I couldn't see anything in the night, the boat would not go less than 5 knots, and I was in a place where no cargo ships were passing because we were in iceberg country. I was in a no man’s land. I still see myself saying to myself: ‘There you are, there is no way out, you can't do anything more but do not stress any more about it.’
  • “I prepared my survival canister, my TPS suit, and the raft. I would never have imagined it this way. I thought I was going to be a bag of nerves but I went to sleep, feeling a bit confident. I was ready.”