Kiwi female sailing duo inspired to keep breaking barriers on the water

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While America's Cup fever may be dying down, that doesn't mean rest for many of our other elite sailors who are preparing for World Championship events as they begin the next four year cycle towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech believe there could be opportunities soon for women in the America’s Cup.
Source: 1 NEWS

From Auckland's Milford Beach on a brisk winter day, Tokyo 2020 seems a long way away - but after a break, Molly Meech and Alex Maloney are ready to chase Olympic gold.

"I've almost been pleasantly surprised how fun and inspiring it's been being back," Maloney said.

Part of that inspiration came from watching Team New Zealand bring the America's Cup home from Bermuda.

Four of Meech and Maloney's Olympic teammates were part of the crew including Alex's brother Andy.

Meech admitted the men's transition to professional sailing compared to the women's path is a lot easier.

"It's definitely something you aspire to in the future but I think some things have to change before girls can get involved."

There are organisations trying to improve things - following an all-female entry in the last Volvo Ocean Race the Magenta Project was born.

The initiative helped give both Meech and Maloney a taste of catamaran sailing at a world match racing tour event earlier this year - an experience Meech said was a learning curve.

"I think it really highlighted a bit of the strength aspect between boys and girls," she said.

"[It] made me feel a wee bit weak so might have to hit the gym a little bit more!"

Strength can be a problem for female sailors, but with evolving technology and other requirements on bigger boats, the pair of Olympic silver medallists hope there will be more equality in the future.

There's been talk of a quota at the America's Cup and the Volvo Race already has a rule that encourages female crew.

"I think if we prove ourselves as a really dominant team and as really good sailors, I think mini opportunities may open," Maloney said.

A golden result in Tokyo is therefore part of that plan - a plan that will have its first test at next month's 49er World Championships. 

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