State Street Marathon Sailing

Sailing Toward Gender Equity

This International Women’s Day, we celebrate our formidable sailor and gender equality advocate Francesca Clapcich, who continues to be an inspiration to other female athletes and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

March 2021

At State Street, we are dedicated to not only uplifting female voices, but also putting them at the forefront of our global equity efforts.

Francesca, a co-skipper and member of our Marathon Sailing team alongside Jesse Fielding, aims to compete in the first-ever sailing category of its kind — Doublehanded Mixed-Gender Sailing — in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Francesca is a testament to endurance, athleticism and dedication, and we are proud to stand beside her and Jesse as they race to compete in the Olympic Games.

Continuing the Fight for Gender Equity

Having been at the forefront of the international sailing community for some time, Francesca has emerged a strong leader in a male-dominated sport. In addition to fighting for gender equity, she has been an avid supporter for LGBTQ+ representation within the sailing world. “The sailing community has certainly come a long way from when I first began sailing off the coast of Italy. But we still have a lot of work to do in reaching gender equity and raising LGBTQ+ voices in the community,” says Francesca.

Dedicated to fighting for gender equity and LGBTQ+ representation in the sport, Francesca is always trying to find new ways to inspire and connect with the next generation of female sailors. “It’s still difficult for women to pursue a professional career in sailing. We need to find ways to encourage participation from this group and have the few female athletes in the sport openly talk about their experiences and how they have overcome challenges along the way to inspire participation.” said Francesca.

In addition to being an active and vocal participant in the female and LGBTQ+ sailing community, Francesca has participated in panel opportunities such as her recent conversation with US Sailing to discuss challenges for fellow sailors and how to solve them. Providing further visibility to female and LGBTQ+ sailors is an important part of her passion in serving as a role model.

Mixed-Gender Marathon Sailing and What It Means for the Olympics

A prestigious sporting event like the Olympics can help set a standard around how a sport is perceived by the global community. Being able to showcase a one-man, one-woman team in a high-endurance sport is a much-needed first step. With Doublehanded Mixed-Gender Sailing, the Olympic Games has created an international stage for gender equity.

When we teamed up with Francesca and Jesse to create our two-member sailing team on a quest to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, we sought to showcase gender equity at its best. Today, as athletes working side-by-side in a sport that requires shared endurance, Francesca’s and Jesse’s teamwork and equal participation is very evident. We will be cheering Francesca and Jesse on as they work toward bringing visibility to the sailing community’s progress in elevating female athletes and their presence in long-endurance sports at a global level.