23 May 2024

Out and About: Dr Dianne McGrath Hosts a Seattle Panel on Women in the Sailing Industry

New Blog Images

Leg 6 of the Clipper 2023-24 Round the World Yacht Race came to a thrilling end with a tight-knit race that saw our dynamic sailors race through everything from big storms with massive waves that threw them around like toys to pristine sailing conditions with fine days and little to no wind holes. 

The eventual winner was Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam who received a hero’s welcome into sunny Seattle. After 26 days at sea, crews from all the race teams were relieved to see the Seattle skyline as they sliced through the water into Elliott Bay, with sailing enthusiasts and loved ones alike, lining the marina walls while waving homemade flags with local craft beers on ice ready to serve.

Part of this exciting global race on water also involves networking events at each of the stops, called the Clipper Connect Business Series. For the stop in Seattle, our very own Dr. Dianne McGrath was asked to host.


Connecting Like-Minded Folks

Clipper Connect runs at each of the 15 stops on the 40,000 nautical mile race’s global circuit. These stops range from the Whitsundays in Australia to Qingdao in China, Punta Del EsteIt in Uruguay and Portsmouth in the UK. Creating networking opportunities for thousands of like-minded professionals around the world, these events cover topics ranging from sustainability to business insights.


Key Takeaways from the Seattle Panel

The Seattle event highlighted the invaluable role of women in the marine and sailing industry. Led by Dr. Dianne McGrath, she was joined by esteemed panelists including Clipper Race Skipper Ineke van der Weijden and SENA Marketing Strategist Lex Albrecht, and two other panelists from local marine organisations. The conversation explored issues like visibility for women in these industries along with the importance of building inclusive environments, both on the high seas and in our day-to-day workplaces. 

“Seattle and its eclectic communities are world-renowned for their inclusivity when it comes to gender equality and environmental action. So it’s fitting that in this edition, we are looking at women in sailing as a sport and within the marine industry.” said Dianne as she kicked off the event.

The event underscored the mantra “visibility is viability,” encapsulating the essence of empowering women in traditionally male-dominated sectors. Discussions ranged from the benefits of early exposure and mentorship programs to the role of inclusive leadership and collaboration in driving industry-wide change. Everyone agreed that it was important to create fun, inspiring and authentic opportunities to reach young people from a range of backgrounds.

Attendees left with a resounding takeaway: by increasing visibility and fostering collaboration, the marine industry can not only diversify its workforce but also create a more vibrant and inclusive environment for all. All in all, it was a great panel discussion that finished with a networking session for attendees to forge new connections and continue discussing the issues highlighted.


What’s the Latest with the Clipper Round the World Race?

The Clipper Round the World Race sees 11 teams battle extreme conditions racing identical modern 70 foot race yachts over 40,000 nautical miles around the globe for 11 months. Leaving the UK at the end of their 2023 summer season, the race sees our brave sailors travering 6 ocean crossings and reaching every continent! (except for Antarctica).

  • Leg 1: UK to South America. 33 days at sea. Sept-Oct 2023
  • Leg 2: South America to South Africa. 18 days at sea. Oct 2023.
  • Leg 3: South Africa to West Australia. 23 days at sea. Nov-Dec 2023.
  • Leg 4: West Australia to East Australia. 20 days at sea. Dec 2023-Jan 2024.
  • Leg 5: East Australia to Zhuhai, China. 34 days at sea. Jan-Feb 2024.
  • Leg 6: Zhuhai, China to Qingdao, China to West Coast, USA. 37 days at sea. Mar-Apr 2024.
  • Leg 7: West Coast, USA to Panama to East Coast, USA. 38 days at sea. May-June 2024.
  • Leg 8: East Coast, USA to UK. 22 days at sea. Jun-Jul 2024.

With Leg 7 underway now, Dr Dianne McGrath and the rest of the sailors are well and truly reaching the tail end of their extraordinary journey. So let’s all raise our glasses to Dianne for being willing to step outside her comfort zone and take on this new challenge head-on. 


Our Adventurous, Passionate Advocate

Of course, Dianne is no stranger to stepping outside her comfort zone. She is just 1 of 7 Australians to make the final 100 candidates for the Mars One project. Before it was canned, the project would see her take a one-way journey to the red planet and never come back. She’s now doing the next best thing by circumnavigating the Earth, spending up to 38 days at a time at sea. At the same time, she’s used the adventure as an opportunity to continue advocating for a more sustainable future.

“About nine billion tonnes of plastic have been produced since the 1950s, with 5-13 million tonnes of it estimated to end up in the oceans every year. Plastic waste is now found in every region of the world, particularly in the oceans. Our mismanagement of plastic is having impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, human health, and the climate. We need to protect our oceans to protect our future,” said Dianne.

With a lifelong passion for promoting environmental sustainability, Dianne, who holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering and Graduate Diplomas in Sustainable Practice and Environmental Management, is keenly aware of the harm our overuse and mismanagement of plastic is doing to our planet. The mooring lines on the yacht she’s using to compete in the race uses fully recycled and recyclable Marlow Ropes. It’s one of the ways she’s combined her adventurous passion with the promotion of sustainability while participating in this jaw-dropping race.


Book Dr Dianne McGrath for Your Event

Dr Dianne McGrath is due to return to Australia in August 2024. A passionate advocate of sustainability, Dianne is using her journey circumnavigating the world to share stories aimed at securing a more sustainable future for humanity. Upon her return, she’ll no doubt have even more exciting new stories and insights to share for audiences at events across Australia. 

Call 1800 334 625 to book Dr Dianne McGrath for your next event.

Learn more about Dr.Dianne McGrath


Back to Articles