Hannah Mills

Hannah Mills at the helm of the Athena Pathway AC40 during the build-up to the America's Cup. Pic: Athena Pathway

Another Landmark Voyage For Welsh Legend Hannah Mills

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By David Williams

Hannah Mills believes she will sail past another milestone when she leads the British team in the inaugural Puig Women’s America’s Cup in October in Barcelona.

The Welsh Olympic legend – the most-decorated female sailor in Olympic history – will captain the British boat and be reunited with Saskia Clark eight years after they won a gold medal together in the 470 class in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

They also won a silver medal in the 2012 London Games.

The Athena Pathway AC40 foiling monohull. Pic: Athena Pathway

The Women’s America’s Cup and Youth America’s Cup will take place alongside the 37th America’s Cup.

Mills and Sir Ben Ainslie, the most-decorated sailor in Olympic history with four gold medals and one silver, have announced the teams that were selected through the Athena Pathway, which they launched in August 2022 to fast-track development in high-performance sailing and bring diversity into the sport and the UK marine industry.

The 12-member team was picked from more than 300 applicants.

“It’s an incredible milestone for our sport,” Mills said.

“These athletes represent a new era of inclusivity and excellence in competitive sailing.

Wales’ Hannah Mills Insists Leading Team GB Will Be Her Greatest Honour

“The whole basis for setting up the Athena Pathway was all about providing more opportunity and access to the sport, whether it’s high performance in the Americas Cup or shoreside roles, engineering, boat building, sail making, anything around it.

“It’s particularly for females but it’s also for the next generation as well.

“With a lot of boats, there are roles that aren’t purely physical which immediately opens up the opportunity for mixed sailing.

“For me, mixed sport is such a powerful message to send out to young people in particular. Seeing men and women sailing together on an equal footing – I think that is really powerful.

“The Women’s America’s Cup will be the first one ever in history and those type of events are so inspirational. If I was a young girl looking, I’d be like ‘wow, things are changing, opportunities are coming.”

Racing in the women’s and youth America’s Cup regattas will be in AC40 foiling monohulls, which are roughly half the size of the foiling boats that will be used in the America’s Cup itself.

Overall, Mills won two Olympic gold medals and one silver. Clark won one gold and one silver.

“Hannah and I had a great Olympic career together and I’m looking forward to reuniting, taking all the learnings from our Olympic experiences and applying them into a broader team environment in a new class of boat,” Clark said.

Mills also competes on the British SailGP team co-owned by Ainslie.

He recently stepped down as skipper of the SailGP team but remains as CEO to focus on his duties as skipper and CEO of INEOS Britannia, one of five challengers that will compete for the right to face Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup.

Also selected is Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Anna Burnet, who will represent Team GB again at the Paris Games later this year.

Ellie Aldridge, Saskia Tidey and Freya Black will also compete in the Paris Olympics and the Youth & Women’s America’s Cup competitions afterwards.

The final Athena Pathway picks are Nick Robins, Hannah Diamond, Matt Beck, Alex Hughes, James Grummett and Hattie Rogers.

All wales sports

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