(Reuters) - The skipper of one of the top teams in the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race believes he has strengthened his crew by taking advantage of a rule change designed to make it easier for women to compete.
French skipper Charles Caudrelier, who will lead the fancied Chinese Dongfeng team in the race, which starts in October, said on Thursday that he had signed top competitors Carolijn Brouwer, of the Netherlands, and France's Marie Riou.
Brouwer was part of the all-female Team SCA in the last edition of the race, but it is rare for women to sail alongside men in one of the teams that are favourites for the title.
Following a rule change last year, designed to remove the "glass ceiling", all-male crews are now limited to seven sailors, while mixed or female teams can have more.
"I chose Carolijn Brouwer because she beat us many times when she was at the helm for SCA in the last race,” said Caudrelier. "They are both exceptional sailors."
The 46,000-nautical miles race will start from Alicante on Oct. 22 and finish in The Hague at the end of June 2018.
(Reporting by Neville Dalton; Editing by Toby Davis)