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The World's Fastest Yachtswoman

The World's Fastest Yachtswoman

Spindrift Racing principal Dona Bertarelli is officially the fastest ocean racing woman on the planet after she and her team completed a blisteringly fast non-stop lap of the world over the turn of the year aboard her monster catamaran Spindrift 2.

Bertarelli with her partner and co-skipper Yann Guichard and a crew of 10 ocean racing experts plus an on board reporter completed the 28,875 nautical mile circumnavigation in 47 days 10 hours 59 minutes and two seconds, meaning they averaged a mindboggling 25 knots on their way around. 

They set five world speed records as they went, but as fast as their lap of the world was, it still wasn’t quick enough beat the Jules Verne Trophy Record set by Loick Peyron in 2012.

Here’s what Bertarelli had to tell us about the experience:

Sail Racing Magazine: You are the first woman to complete a Jules Verne Trophy challenge and now officially the fastest female round the world sailor. How does that feel? Are these things important to you and do you hope your achievements will inspire other women ocean racers?

Dona Bertarelli: It feels obviously good and above all this journey has allowed me to achieve the goals I had set for myself and for the team, which I think is more important. For this record attempt I found inspiration in other women ocean racers such as Ellen McArthur, so now if this achievement inspires any other woman to sail round the world or maybe to try hard to achieve any goal she sets herself, it would make me even happier.

SRM: Did the things you worried about most before the start of the Jules Verne Trophy attempt turn out to be the biggest challenges while you were at sea? What were the things you found the toughest during the challenge?

Dona Bertarelli: The toughest moment was the decision to go and to leave my children behind. But once the decision had been taken, that everything was set for me to go and once at sea, I took one day after the other as they would come. 
Some were easier than others but overall I have only great memories. I knew the boat and the crew well and I had full confidence in Yann Guichard our skipper. 
I never felt isolated or alone on this adventure. Through the Spindrift for Schools articles I wrote for young students in France and Switzerland, I was able to share my experience and report on...
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