Dona Bertarelli, the Swiss businesswoman and co-founder of Spindrift racing, has been named as Female Sailor of the Year 2016 for the Swiss Sailing Awards. This is the second time in succession that she has won this accolade and comes in recognition of her achievements with the maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 and at the helm of the D35, Ladycat.
In 2015, Dona Bertarelli competed for the ninth year in succession in the D35 circuit as skipper and helm of Ladycat and finished with a podium place in both the D35 Trophy, as well as the prestigious Mirabaud Bol d’Or.
Also in 2015, but this time at the helm of Spindrift 2, the world’s largest offshore racing trimaran, she and the team won Rolex Fastnet Race, securing the race record. Then during winter 2015/16 Dona Bertarelli was back onboard Spindrift 2, forming part of the 14-strong crew to challenge for the Jules Verne Trophy. Skippered by her partner, Yann Guichard, they missed the record by just one day and 21 hours, but secured the third fastest time in history and the Ushant to the Equator world speed record during the attempt – Ushant to the Equator, Ushant to Cape Horn and Ushant to Tasmania. On completing the legendary 25,000-mile race, Dona Bertarelli also became the fastest woman to circumnavigate the world.
In May 2016 Dona was co-skipper of Spindrift 2 when the team competed in the Transat Quebec St-Malo. The team finished as overall winners and established a new race record of a little over six days.
In addition to Dona Bertarelli’s sporting accomplishments, in 2015 she developed the educational programme Spindrift for Schools, in order to share the Jules Verne Trophy journey with a younger audience. Some 8000 pupils in schools in France and Switzerland took part in the programme.
This year she is further developing Spindrift’s philanthropic work with young people and is currently visiting one of the new projects overseas and was therefore unable to attend the presentation at Swiss Museum of Transport in person. In a short video message that was shown at the event she paid tribute to the other female sailor nominees Maud Jayet and, in particular Justine Mettraux.
“I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have been chosen to win this award for the second time. I would like to congratulate Justine Mettraux, who sailed with me onboard Ladycat for a number of seasons. She is an incredible sailor and is as worthy to receive this award as I.
“I would also like to take a moment to thank my team, without whom I would not have been able to achieve what we have this year, and most definitively would not been able to complete the around the world.”
She also thanked her partners as well as the Société Nautique de Genève, and the Club Nautique de Versoix, both of which have supported the team for a number of years. She concluded with a brief message for Alan Roura, the only Swiss sailor competing in the Vendee Globe.
Spindrift racing’s Xavier Revil, who sailed with Dona Bertarelli during the Jules Verne Trophy and also on the D35 circuit on Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing, accepted the award on her behalf.