Ladycat in search of the ultimate Bol d'Or
  • Ladycat
June 7, 2018

On June 9th at 10am, the 80th edition of the Bol d'Or Mirabaud, the world's largest regatta in enclosed waters, will start. This anniversary edition marks Dona Bertarelli’s twelfth presence at the event, and she and her crew on the multihull Ladycat, hope to win the event and, in so doing retain the mythical Swiss trophy in perpetuity. A third victory in five years would allow them to win the Bol d'Or Challenge, which to date has only been won by three teams.

Dona Bertarelli has, once again, surrounded herself with a trusted team to be able to best manage the unpredictable winds of Lake Geneva, onboard her beloved multihull, Ladycat. One of a small number of female skippers to have won the event (including Riquette Thévand in 1944) Dona Bertarelli will be accompanied by Yann Guichard, Jacques Guichard, Xavier Revil, François Morvan and Christophe Espagnon. This team of regular and faithful sailors are the backbone of the Spindrift racing team, and have raced countless miles together both inshore, and around the globe. So much so that they work together like clockwork and it is hoped that this teamwork will make the difference at the Bol d'Or Mirabaud.

"On a race like this, that is so difficult, teamwork is key. We know that the teams that are the most consistent in their results are often those where the crews have been sailing together for several years. At Spindrift, it's the same - we have people who have been with us for a number of years and it is a pleasure to be able to sail with them again,” commented Dona Bertarelli.

Yann Guichard added, "You do not win a Bol d'Or alone. With this event anything can happen, so we have to weight the odds on our side, with a boat with the potential to win and an incredible crew. A strong, united and experienced team."

It is therefore a team of experts who will start Saturday’s 66.5 nautical mile loop between Geneva and the Bouveret, to try and secure a third victory in five years. A challenge with a particular flavour that adds, according to Dona Bertarelli, "a little extra pressure" to this annual Swiss event. "Aiming for a win this year and trying to win the trophy for life has a little taste of ultimatum. The Bol d'Or is an extremely difficult race. Great sailors have come and participated without securing a victory. In this race anything can happen. It's not just a matter of the boat, the team or the wind -it’s the whole package.” It is also difficult to have a weather preference as this completely changes the racing conditions - whether it is light or more consistent airs.

"A Bol d’Or sailed in strong winds seems almost more ‘honest’ when you are battling against other teams. There are fewer surprises, and luck has less of a chance of coming into play. It is the crew that is measured against another - it is pure competition. If it is a light winds edition, the results will be more random, but equally this will require more concentration, physical effort, as well as a bit of luck."

The team is already on site, waiting to hear the latest weather forecast for the weekend and checking the range of conditions on Lake Geneva where the winds evolve with the rhythm of the seasons and the day.

Ladycat crew for the Bol d’Or Mirabaud:

Dona Bertarelli (skipper)
Yann Guichard
Xavier Revil
Jacques Guichard
François Morvan
Christophe Espagnon

Boat Captain : Philippe Echassoux