Today's confirmation by Nautor Challenge that Lisa McDonald will skipper their second V.O.60 in this September's Volvo Ocean Race means that for the fourth race in succession, an all-female team will contest the world's premier ocean race.
Lisa McDonald and her crew, who are in the process of being selected, will be building on the achievements of the three previous all-female campaigns started by Tracy Edwards' and Maiden in the 1989-1990 race and continued by Dawn Riley's Heineken in 1993-1994 and Christine Guillou's EF Education in the 1997-1998 Whitbread Round the World Races. With the support of race veteran Grant Dalton, who will skipper the other Nautor Challenge entry, McDonald's team has the potential to be the most competitive yet.
"The addition of a women's team in the fleet brings a new dimension to the Volvo Ocean Race," commented Helge Alten, chief executive of the Volvo Ocean Race. "I fully believe the Nautor Challenge will help Lisa deliver a competitive campaign, not a second tier boat, to the start line and this first Volvo Ocean Race will be an eight boat contest from start to finish".
McDonald is a seasoned ocean and inshore racer. She competed in the last race aboard EF Education and has participated in the renowned Fastnet and Sydney to Hobart yacht races. She also brings vital inshore racing experience to the campaign, which is needed for the shorter tactical legs of the Volvo Ocean Race, having sailed for the America3 and America True syndicates in the 1995 and 2000 America's Cup.
"Four years ago, EF (Education) provided a foundation for our female team to learn the ways of offshore grand prix sailing. Now we are raising the game and bring the experience to Nautor Challenge with skills, strength and determination," said McDonald.
"This challenge underlines the growing prominence of women in the previously male dominated world of offshore sailing. Lisa and her team can continue to build on the accomplishments of the past women's teams in the race while aiming to emulate the success that Ellen MacArthur has proved is possible," added Helge.