Time running out for all-female Volvo challenge

But Lisa McDonald is still working furiously to make the start line this September

Thursday January 11th 2001, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
The deadline to build her own boat for the Volvo Ocean Race has now passed, but Lisa McDonald has not given up hope of competing in the round-the-world race this September with an all-female crew.
Team Waterfront, the campaign being fronted by McDonald and Katie Pettibone, is hoping it can purchase one of the second boats being worked up by some of the more wealthy Volvo challengers like the German entry illbruck.

McDonald told madforsailing she was hoping to pull some sponsorship out of the bag in the next two months. "Dawn Riley is working on funding for a mixed team, and she has been in touch with us. But we are holding out for our own challenge, and keeping the momentum going that we have built up over the past year," she said.

"It’s a good time for women’s sailing. Ellen is setting a great example and showing what can be achieved. The same goes for Emma Richards and Miranda Merron, so it’s important we make the most of things now as the situation may not be the same a few years from now."

McDonald estimates she and Pettibone have seen almost 300 global companies for sponsorship. "We have had some very good responses, but for many of them we just approached them too late. Katie and I only finished with our America’s Cup commitments in March last year, and we stepped our plans for this campaign in April. Soon we will have to decide whether to put aside our plans for this race and work on a five-year plan for the next Volvo Race."

Meanwhile, McDonald is tracking the progress of Club Med, as her husband Neal and the rest of the crew battle their way past the Equator towards the Southern Ocean. "I sailed with Tracy Edwards in the build-up to her Jules Verne attempt on Royal Sun Alliance, the old Enza. Looking at Team Legato and Warta Polpharma now, they seem like toys compared with the new generation of cats. They’re just so much faster and more powerful.

"I was fortunate enough to sail aboard Club Med before it departed, and it was fantastic. You can feel the acceleration as the boat hits the groove, but it's not easy to keep it there. That's why they've got almost twice as many coffee grinders as the old style of boats like Enza - because it takes a lot of trimming to find the optimum speed."

But even McDonald cannot afford too much time watching progress in The Race. She has her own race against time to secure funding for her round-the-world venture.

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