The reluctant hero


madforsailing talks to Neal McDonald about the Volvo and his plans thereafter
Britain has a new sailing hero in the making, but a more reluctant one is hard to imagine. Neal McDonald was promoted to skipper of Assa Abloy when Roy Heiner was fired in Cape Town and since then he taken the Swedish team from strength to strength, to date winning two out of the five legs of the Volvo Ocean Race against illbruck's three. But one gets the impression that back in Cape Town he was dragged kicking and screaming into the top dog role, a little like Peter Pan losing his virginity. McDonald explains his reluctance: "One of the funny things about this, as soon as you put your name on the board as skipper you close down an awful lot of opportunities. Whereas a year ago a lot of people would say "oh yeah, we'll get that McDonald bloke on, he can steer, he'd be alright, he’ll come and help us out" a lot of people will now go, "well he's a skipper, he's not going to do as he's told". So you do close down a lot of opportunities which is why in the past I haven't stuck my neck out too hard to search out those particular roles". What is ironic about this is that McDonald is one of the most modest people in the world of professional sailing, while at the same time being one of the most talented and capable. Grant Dalton commented some time before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race that McDonald was worth two average mortal crewmen. His sailing CV is impressive as it is diverse. In the late 1980s he was part of the British Olympic squad and put in a creditable sixth in the Flying Dutchman at Seoul. He moved into International 14s and won the USA and

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