Sister's challenge

We speak to Karine Fauconnier about her new Lady Cat team with Dona Bertarelli Späth
After an intense period campaigning in the Figaro class then skippering the 60ft trimaran Sergio Tacchini, in which she won the 2004 Quebec St Malo race, France's top female offshore sailor, Karine Fauconnier, has dropped off the radar. She surfaced briefly to compete in the Oryx Quest with Brian Thompson's winning team, but since then has returned to obscurity in Brittany...until now. "In April 2006 I had Gaia, she is one year old now," explains Fauconnier, 34, of her recent low profile. Her other half is Jacques Guichard, a sailmaker at North France and younger brother of French Olympic Tornado sailor Yann. "I am getting back into business now. It is nice to start again on these boats and tell everyone I’m still sailing. When you are a girl and you have a baby, people think it is ‘Game Over’. I wanted to come back earlier, but sponsors - it’s not an easy business in France now." Part of the problem is that if you are in Fauconnier's situation and are trying to find money - what do you offer a sponsor? The wheels have all but fallen off the ORMA 60ft trimaran class that is Fauconnier's first passion. "I am waiting to see what is going on with the multihulls," she says. "There is also Russell Coutts’ catamarans [the World Sailing League], there are the IMOCA boats too that are getting bigger now, but I think that is going to get like the ORMA - it is going to cost too much money. So I am waiting for things to settle down so that I can really propose something long term. You can’t sell anything to a sponsor if you’re not sure about it." In the unregulated world of the ORMA trimarans, budgets have become astronomic (relative to what they were)