Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Mixed Multihull Sailor Dona Bertarelli Gives Her View on the main 2016 Olympic Sailing Changes

The D35 Ladycat's Dona Bertarelli. Image copyright Chris Schmid/eyemage.ch

by Anne Hinton (with quotations in translation by Anne Hinton)

Dona Bertarelli, sister of America's Cup winner Ernesto Bertarelli, launched her own D35 catamaran, Ladycat, in 2007, and, in 2010, helmed her boat to victory in the Société Nautique de Genève's classic Bol d'Or Mirabaud race to the other end of Lake Geneva and back, finishing first from about 600 competitors.

Ladycat's crew is predominantly female, but mixed. In view of this, we asked Dona Bertarelli her opinion on the main changes to the 2016 Olympic sailing classes, as agreed by ISAF in St Petersburg recently.

D35 Ladycat wins the Bol d'Or Mirabaud 2010. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/www.myimage.ch

"The multihull should never have been "ousted", even more so since the last America's Cup. I always found it an aberration that the multihull was taken out of the Olympic Games. Now the multihull has been put back under an obligatory mixed category which doesn't make much sense in my opinion.

"The multihull should have one series for men (that is "open", so is possible to be mixed) and a series for the women, above all due to the fad (taste) for such from the public and media.

"The objective of the Olympic Games is to have participants from many countries, and the women's match racing was hardly practicable. I believe that it is sensible that the keelboat has been replaced by a women's skiff."

The Bol d'Or winning mixed D35 catamaran crew, skippered by Dona Bertarelli. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/www.myimage.ch

"Le multicoque n'a jamais été aussi "tendance" et d'autant plus depuis la dernière Coupe de l'America. J'avais déjà trouvé une aberration que le multicoque soit enlevé des JO. Maintenant, il a été remis une série multicoque mixte obligatoire qui n'a non plus pas beaucoup de sens à mon avis.

"Le multicoque devarit avoir une série masculine (qui est "open", donc possibilité d'être mixte) et une série féminine, surtout au vu de l'engouement du public et des médias pour ce support.

"L'objectif des JO est qu'il y ait beaucoup de pays participants et, le match race féminin étant peu pratiqué, je trouve cela juste qu'il remplace le "keelboat" par un "skiff" féminin."

So, mixed multihull sailor Dona Bertarelli believes that there should be two multihull medals at the Olympics; one open and one for women. She is in favour of the introduction of the women's skiff for reasons of its wide acessibility around the world.