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Wetass Women I: Wrong-Way Wahines…

October 25, 2005

It’s one of the last good “firsts” left. Woman. Solo. Wrong way (westabout) circumnavigation. Non-stop. Nope. It’s never been done, and that is enough to tempt not one, not two, but three women into the boats. First up will be Brit Global Challenge skipper Dee Caffari, sailing her 72-foot Global Challenge yacht (yes, it’s been modified). She sets off on November 20, and you can follow the action at her site here. Also in the hunt is another Brit, former ocean rower Debra Searle (who is also a Global Challenge alum). Searle (website here) plans to leave next year in a modified Volvo Ocean 60 (former NewsCorp). She’s got big backing from Pindar, and Ellen MacArthur’s Offshore Challenges will be managing the project. And last but not least, we have TWC favorite, Frenchwoman Mad Maud Fontenoy, also a converted ocean rower. It’s not clear when Fontenoy plans to set out, but she has a good ride, current record-holder Jean Luc Van Den Heede’s Adrien. Apparently Fontenoy (check out her website here) decided she needed a change after Roland Jourdain’s Sill blew past her as she was painfully pulling her way across the Atlantic. That would convert anyone. Anyhow, this is a great development in solo racing. The time to beat is, well any time would be a woman’s record. But Chay Blythe did it in 292 days, Mike Golding in 161 days, Philippe Monnet in 151 days, and Van Den Heede got around in 122 days. Go girls, er, ladies, er, whatever. We’ll be following closely…

“Just Do It” Dee Caffari: I’ve got a head start…

Dame Debra Searle: I’ve got Pindar, Offshore Challenges, and Ellen on the speed dial…”

Ms. Maudy: “I’ve got that je ne se quois, and you can’t bottle it girls…”

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