Crewmembers of the Nautor, all-female Volvo entry bring a mix of experience in yacht racing with a range of sailing skills and a large amount of dedication and enthusiasm for the 12 months ahead, says skipper Lisa McDonald.

“When I phoned the people I wanted to join the crew, I got very excited reactions from them all. It was short notice and everyone is coming aboard in race mode. They know the next few weeks will be tough. We will get tired physically and mentally but I know we will be prepared for the start line,” Lisa says.

Many of the girls sailed together with Lisa onboard EF Education in Whitbread Round the World Race 1997/98. “That’s away ahead of last time when only one crew member had previous experience of round the world racing,” Lisa adds.

She then continues, “I am very happy that most people on my initial list put aside what they were doing and cancelled plans for projects that would clash with the Volvo Ocean Race. They are coming in as a united, experienced group and they’re all bringing something to the party in the way of experience”.

Lisa talks about her crew:

Katie Pettibone (USA)

“Katie brings lot of experience to Nautor Challenge. She has vital skills: sail development and trimming. In this area she is the most experienced woman I know. She sailed on EF Education in the last Whitbread race (the predecessor of the Volvo Ocean Race) and has also taken part in two challenges for the America’s Cup – America True in Auckland in 1999 – 2000 and America3 in San Diego in 1994-95. Katie will run the sail program and also be a watch leader when racing. Katie will set up the boat and develop sails to capitalise on its performance potential. Katie’s racing experience also includes top-level regattas in many parts of the world, the classic Sydney-Hobart race and the Tour de France la Voile.”

Emma Westmacott (UK/AUS)

“Emma has been a professional sailor since 1987 and now has 130,000 ocean miles behind her. She joins Nautor Challenge as a watch leader. Emma is another EF Education veteran and she’s a proven all-rounder, capable of pushing a race boat to its limits. It’s not an understatement to say Emma is a performance-driven sailor. Since 1996, she has been professionally racing in campaigns like, Royal Sun Alliance, a British Challenge for the Jules Verne Nonstop Round the World Trophy.”

Marie-Claude Heys (FRA/UK)

“Marie-Claude almost has more round the world race experience than the rest of the crew put together. She has had many roles on various campaigns including the second southern ocean leg on board EF Education, sail maker and helm on Heineken in 1993-94, helped to prepare Maiden in 1988/89, shore manager for the French entry Charles Jourdan in 1989-90. In 1985 and ’86 she was skipper of female crew for the Tour de France Voile. From 1996 Marie-Claude has been importing J Boats and 1720 Sports boats to the UK and she has also has been racing on J/105’s, J/92’s and J/80’s.That’s a wealth of experience and as navigator she will bring welcome skills to the Nautor Challenge afterguard.”

Keryn Henderson (NZL)

“Keryn sailed with us on EF Education and she will be a great asset on board Nautor Challenge, not only for her sailing skills but also for her sense of humour. And I’m sure we’ll need that before we finish the Volvo. Keryn is a good, solid crewmember, unflappable, with wide experience inshore and offshore. She’s also a registered nurse, a skill we hope we won’t need. She is a four-time winner of the New Zealand Women’s National Keelboat Championships, won the Australian Women’s national match racing championship in 2000, has sailed in the Sydney-Hobart race, the Auckland – Noumea race and she was onboard the first mono hull in the 1999 Fastnet.”

Anna Drougge (SWE)

“Anna is a full-time sailor with loads of practical experience on the technical side of sails and sail trimming who always gets on with the job. Anna is another crewmember with experience on