British sailor Neal McDonald is the latest recruit to the Swedish Victory America's Cup Challenge 11/10/06
Neal McDonald, one of the world’s most respected sailors, is the latest recruit to the Swedish Victory America’s Cup Challenge.
McDonald is the sixth Briton in the sailing team and, just like the other five (Simon Fisher, David Carr, Nik Pearson, Richard Sydenham and Ian Weighell), he was employed by GBR Challenge for the America’s Cup in Auckland in 2001.
But unlike his countrymen he never took part in the sailing. Instead he left the team to take part in the round the world Volvo Ocean Race, where he was skipper for Assa Abloy (which finished in second overall).
In the last Volvo Ocean Race he was skipper for Ericsson Racing Team.
He also sailed round the world in 1997-1998, in the Whitbread Round the World Race, with Silk Cut.
His extensive merit list from the sailing world includes two wins in the classic Sydney-Hobart race, first place in the Gotland Runt in Sweden, as well as a World Championships win in the International 14 class. He also represented the United Kingdom in the 1988 Olympics in the Flying Dutchman class.
He has been recruited as traveller/strategist for Victory Challenge. He is also the sailing team’s representative as regards mast design.
Commenting on his new position as traveller/strategist and the team’s representative as regards mast design McDonald said: “These are challenges that suit me and when Magnus contacted me the timing was perfect. I have followed the America’s Cup teams and I am impressed by the improvements that Victory Challenge has made.”
Magnus Holmberg, skipper and helmsman added: “The leadership qualities that he has displayed as skipper in two Volvo Ocean Races, his solid engineering training and his extensive experience as a sailor mean that he will be a another valuable reinforcement on the sailing team.”
With the two-boat training the next phase has begun for the team, ahead of next year’s final pre-regattas of the 32nd America’s Cup and the challengers’ series itself, the Louis Vuitton Cup. It is then that it will finally be decided which of the 11 challengers will meet the defender, Alinghi, in the America’s Cup Match.