portrait de Dona Bertarelli

Dona Bertarelli

Onboard reporter

  • Nationality : Swiss
  • On board role : Onboard reporter
  • Number of world tours : 1

Best performance

In 2016, after 47 days, 10 hours and 49 minutes at sea on a Jules Verne Trophy record attempt, Dona Bertarelli became the fastest woman to sail around the world.

Sailing has always been part of her life, but she started competing in late 2006 with an all-female crew on Lake Geneva’s Décision 35 catamaran circuit.

In 2010, following in the footsteps of Riquette Thévand (in 1944), Dona became the second female skipper to win the prestigious Bol d’Or Mirabaud, at the helm of LadyCat – a title she won again in 2014.

She created what is now Sails of Change (formerly known as Spindrift) with her husband Yann Guichard, their professional sailing team. Since then, they have developed a professional team in line with their philosophy. They set its course based on a shared vision, one element of which was the decision to set up Spindrift for Schools, an educational programme approved by the French Ministry of National Education with whom a partnership agreement was signed along the theme of Sustainable Development Education. The programme produced an educational kit that has been included by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO in its program for the Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development.

An investor and philanthropist, as well as a fervent ocean advocate for nearly two decades, committed to several foundations and projects dedicated to marine conservation, Dona Bertarelli discovered offshore multihull sailing in 2013. Listening, learning, gradually gaining confidence and honing her skills, she won multihull line honours in the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race, and again in 2015. She also secured her first crewed Atlantic record. Her experience grew with the team’s 2015-16 Jules Verne Trophy attempt with 47 days, 10 hours and 49 minutes spent at sea. In 2016 Dona was named female sailor of the year at the SUI Sailing Awards for the second time (the first was in 2014) and is the fastest woman to sail around the world.

Her commitment to protecting nature took on a global dimension. Dona served as Special Adviser for the Blue Economy to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In 2021, she and Yann Guichard became Patrons of Nature for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an organisation which supports #30×30, a global call for action to protect at least 30% of the ocean and the earth by 2030, and whose mission is “for a just world which values and conserves nature”. She is also the chair of Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy, created in 2016 to advance environmental conservation and foster a balance between people and nature through efforts in various fields, from advocacy, science and technology, to life sciences, education, and awareness raising.

The Sails of Change name aligns closely with the sailing team founders’ values and passion for sports and nature, and the sailing team continues to support the mission of Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy to raise awareness for biodiversity conservation, and is a signatory of the Sports for Nature Framework. Sails of Change livery design comprises the green of the earth and the blue of the ocean, alongside the #30×30 logo, the first campaign supported by Sails of Change.