One family, one team, one mission — a legacy continued under the Sails of Change banner

In 2024 Sails of Change, the professional sailing team formerly known as Spindrift, is returning to action with an expanded stable of race boats.

This month on Lake Geneva, Duncan Späth becomes skipper of the seasoned crew of the TF35 now named Sails of Change 10, after three seasons as mainsail trimmer. He takes over the sail number SUI10 from his mother Dona Bertarelli who skippered the legendary Ladycat D35 multihull for over a decade.

Duncan grew up alongside the racing stable’s campaigns, balancing his sailing with his studies. He committed full-time to the team for the three around-the-world Jules Verne Trophy record attempts aboard the maxi-trimaran Sails of Change, winning the Transat Québec-Saint Malo and the Rolex Fastnet Race and establishing his status as an experienced and highly successful sailor. Now, he manages his time between his career in sustainability management and his role as skipper-owner of the TF35, stepping up to take on greater responsibilities within the racing stable.

portrait de Dona Bertarelli entourée de Yann Guichard et Duncan Späth
@ Gauthier Le Bec / Sails of Change

Simultaneously Yann Guichard, Duncan’s stepfather – an Olympic sailing champion and highly successful inshore and offshore multihull sailor with multiple records to his name – will lead a fresh campaign with the introduction of a second TF35 15m flying catamaran, Sails of Change 8, with sail number SUI8. His crew will primarily consist of young sailors new to the TF35 circuit. Together with Duncan’s Sails of Change 10, both TF35s will sport the team’s new and distinctive green and blue livery. These high-speed multihulls are gearing up for the 2024 TF35 Trophy, beginning with the Nyon Cup from May 24 to 26.

The TF35 circuit is intensely competitive with many of the world’s best sailors taking part,” said Yann, skipper/helmsman, and president of the Sails of Change racing stable, who led his TF35 crew to a hard fought second place in 2023.

With Duncan now helming the second TF35 we are looking forward to reaching our full potential during the six events in 2024 — it’s going to be a great year racing against some determined opposition.”

It’s an ambition echoed by Duncan Späth: “I was mainsail trimmer alongside Yann last year, and have taken part in three TF35 seasons, so I have no illusions about the challenge ahead. Staying at the heart of what is a very personal family project is a great motivator.

“Both Sails of Change teams have great potential and we are targeting areas where we know we can still improve, and that is our goal from the very start of the season.”

The two TF35 teams join the Sails of Change fleet, which also includes their flagship 37m record-breaking maxi-trimaran which is poised for further attempts in 2025.

@ Gauthier Le Bec / Sails of Change

The Sails of Change name — already familiar from its longstanding association with the fleet as a philanthropic sponsor — aligns closely with Dona Bertarelli, her children and Yann Guichard’s values and their passion for sports and nature.

As Dona Bertarelli explains, this shared vision is at the heart of the Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy foundation which includes the desire to raise global awareness of the need to protect biodiversity.

“Our connection to nature has always been close to the heart of our family, and the Sails of Change sailing team will continue to support the mission to raise awareness for biodiversity conservation.

“Since Yann and I founded the original sailing team back in 2011 we have sought to carry these messages around the world,” added Dona, who along with Yann became a Patron of Nature of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2021.

This, in turn, was the inspiration for the Sails of Change team’s decision to become a signatory of the Sports for Nature Framework last year —a joint initiative of the IUCN, International Olympic Committee (IOC), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy — which aims at delivering transformative nature positive actions across sports for the protection and restoration of biodiversity.

An ocean advocate and the fastest woman to sail around the world — on the team’s 2015-2016 Jules Verne Trophy record attempt of 47 days, 10 hours and 49 minutes — Dona Bertarelli is also a two-time winner of the prestigious Bol d’Or Mirabaud, as well as two Fastnet races. She holds the record from Ushant to the Equator on the Jules Verne Trophy route, and for the Transat Québec-Saint Malo and the Discovery Route. Dona Bertarelli has twice been named Female Sailor of the Year, in 2014 and 2016, at the SUI Sailing Awards.

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