Five of Switzerland’s top female athletes will join the Switzerland SailGP Team throughout Season 3. They will form part of the overall Swiss team and take part in training and racing throughout the season alongside the core team of Sébastien Schneiter (Driver), Stuart Bithell (Wing Trimmer), Jason Saunders (Flight Controller) and Grinders, Richard Mason (GBR), Eliot Merceron (SUI) and Julien Rolaz (SUI).
Following high interest from female athletes across the country, sisters Elodie and Laurane Mettraux, Maja Siegenthaler, Maud Jayet and Nathalie Brugger were selected to join SailGP SUI for trials during a training camp in Lagos, Portugal, earlier this year.
The talented athletes who hail from competitive racing backgrounds – from the Olympic Games to inshore and offshore regattas – will race with the team across the Season 3 championship, spanning 2022-2023.
SailGP introduced the Women’s Pathway at the start of Season 2, as part of its better sport strategy to promote inclusion, inspire change and provide opportunities across all levels of the sport. Ten international teams will compete in the purpose-led global racing league this season, each racing with six crew onboard including one female athlete in both a standard and light-wind configuration.
Switzerland SailGP Team will first sail its F50 race boat mid-April in Bermuda. Maja Siegenthaler – from Bern – is a two-time Olympian in the 470 class (Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020) and will join onboard for the training period, building up to the first SailGP event of the season.
Laurane and Elodie Mettraux grew up sailing on Lake Geneva and have become experienced inshore and offshore racers. Elodie has competed in two editions of the Ocean Race; with the all-female campaign of Team SCA (2014-15) and onboard Turn the Tide (2017-18). Laurane has competed in the Sailing Arabia The Tour and Tour de France à la Voile six times. Laurane will race onboard for the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess (14-15 May) and Elodie will join the line up later in the year.
After the United States Sail Grand Prix in Chicago, at Navy Pier, (18-19 June), the global championship heads to Europe for four events, during which Maud Jayet will get her first taste of racing onboard the high speed F50. Maud is an Olympian in the Laser Radial class and competed at Tokyo 2020, her first Olympic Games.
Nathalie Brugger, from Fribourg, is a three-time Olympian. She competed at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 in the Laser Radial and at Rio 2016 in the mixed Nacra class. Nathalie has also competed in two editions of the Tour de France à la Voile and three seasons on the D35. She will train and race with the team later in the season.
Laurane Mettraux, on the opportunity to race as part of the team said: “It’s fantastic to join the Switzerland SailGP Team for its first event in Bermuda. What really excites me about the SailGP Women’s Pathway is that it’s such a big opportunity aimed towards helping female athletes to develop their skills and to become more integrated within the sport. The boats are very impressive, and I can’t wait to race onboard the F50 with the team next month.”
Switzerland SailGP CEO, Tanguy Cariou said: “The Women’s Pathway provides a great platform for female athletes to represent their country at the highest level and we are really looking forward to having the five athletes we have selected joining us throughout SailGP Season 3.
“Switzerland already has many talented female sailors – and there’s many more coming up through the ranks – which is really positive and exciting for both our team and the future of the sport.”