| News from the Field, January 1997|
Say you're a lanky, 32-year-old woman who has it all: classic good looks, legions of adoring fans, and a job at which you're paid top dollar to travel to exotic locales and smile. Why would you want to put it all on the line, laying yourself--not to mention your picture-perfect complexion--open to the vagaries of the high seas? For Elle Macpherson, the answer seems to be twofold: to prove there's more to her than Victoria's Secret reveals, while banging a high-profile gong for women's athletics. "After all, it's not like she needs any more publicity," says British sailing journalist Bob Fisher. "Anyone who puts together this serious an effort must be interested in sailing, not just puting her name on a boat."
Indeed, through her newly formed company, Elle Racing, Macpherson and her sponsors are ponying up $10 million for an all-female entry in the prestigious Whitbread Round the World Race, in which the towering Australian cover girl says she'll be a working member of the crew, albeit for just two or three of the contest's nine legs. "From what I've heard, she knows her way around a boat," says Whitbread veteran Tracy Edwards. True enough, Macpherson did furl many a sail while crewing for her father as a teen. But does this sort of day-tripping qualify her for one of the world's most demanding races? "These boats are a lot to handle," says Elle Racing's captain, Adrienne Cahalan, rising to her star's defense. "You can't be naive enough to take someone without experience."
Copyright 1997, Outside magazine