Canadian competitor Mélodie Schaffer rounded off her circumnavigation of the globe today by crossing the finish line of the final leg in Lorient at 09H20 hours UTC. Aboard her WHISKEY JACK with American Tom Pierce, she completes the course in 174 days having covered 34.353 nautical miles around the Planet. This 4th place in the 8th leg earns her a 5th place in the event’s overall ranking.
Mélodie Schaffer has been a truly iconic character in this first edition of the GLOBE40. An engineer and a mother of 3, with racing in her blood, she loves the open ocean and has several participations in the Clipper Race and one Transat Jacques Vabre to her credit, all of which prompted her to live life to the full and follow her passion by participating in the first edition of the GLOBE40. She has raced with a succession of co-skippers in this race, from Canadian Gary Jacques to Swede Mikaël Ryking, Spaniard Jéronimo Santos Gonzalez, Canadian Robert Philipps, Briton Paul Stratfold and American Tom Pierce.
Only preparing for the race late in the day, Mélodie was supported by Canadian equipment manufacturer STORMTECH and has had to overcome a long list of difficulties. Indeed, virtually the entire sail wardrobe suffered rips in the long leg between Cape Verde and Mauritius, which led to a pretty epic arrival in Port-Louis with a genoa in tatters, which she transformed into a skirt for the prize-giving with her usual good humour. Having got off to a great start, even leading the fleet at one point in the leg between Mauritius and Auckland, a crash gybe near Amsterdam Island and the French Southern and Antarctic Lands left her in a tough situation for several days in the Roaring Forties whilst she repaired all the damage. In Papeete, her mainsail had exhausted itself and had to be replaced, prompting a penalty according to the event rules. In the following leg to Cape Horn, which saw her get off to another great start, she was penalised again after breaking her bowsprit, which was subsequently repaired in Ushuaia thanks to the talent of the head of the technical team, François Angoulvant. In Recife, after a less successful 3,800-mile leg from Ushuaia, she had just a 4-day leg to get everything shipshape again for the following leg to Grenada. In the final leg to Lorient, she also had to stop off for a day in Guadeloupe to repair her rudder.
Despite these multiple incidents and inevitable lows, Mélodie Schaffer never gave up, always regaining the upper hand and demonstrating unfailing determination to finish every leg and complete her circumnavigation of the globe at all costs. The reward came with a fantastic leg victory between Recife and Grenada, which even saw her beat the event’s 24-hour speed record by covering 347 miles, a performance she repeated in this last leg to Lorient by covering 318 miles in a day. Her willingness and her capabilities have earned her the respect of all the other competitors and, it is fair to say, she is the living embodiment of all the values that colour this first edition of the GLOBE40.