Canadian woman named ‘living embodiment of all the values’ of Globe40

By David Pendered

March 31 – The only female skipper to enter the inaugural Globe40 round-the-world race finished the race in France as just one of four boats to campaign each of the eight legs of the journey.

Candadian skipper Mélodie Schaffer completed the race, landing the Whiskey Jack in Lorient, France, on March 19. Eight boats started the Globe40 and four dropped out, starting with a French-flagged boat that retired after the first leg.

Schaffer and a succession of co-skippers sailed 34,353 nautical miles over the course of the race in 174 days. Her fourth-place finish in the final leg resulted in her ranking fifth overall.

Candadian skipper Mélodie Schaffer at the finish in Lorient, France of the Globe40 round-the-world race. Schaffer sailed all eight legs of the race, covering 34,353 nautical miles in 174 days. (Credit: Jean-Marie Liot, via Globe40)

The placement resulted from the points system of the race. Even though only four boats finished, a French-flagged boat had completed enough legs to clinch third-place overall – posting finishes in the first five legs of 1, 4, 2, 1 and 1. That boat, the Milai, did not start the final three legs of the race. Final standings are available here.

To read previous coverage in CommonFutureATL of Schaffer’s campaign in the Glove40, click these headlines:

Canadian Woman Sets Record In Leg Of Globe40;   Reaching to Cape Horn, woman holds 4th place;   ‘I Forgot Who I Am’ – Skipper Mélodie Schaffer.

Race sponsors commended Shaffer’s perseverance in their final statement on her participation. The first paragraph observes:

  • “Mélodie Schaffer has been a truly iconic character in this first edition of the GLOBE40. An engineer and a mother of three [children]….

Race sponsors provided extensive details of the challenges Schaffer and her succession of co-skippers overcame during the race that allowed only two persons onboard:

  • “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.”

All the above prompted race sponsors to observe of Schaffer and her team:

  • “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.”

All of which ended with these words of congratulations:

The Whiskey Jack approaches St. George after setting a speed record on the leg from Reclife, Brazil to Grenada in the Globe40 round-the-world race. (Credit: