January 30, 2024
Canadian woman sets record in leg of Globe40
By David Pendered
Feb. 19 – Candadian skipper Mélodie Schaffer set a speed record as she sailed into Grenada in first place on the leg of the Globe40 sailboat race from Brazil to Grenada.
Schaffer and co-skipper Tom Pierce set a 24-hour event record by covering 347 miles at an average speed of 14.5 knots. “A great recognition for the Canadian skipper Mélodie Schaffer,” race sponsors noted in a statement.
This leg covered 2,213 miles from Reclife, Brazil to Grenada. The weather included intense heat coming off Racife, squalls, doldrums, and “fantastic, fast, wet, really fun sailing” once the boats hit the trade winds, according a dockside interview in St. George with the U.S. team aboard the Amhas, skipper Micah Davis and co-skipper Brian Harris.
In overall standings, Schaffer’s boat, the Whiskey Jack, ranks fourth out of five vessels overall, the consequence of mishaps that have plagued Schaffer’s campaign since the round-the-world race started in Tangier, Morocco on June 26, 2022. The race sponsors cite Schaffer’s strong finish in Grenada, on Feb. 13, as adding to the drama of the final leg of the race, scheduled to start Feb. 24 and end in Lorient Agglomeration, France.
Schaffer put the win into context during her dockside interview:
- “It was so wonderful. I’ve had so many setbacks in this overall race and to actually have one leg and one race where we got to be a great team and push the boat and sail really, really well is such a treat.”
The race sponsors mirrored Schaffer’s perspective in their characterization of the performance, which includes a list of challenges Schaffer and crew have overcome:
- “A great recognition for the Canadian skipper Mélodie Schaffer who showed all her energy while several breakdowns in the previous stages had prevented her from claiming the podium.”
And that’s just the introduction. The full statement observes:
- “WHISKEY JACK gradually caught up with the Dutch crew before overtaking them and demonstrating their speed to the entire fleet by taking a 50-mile lead over their direct competitor and breaking the distance record in 24 hours on the event.
- “A great success for Mélodie Schaffer, seconded on this leg by Tom Pierce, whereas on several occasions in the previous legs she had seen her excellent performance called into question by various breakdowns; multiple sail tears between Cape Verde and Mauritius, a catastrophic gybe off the island of Amsterdam in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands with several days of hardship, a broken bowsprit a week after the start from Papeete when she was in the leading group.
- “A lifelong racer and mile-hungry sailor with several Clipper Race legs to her credit, 3 transatlantic races including a Jacques Vabre in 2021/2022, 25,000 miles sailed since June in the GLOBE40, Mélodie displays an experience and determination that is highlighted by her victory in leg 7.
- “And it should be remembered that she and Tom had only 5 days to stop in Recife after the 3800 miles of the difficult leg from Ushuaia.”