French duo Paul Meilhat & Gwénolé Gahinet on board SMA win first stage Monaco Globe Series 2018

Winners proved the only source of knowledge is experience

On Thursday, June 7, 2018 at exactly 08:17 the SMA skippered by Paul Meilhat and Gwenole Gahinet passed the arrival line of the first edition of the Monaco Globe Series (MGS), the new IMOCA60 2018/2020 world championship, organized by the Yacht Club of Monaco. It was a highly intensive competitive race up to the last miles, for the winners as well as the rest of the pack. The French skippers were greeted by Prince Albert at their arrival on the YCM dock.

The 9 teams participating in this non-stop double-handed race without assistance gave it all in the first stage of the MGS, with the goal of gathering valuable points to qualify for the Vendee Globe 2020, known as the Everest of the Seas, the toughest, famous and merciless sailing race in the world, without stopping and without assistance.

Having departed on Sunday, June 3 at 13:00 sharp from Monaco, the first competitors in the MGS returned to the Monaco bay illuminated by the first rays of the sun on Thursday, June 7. It took SMA 3 days, 19 hours and 17minutes to cover the course of 717,23 nm at the end of a fierce and zealous battle.

It’s weird to navigate visually for so many miles,” confided Paul Meilhat when he stepped ashore. “That was not a given, as we had to keep focused till the end. It was a magnificent course; we should organize one in the Mediterranean every year!”

Newrest-Art & Fenetres with Fabrice Amedeo and Eric Peron on board, used every muscle in their bodies tailgating SMA until Ile de Bagaud. It was a game of cat and mouse for several miles until the Bretons decided to go for the kill by hugging the cost to take full advantage of the slightest gust.

Another duel was between Newrest-Art & Fenetres (3rd) and Monin (2nd), finally won by Isabelle Joscke and Alain Gautier thanks in part to Alain’s experience, with the duo snatching a second place by a nose just seven minutes ahead.

One by one the rest of the fleet crossed the final line

One after the other the rest of the fleet crossed the final line; Kilcullen Team Ireland came 4th, followed by Boulogne Billancourt (5th), Group Setin (6th), Malizia II (7th), Bureau Valle 2 (8th) and finally 4MyPlanet2 (9th).

“It was a really superb race with a lot of twists and turns,” said Pierre Casiraghi sailing on Malizia II. “It was tough in the Strait of Bonifacio then the battle to beat back up to Port-Cross as the fleet was in the process of regrouping.”

The other part of the duo Boris Herrmann added, “The Mediterranean really lived up to its promises with a range of very varied conditions. An intense race and amazing experience.” The Monegasque IMOCA 60 finished 7thbehind Manuel Cousin and Alan Roura on Groupe Setin. (Photo: Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann on board Malizia II Monaco Globe Series 2018@mesi_BD)

Alexia Barrier and Pierre Quirogea on board 4MyPlanet2 had an unexpected emotional welcomed by all the skippers on arrival at the Yacht Club of Monaco pontoon.

We got the boat only one month ago, so it was already a challenge for us to get ready on time for the MGS. As a Mediterranean, it has been a real satisfaction to participate, playing on home turf. We did enjoy this course that met our sport and technical expectations with lots of maneuvering and sail changings and tactics. We were proud to run close to the most beautiful boats and the best competitors of the IMOCA class. In a word, it was an excellent way to try out this boat before the next challenge.

Obviously 4myplanet2 was like a 2CV on a rally circuit but we were really in the race, running side by side to some of them and we even succeeded in frightening them.” (Photo:Alexia Barrier and Pierre Quirogea 4MyPlanet2 MGS2018@mesi_HD)

For the next stage, we learned on which aspects of the boat we need to be focused and work on in order to improve it. We keep in mind that even if the boat is 20 years old we can be part of the Route du Rhum race. We now must concentrate not only on working and practicing, but also find some sponsoring partners to meet our goals.” 

Like Morgan Wootten said:“You learn from losing more than winning. You learn how to keep going.”

Arrival time final classification (after jury decision)

  1. SMA – Paul Meilhat / Gwénolé Gahinet : 3J, 19h, 17mn & 0s
  2. Monin – Isabelle Joschke / Alain Gautier : 3j, 21h, 03mn & 50s
  3. Newrest Art & Fenêtres – Fabrice Amedeo / Eric Péron : 3j, 21h, 11mn & 10s
  4. Kilcullen Team Ireland – Joan Mulloy / Thomas Ruyant : 3j, 22h, 25mn & 0 sec
  5. Boulogne Billancourt – Stéphane Le Diraison / Stan Maslard : 3j, 23h, 45mn & 3s
  6. Groupe Setin – Manuel Cousin / Alan Roura : 3j, 23h, 47mn & 38s
  7. Malizia II -Yacht Club de Monaco – Pierre Casiraghi / Boris Herrmann : 4j, 00h, 03mn & 0sec
  8. Bureau Vallée 2 – Louis Burton / Arthur Hubert : 4j, 1h, 29mn & 26s
  9. 4myplanet2 – Alexia Barrier / Pierre Quirogea : 4j, 2 h, 49mn & 30s

Skippers signed Appeal for the Ocean

The culmination of the first leg of the Monaco Globe Series coincided with the celebration of World Oceans Day, and all the skippers signed the Appeal for the Ocean, at the initiative of famous French sailor Catherine Chabaud. The appeal to protect our oceans is based on the fact that life comes from the ocean, it is a living ocean that we must preserve as a legacy for our children.

The Prize Ceremony in photos

Today’s Quote

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from where we came.”John F. Kennedy

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