February 15, 2023
Mélodie Schaffer, seconded on this leg by Tom Pierce / Photos: Arthur Daniels
On February 13th at 22.09 local time (02.09 UTC on February 14th) the Canadian crew Whiskey Jack crossed the finish line taking honours on leg 7 of the GLOBE40 at the entrance to the port of St. Georges in Grenada.
An express victory for this 2123 miles leg covered in 8 days and 8 hours at an average speed of 10.6 knots, with the 24 hour event record broken on this occasion with 347 miles at an average speed of 14.5 knots. 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.
Starting on Sunday 5th February from Recife, the GLOBE40 competitors quickly had to make tactical choices, playing the wind off-shore like AHMAS or the current on the Brazilian coast like Sec Hayai; for several days the results of the different tactics were undecided, each one taking its turn at the different places in the ranking, then obviously the on-shore route along the exclusion zone proved to be the right choice to benefit from a strong current. Sec Hayai dominated for several days as a race of speed began between the different skippers. 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.
Whiskey Jack finishes in Grenada
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.