24 April 2015 - 12:35 • 1763 views

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Aboard his Figaro SMA, Paul Meilhat yesterday went out through the harbour entrance channel in les Sables-d’Olonne at the start of the 320 mile long race in the Solo Maître Coq. The competitors are expected to arrive back tomorrow (Saturday) in les Sables. But it will be a rather special day for Paul…

When he returns to the bay, Michel Desjoyeaux and the Mer Agitée team will be there waiting for him to hand over the IMOCA (ex Macif) which is now in the colours of SMA. A highly symbolic moment. Paul Meilhat will set off again from les Sables at the helm of his new boat and will then be able to begin his training for the 2016 Vendée Globe. Just before leaving the pontoon yesterday, Paul told us how he was feeling on the eve of this event. “I have just spent five great years with my friends in the Figaro circuit, where the standard is now incredibly high and I really would like to enjoy this final course. I am trying to get things into perspective as I move up the 60-foot boat, but it’s hard not to think about the Vendée Globe with four of us currently here together (Yann Eliès, Jérémie Beyou, Morgan Lagravière editor’s note) who will soon be facing each other again.”