Paul Meilhat, the French winner of the last Route du Rhum race, has confirmed his registration for The Ocean Race 2021-22.
Meilhat has made no secret of his ambition to be on the start line in Alicante when the gun fires in October 2021.
But in an exclusive interview published on Monday in Voiles et Voiliers he confirmed his plans:
“My goal is to set up an ambitious project and win The Ocean Race 2021-22, then the Route du Rhum 2022 and the Vendée Globe 2024,” Meilhat said.
“Since I was a teenager, I have dreamed of doing this race. And when I started racing the Figaro, I thought more about the "Volvo" (the previous name for The Ocean Race) than the Vendée Globe.
“What has always fascinated me about this event is the international racing and high competition aspect… You are facing the best sailors in the world who come from the Olympic sailing, the America's Cup, The Ocean Race, the Vendée Globe... It's great!”
While he works to secure his funding and begin design work for The Ocean Race, Meilhat is going to be racing with Sam Davies on Initiatives Cœur for the 2019 IMOCA season, including for next month’s iconic Fastnet Race and the Transat Jacques Vabre in October.
“Sam is a formidable competitor, an exceptional sailor,” Meilhat says. “And in terms of management, she is fantastic. I learn every day at her side. It’s impressive to see a project based around more than just sport.”
And this concept of performance and purpose will be a guide for his campaign in The Ocean Race too.
“My absolute quest is performance whilst giving purpose to something that is an essential cause to my mind,” Meilhat says.
“I want to make the most of the race to embrace this change. These values must be a driving force in our team. We want things to change and to show that we can do things differently. The Ocean Race has adapted to these new circumstances. It is ‘all systems go’ for it to work.”
Read the full interview, including Paul's thoughts on sailors and designers for his team, in Voiles et Voiliers