At 37 years old, Paul Meilhat is one of the big guns of the IMOCA circuit. He is from the Olympic sailing (Optimist, Laser and 49er) and has been shaped with sea salt by the Figaro circuit since 2008.
Paul celebrated his first major victory in April 2014 in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale with Gwénolé Gahinet. On this promising wave, the skipper met the SMA group and achieve a great season in the Figaro, finishing 4th in the French Elite Solo Offshore Racing Championship. I
n 2015, Paul Meilhat leapt from the Figaro circuit to the IMOCA circuit. After a year of experience, Paul finished fourth in the New York - Vendée and The Transat Bakerly. In the Vendée Globe, when he was one of the top three, the SMA skipper will be the victim of a keel cylinder failure that will force him to retire after 52 days of racing.
Paul, who has changed his mind from this circumnavigation, is living a prolific year in 2017. Alongside Gwénolé Gahinet, he won the ArMen Race, the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Défi Azimut and then took a superb 2nd place in the Transat Jacques Vabre against the best foilers on the circuit.
In 2018, he won the Monaco Globe Series and the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. While this year-end also marks the end of his partnership with SMA, Paul does not intend to stop there. The skipper is actively looking for partners.
Currently leading the IMOCA Globe Series ranking, the skipper has the carure to lead a program allying the participation in the Vendée Globe 2020 and the Ocean Race in 2021.
About The Ocean Race, the skipper told Le Figaro on February 6, 2019: "I loved sailing alone, but the crew is more in tune with my DNA. I enjoy human relations and I like to highlight the skills of those around me. It is much better that our monohulls sail on other races rather than they are stored on car parks between two Vendée Globe. "
In 2019, Paul is the co-skipper of Samantha Davies for the Transat Jacques Vabre on board Initiatives Coeur.