MILAI Around The World, the epic Japanese project of the 1st edition of the GLOBE40 will have earned its name and completed its world tour by crossing the symbolic finish line of the 8th stage in front of Lorient this day April 8, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. local time.11 June 2022 / April 8, 2023: what an adventure for this crew which was one of the favourites, brilliantly featured on several stages but marked by fate had to stop its momentum for a month and a half in Argentina, before returning to Lorient via the Azores without take the start of the last two stages! The crew of the Japanese Masa Suzuki and Koji Nakagawa, reinforced by the Italians Andrea Fantini and Luca Rosetti, and by the French Estelle Greck, by the points classification game, and thanks to 3 victories, is part of the 5 “finishers” of the race and is rewarded with a nice place on the podium in third place.

Milai Around The World: a complete project with extensive preparation

Masa Suzuki, a 36-year-old skipper from the mini transat background, was one of the first to sign up for the fledgling GLOBE40. MILAI means future in Japanese and the project aimed to inspire a new generation of sailors, especially Asians, those who dream of traveling the world and setting a modern mark of environmental concern, with in particular the association with the ocean protection NGO BLOOM. Koji Nagakawa, a 40-year-old businessman and owner of the boat, also brought his experience in the construction and support of the project, while being an efficient crew member. A CIC Normandy Channel Race in 2020, a fine Transat Jacques Vabre with Anne Beaugé in 2021, assiduous training under the supervision of LORIENT GRAND LARGE enabled Masa to prepare for the big meeting around the globe. The MILAI Around the World project was also open to the world with 3 nationalities present in the different crews and mixed with the efficient Estelle Greck on board. As for the steed, it was n°101, a Pogo S2 built and revisited by the expert Halvard Mabire, a Class40 recognized as particularly successful and very efficient in certain conditions.

A very promising start on the first stages.

Very quickly Masa established himself as one of the contenders for the event with successive victory in the prologue in June 2022 between Lorient and Tangier and on the first stage between Tangier and Mindelo in Cape Verde. But the fate was already relentless with an attack of orcas on the road to Tangier which damaged one of the rudders and keel worries, strong movements and vibrations, which forced Masa to stop for a week in Cape Town in South Africa. , thus breaking an exciting “hand to hand” with the American AMHAS who finally won the stage. The second big leg of 7000 miles between Mauritius and Auckland was the subject of a new “hand to hand”, this time with the Dutchman SEC HAYAI, the two not leaving each other a few miles from the Australia to New Zealand, and ending with a Batavian victory in Auraki Bay with a 34′ minute lead after 34 days at sea. MILAI Around The World then chained 2 great victories between Auckland and Papeete, a leg however dominated by AMHAS victim in the last miles of a sudden change of wind, and during the legendary stage of passage of Cape Horn from Papeete to Ushuaia.

And when it all stopped…Leaving Ushuaia in Argentina on January 6, MILAI was only one point behind the leader of the general ranking since Auckland SEC HAYAI and everything was therefore possible even if AMHAS intended to play in the top three by a few points. After a somewhat complicated Beagle Channel with no wind, a good option after the Lemaire Strait propelled the Japanese competitor in the lead, the Masa Suzuki / Estelle Greck team had gotten in well in the previous leg and seemed particularly comfortable. . But on the morning of January 12, a brutal shock with an UFO (unidentified floating object) abruptly stopped the adventure. The shock, as serious as it was, damaged the structure of the boat but fortunately did not cause any distress or injury to the crew. He decided to go to the Argentinian port of Mar Del Plata to assess the damage. Arriving on January 16 at Mar Del Plata, it was easy to see the extent of the damage, cauliflower bulb and smashed partitions, which required extensive work that lasted a month and a half during the stopover in Argentina, or the welcome from the club and the Argentine authorities was particularly warm. On February 24, after 6 weeks of work, Masa Suzuki and Andrea Fantini set off for the Azores with a stopover in Recife. In Horta in the Azores Koji Nakagawa took the place of team-mate with Masa for the final journey to Lorient.

And the conclusion?

If the MILAI, Masa Suzuki and Koji Nagakawa team can be legitimately disappointed on the sporting level, the adventure lived was exceptional: Lorient, Tangier, Cape Verde, Mauritius, Auckland, Papeete, Ushuaia on the program of the official course, and in joker by force of circumstances Cape Town, Mar Del Plata, Recife, Horta, all in 10 months… And if the destination is travel (sic the GLOBE40 film), the exceptional qualities of determination of the Japanese team in the face of adversity are what will remain in the end, well beyond the sporting result which will perhaps wait for a later edition: THEY HAVE FINISHED AND THEY ARE ON THE PODIUM! An experience of this first edition of the GLOBE40 which will mark for a very long time all the members of the MILAI Around The World team, now the aptly named.

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