Oct 14, 2021

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Just a handful of Canadians take part in offshore ocean racing so it’s noteworthy when we have a new entry. On November 7 Melodie Schaffer and Ryan Barkey head out from Le Havre to cross the Atlantic finishing in Martinique. Their entry is a Class 40 double-handed, the smallest of the four classes in the race but their competition is the stiffest with 52 entries headed for the starting line.

The Class40 course will be shorter than the larger classes at 4,600 miles. From Le Havre they will leave the island of Sal to starboard, at Cape Verde, before powering eastwards to Martinique. They won’t have to negotiate the doldrums or the equator so the Class 40 circuit should be completed in 17 to 22 days.

Learn more about the race and its 24-year history here.

The Team

The TeamMelodie Schaffer has been sailing her whole life, competing at national and international levels. She began training at the RCYC and racing high performance dinghies including Lasers, 470s and International 14s. She continued racing in keelboats including 8m, Sharks and J105s as tactician, foredeck or skipper.

She has been an offshore racer for four years and has sailed 23,000 nautical miles. She has worked as a mate on Volvo 60 sailing in races and on expeditions. She has competed in many offshore events including the RORC Caribbean 600 (3x), Antigua to Bermuda race and the Fastnet race.

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Professionally she has a MASc degree in biomedical engineering and now is a sailing photographer. She was sailing in the Clipper Round the World race when Covid struck. Btw, Melodie is the mother of three.

VabreRyan Barkey has grown up on the water here in Canada, but accumulated most of his 60,000+ miles internationally, sailing on the majority of the world’s oceans. He has competed in different events around the globe most recently in the Clipper19-20 addition as First Mate and holding overall podium position prior to Covid postponement. Preceding this experience, he skippered everything from traditional Whitbread maxi’s to traditional Ngalawa, the double-outrigger canoe of the Swahili people living in Zanzibar and the Tanzanian coast.

Ryan also has an undergraduate certificate in meteorology and specializes in navigation. Most recently Ryan has been preparing the vessel in Gosport, UK.