HomeNEWSBiotherm entry in the Transat Jacques Vabre

Biotherm entry in the Transat Jacques Vabre

Paul Meilhat and Mariana Lobato team up for the TJV

Biotherm entry in the Transat Jacques Vabre to feature dynamic duo from The Ocean Race

With Biotherm currently being delivered back to her home port of Lorient and the whole team enjoying a well-deserved break after a very energy-zapping edition of The Ocean Race, the transition to the next projects of the season is already under way. To accompany him in the Transat Jacques Vabre, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Paul Meilhat has chosen female sailor Mariana Lobato. The mixed duo knows one another well having competed in the bulk of the crewed round the world race together.

She is Portuguese (but speaks fluent French), she has a top-level Olympic background* and has earned her stripes as co-skipper of Biotherm during The Ocean Race. Mariana Lobato, 35, will join forces with Paul Meilhat to compete in the double-handed transatlantic race. Her competitive temperament, her personality and her rigour make her the perfect partner for the skipper of the blue monohull.

Together, they’ll take the start of the 16th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre in a few months’ time. For Mariana, a fresh face in the IMOCA universe, it will be a major first. For Paul, it will be his 5th participation. The duo will race as part of an exceptional line-up since around forty IMOCAs will likely set sail from Le Havre on 29 October 2023, bound for Martinique.

Their aims? Following The Ocean Race marathon, the two sailors will have precious little time to cram in some specific preparation. However, they will have the benefit of helming a tried-and-tested boat, which they know inside out, and they won’t have any pressure on their shoulders, especially with regards to Paul’s qualification for the Vendée Globe. With a result not currently on their radar, they may well surprise their rivals: Paul has already finished on the race podium twice before…


Paul Meilhat, on choosing Mariana Lobato: “Mariana is someone I work very well with and who has gained a vast amount of experience in The Ocean Race. We competed in the Défi Azimut 2022 together, she brought the boat back from Guadeloupe to Alicante after the Route du Rhum and she sailed every leg (4) from Brazil onwards. We get on well and we complement one another. She’s very organised, very methodical, with a strong competitive spirit. A real perfectionist, she injects rigour into the way we work together. She’s also someone who exudes calmness, she never gets worked up and she’ll be a precious asset for this hectic end to the season.”

Mariana Lobato: “When Paul offered me this project, it was a lovely surprise. I thought it was great and immediately said yes. It’s a fantastic opportunity! We got to know one another during The Ocean Race and today I have better control of the boat. I have a real feel for her now and Paul and I are on the same wavelength. He’s someone who’s incredibly competitive and easy to get along with. Working with him is a real pleasure, there’s a light approach to everything. He’s not someone who makes you feel inhibited, quite the contrary, I’ve learned a massive amount alongside him.”

Paul in the Transat Jacques Vabre:
2015: 1st participation with Michel Desjoyeaux on SMA: Abd (keel issue)
2017: 2nd with Gwénolé Gahinet on SMA
2019: 7th with Sam Davies on Initiatives Coeur
2021: 2nd with Charlie Dalin on Apivia

Who is Mariana Lobato?
Born on 23 December 1987 in Lisbon
Lives in Lisbon
Married, 2 children

Experience / track record:
2013: World Match Racing champion
2012: London Olympics / Olympic craft (470, 49erFX, Nacra17), GC32, M32, VO65, Ocean Fifty
2021: Winner of The Ocean Race Europe
2023: 4th in The Ocean Race, 1st participation in the Transat Jacques Vabre

Mariana’s pluses: mental strength, communication, medical training, sail trimming and manoeuvring on the foredeck.
An accomplished athlete, Mariana dedicates her life to top-level sport. In match racing, she took part in the London Olympics in 2012 before going on to become world champion of the sport the following year. A keen Olympic sailor, she’s also an offshore racer… and a mother of two.

Biotherm’s programe

Return delivery trip Genoa-Lorient: ETA mid-July
Mid-July – early September: Summer refit / Complete check-up of the boat
Early September: relaunch, time on the water sailing
19-24 September: Défi Azimut – Lorient
29 October: Le Havre – Start of the Transat Jacques Vabre

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