Updated: Mar 1
As a proud sponsor, Interel Belgium has the pleasure to congratulate Marie-Amélie Lenaerts for the achievement of the Mini Transat competition, one of the most challenging sailing competitions in the world. Marie-Amélie is the first Belgian woman to have crossed the Atlantic during a competition. A good example of audacity and courage.
20 November 2019 is a date that Marie-Amélie Lenaerts will probably never forget, as it is the day she crossed the finish line of the 22nd edition of the Mini Transat competition. It took this young Belgian woman exactly 29 days, 00 hour, 15 minutes and 23 seconds to sail the Atlantic aboard a “mini”, a boat no longer than 6.5 meters. That day, Marie-Amélie not only realized one of her longstanding dreams, she also became the first Belgian woman to have crossed the Atlantic in the context of a sailing competition.
More than a year ago, Marie-Amélie took on the incredible challenge that is the Mini Transat. Marie-Amélie was driven to take on this adventure for reasons that might be exactly the reasons others would run away from it. Not many people – even sailors – would want to be left alone in the middle of the ocean on a tiny boat. However, that is exactly where Marie-Amélie found her motivation. She knew this extraordinary experience would help her learn new things about herself and bring her to new horizons, left with the minimum of equipment and no access to the mainland. She could only rely on herself, her experience and her willpower.
The competition was divided into two parts. On 5 October, Marie-Amélie embarked on what is to this day one of the greatest experiences of her life. After having to wait two weeks due to the weather conditions, the start of this edition was definitely long wished for. The 87 competitors first sailed towards Las Palmas De Gran Canaria (Martinique), the first stop. During the first part of the Mini Transat, Marie-Amélie experienced some technical troubles with her boat, but managed to reach Las Palmas in 53rd position. Where she believed she would arrive last, or would be forced to quit in Portugal, her mental strength helped her to keep going.
The second part of the competition started on 2 November. During the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, Marie-Amélie learnt some great news. Her sister had left her a letter, telling her she would soon become a godmother. Marie-Amélie feels that she has grown a lot as a person thanks to this experience. Even though she felt lonely at some point, she would rather see the benefits of these five days she spent completely isolated : perseverance, contact with nature, confidence, trust in herself, and the list goes on. One thing is for sure, Marie-Amélie had a huge smile on her face and a head full of incredible memories as she finally crossed the finish line in Le Marin in Martinique.
So what to take away from Marie-Amélie’s experience? The fact that you believe you are not capable of achieving something does not mean it is impossible for you to reach your goal. Trust the process and learn from it. What you need to achieve your goal is daring to take the first step outside your comfort zone, then time, work and determination.