Extreme weather conditions, device failures on the mast and water entering the boat prevented Ivica Kostelić from finishing the race, but the courage and willingness to face the full force of the Atlantic is what is remembered in the end
On Wednesday, November 9, we accompanied a prominent member of ACI’s nautical family, Ivica Kostelić, to the Route du Ruhm transatlantic regatta – a legendary nautical race that is considered the greatest sailing challenge in the world. Before setting sail on the ship named „ACI“, our best skier of all time and one of the biggest names in the history of Croatian sports, the president of the ACI Management Board, Kristijan Pavić, wished good luck and a calm sea on behalf of our entire community. However, due to the strong wind and weather conditions that were anything but normal this year, as well as technical malfunctions on the boat, Ivica estimated that the wisest decision was to abandon the race. Despite this, the sheer courage, readiness and will to face all the force of the Atlantic Ocean, and in addition the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in this race, are more than enough reason to show pride and deep respect to our celebrated athlete.
A challenge reserved only for the most prepared
By the way, the Route du Rhum is a legendary nautical race with a 44-year tradition, which gathers the largest fleet of all ocean regattas at all levels. This transatlantic route with a total length of 3,542 miles has gained its fame thanks to the combination of different classes and competitors, which always include some of the best solo competitors in the world of sailing.
„From the very beginning, when I decided to dedicate myself to sailing, I was guided by one single thought – performing on the Route du Rhum. It is about one of the biggest events in the world of sailing, especially solo sailing, which was always in my mind during all the training and regattas in the last five years. Despite the difficulties, thanks to preparation, stubborn persistence, good planning, but also the help of good people, friends and sponsors over several years, we managed to maintain this small project“, said Ivica on the eve of this historic feat, in which he also became the first Croat to participated in the Route du Ruhm race at all.
Never surrender – always an additional motive
There is a saying popular in sports circles that some battles have to be fought more than once to be won. The truth of these words is best recognized by all those who have faced an angry adversary in their life, be it a stormy sea or some other obstacle in life. And if anyone knows the meaning of ups and downs, faltering and returning to full strength and ultimately victories and defeats, then it is a multiple world champion and a celebrated Olympian in alpine skiing and an experienced sailor who has already conquered the Atlantic once in the Jacques Vabre Class 40 race. We have no doubt that the challenges he faced at the Route du Ruhm Ivica will serve as an additional motivation for new endeavors, where we will always – as before – follow him faithfully.
Photos: Miroslav Zadravec