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School Meet & Greet: Kojiro visited his young fans in France

Last week was all about the youngest generation of sailing fans. Skipper Kojiro Shiraishi visited two schools in France to talk with the pupils about his big Vendée Globe adventure – and why it is worthwhile to keep going until one's dreams come true.

First stop: ecole Sainte Anne Montournais in the French region Vendée. The director of the school approached Kojiro during a golf round prior to the Vendée Globe 2021 and gave him a special souvenir for his journey around the world with the DMG MORI Global One –Tchoupi, well known to all children, is the mascot of the school. After months on stormy seas, Kojiro has now brought the mascot back. Kojiro's words: "Tchoupi was always smiling at me not only during hard moments but also in happy moments. I had to tell myself to become like Tchoupi and always smile no matter how hard my day was". He will be back on board for the Vendée Globe 2024.

The second school is in a place Kojiro knows only too well: Les Sables d'Olonne, start and finish of the Vendée Globe. He has already visited the school before the 2016 edition of the race. The pupils know the DMG MORI Skipper and his story. Also how he had to give up the regatta in 2016 due to his broken mast. At the time, he could not achieve his dream of becoming the first Asian person to finish the so-called “Everest of the Seas”. Now it was his heart's desire to go back to the school and tell the students why it is worthwhile to continue and fight for his dreams. The message was to tell the children to never give up no matter how hard life is. He also spoke about the ocean pollution and the microplastic problem we are encountering.

For Kojiro, this was certainly not the last visit to his young fans - at the very latest, he will be back when he picks up the mascot Tchoupi for the next trip around the world.

School Meet & Greet with Kojiro and his young fans in France