They set off in a blaze of tooting horns and publicity in their home countries - and then fade from the public view until either they let off their EPIRB or succeed in their challenge and win fame for a while. They are the adventure sailors, and most of them are sailing solo. Right now there are several adventure sailors who are passing milestones, from Britain, China, India and Italy. So where are they right now?
Abilash Tomy is an Indian sailor who has set off to be the first Indian to circumnavigate the world solo, and he is attempting it in the Hallberg Rassy designed, Indian built Mhadei. He is breathing a sigh of relief, no doubt, because on the 26th January he sailed past the dreaded Cape Horn, thus passing one of the most fearsome milestones of his journey. He is now sailing the South Atlantic, heading for the Cape of Good Hope.
While Chinese sailor Guo Chuan rounded Cape Horn some time ago, he is also celebrating as he has finished half his voyage, also a solo non-stop circumnavigation.
The mark of Guo's half voyage was a buoy near the Port Coronel Rosales, East of Argentina. The voyage is being closely watched by some in China, and 'Peace and Sport President' Joel Bouzou sent congratulations on Guo's success in half voyage of the solo world sailing, as Guo is the 69th 'Champion for Peace' of the organization. Guo is expected to get round the Cape of Good Hope, southernmost of Africa, around Feb 20.
Setting off from Guo's hometown Qingdao, China's eastern coastal city, on Nov 18 last year, Guo aims to travel 21,600 nautical miles in about 130 days.
Then there is the indomitable British sailor Jeanne Socrates, who passed the Horn last month and is ahead of them both, in that she is just closing on the Cape of Good Hope, with only around 500 nm to go to her waypoint south of the Cape.
Jeanne, on her third circumnavigation, is also attempting to do it this time non-stop and unassisted. One big difference here is that, not only does she not have the sponsorship of government and private bodies that the other two have attracted and is sailing her own 38ft Nereida, but she is now over 70 years in age, which might make even the fittest septuagenarian full of admiration.
Finally, there's Italian sailor Giovanni Soldini in Maserati, except that he has a crew - a racing crew - and he is not doing a circumnavigation, but trying to beat the record to sail from New York to San Francisco, via, you guessed it, the Horn, the wrong way round.
Well they've passed that milestone, with not much fuss and are now almost at the Equator in the Pacific. Crossing the Equator is always a challenge, because of the Doldrums, or Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which delivers little wind apart from erratic storms.
Giovanni Soldini and his crew left New York on December, 31st 2012 attempting to break the speed record on the historic Golden Route. The record was set by Yves Parlier on board Aquitaine Innovations (57 days and 3 hours, category monohull).
Maserati has 2,400 miles left to reach San Francisco.
So far they have sailed for over 36 days, so have about 21 days to sail the 2400 miles. Can they do it? Not if they are caught in the Doldrums too long!
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