Please select your home edition
Edition
Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Global Solo Challenge: Extraordinary tales of extraordinary people with a dream

by Global Solo Challenge 12 May 07:52 PDT
GSC entry Jamie Young from Ireland © Global Solo Challenge

Many of us look up to the extraordinary feats of professional sailors racing at the Vendée Globe. We admire them, we look up to them, we can't say we can always relate to them, but part of us sailors would like to feel the same emotions they live through.

What we often forget is that those who even make it to put together a Vendée campaign have made it as part of the smallest of elites of the world's top sailors we can dream of.

They are not just extraordinary achievers and extraordinary sailors, they have also put together all the exceptional circumstances that are needed to pull off a Vendée Globe campaign. We can spend our lives feeling envy or jealousy, or simply wearing out our sailor armchair and flood social media with our not-so-expert comments. Others have decided they will achieve the extraordinary, perhaps with different financial means, but with the same drive, ambition and determination.

The Global Solo Challenge

When we launched the Global Solo Challenge we were approached by these very individuals. All-round incredible people who never gave up their drive to achieve the uncommon: to dream, commit and conquer. They signed up for an event that follows the same course as the Vendée Globe. Single-handed, non-stop, without assistance, by the three great capes. They can do so on their boat, and thus won't require a multi-million budget to get onto an IMOCA.

Manu and his need to return to the South Seas

The youngest of them all is the french Manu Wattecamps-Etienne. He refers to his boat Céleste as a gentle old lady as she was launched in 1968, well before he was born. The pair has already sailed around the world in the 2018 La Longue Route. An event that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first solo circumnavigation by Moitessier and the winner of the Golden Globe Race, Robin Knox-Johnston.

Unfortunately, Manu had to make a stop in Argentina to repair his rudder and wishes to return to the magic of the South to conquer his non-stop dream. His soul has already gathered the depth of those who have sailed through the great southern oceans. "It is quite simply who I am... I have to go back there, to the South Seas, to sail better and travel further than the previous time."

Pavlin and his crazy autumn sail

Pavlin Nadvorni from Bulgaria runs a boatyard in Varna and learnt sailing on the Danube. His passion for sailing has lived in his blood since childhood. He recalls using a bowl filled with oil to practice using the sextant. In 1991 in what he defines as a "crazy autumn sail" he took a 9-meter boat with no engine from the Black Sea to Malta and Gibraltar with emigration in mind. Fate led him to his first paid job and a career in yachting.

Jamie turns his back to a proper job

Jamie Young from Ireland always had itchy feet and started disappointing his family from a young age, refusing to follow the steps towards a proper job. He has been attracted to all sorts of marine activities, from sea kayaking to kite surfing, small and large boat sailing voyages in demanding water in the Arctic and Antarctic. He raced single-handed for the first time in the 1976 OSTAR, yes, the very famous edition where Alain Colas showed up on a 234 ft monohull called Club Mediteranée!

Dafydd has dreamt and committed, now he'll conquer

The first time Dafydd Hugues landed on the Global Solo Challenge website and read through the race format, with no hesitation thought "I have to do this." He is now going through the complete refit of an S&S 34, stripped open, a blank canvas. He is the painter of his dream and his is the expression I quoted earlier "Dream, commit, conquer".

Laurence revives a dream of 16 years ago

Laurence Warner bought his boat to sail solo around the world 16 years ago! However, not long after, he met his future wife and had children. He put his dream on hold as it would have been irresponsible to give up his job and financially commit to such a major project, until now!

Extraordinary people with a dream

As of now, there are 19 confirmed entries in the Global Solo Challenge. In each story, each person, you can feel the vitality of their character. None of them is an ordinary person, by any stretch of the imagination. I will tell you more about this extraordinary group of people forming around the event. Their ability to expand the envelope has made me feel emotional at times. I feel a sense of responsibility towards their dream.

In a series of articles followed by interviews and videos we will start to get to know the entrants in the Global Solo Challenge. This small selection is of stories will continue with more extraordinary tales. One participant just returned from Patagonia. Another attempted a circumnavigation on a boat of less than 6 metres. The first woman to sign up is determined to show a little girl power in this world which she defines "of brutes".

We know the power of these stories, because each one of us will be able to identify with several of the participants. These are not extra terrestrial super human top sailing professionals. They are special people in their right, extraordinary in all respects, but leaving in a world where image and appearance has taken over, forgetting the blood and tears that it takes to commit to a single-handed circumnavigation.

You can do it too. You can be part of it. The Global Solo Challenge tries to be as inclusive as possible, it has allowed some old boats to come to a new life. It has allowed old dreams to be felt strong again instead of forgotten.

Related Articles

Global Solo Challenge welcomes 35th entry
For François Gouin, sailing is an incredible school of life François Gouin from Pornic in France is the 35th entry in the Global Solo Challenge with his Pogo 40S Kawan3, a first generation Class40 (Finot-Conq) built in 2008 by Structures. Posted on 15 Sep
Jean-Luc Van Den Heede interview
An in-depth analysis of solo sailing and of the problems to be faced such as food and sleep A long interview with Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, the last seadog, the man of records and the "long route" who talks to us about the mother of all non-stop solo circumnavigations. Posted on 13 Sep
32nd entry for the Global Solo Challenge
The momentum of the event continues to grow The momentum of the Global Solo Challenge (GSC) continues to grow. Organisers are delighted to announce that the 32nd entry is also the 3rd Australian skipper, with a 50+ foot performance boat, who at this stage wishes to remain anonymous. Posted on 6 Sep
Global Solo Challenge: What is an AIS?
An essential instrument for safety on a sailing boat The acronym AIS stands for Automatic Identification System. It is used by ships, pleasure boats and traffic control stations. The system allows information on the position of nearby ships and shore stations to be exchanged electronically. Posted on 4 Sep
Global Solo Challenge: Radar on sailboats
Making the most of it and using it safely The word radar is an acronym coined by the US Navy at the beginning of World War II with the meaning of "Radio Detection And Ranging". Its application for military purposes has spread over time, also finding diffusion in the civil field in aviation. Posted on 28 Aug
How to optimise route based on weather predictions
Optimising the route: understanding the problem to be solved. One recurring question among the novice offshore sailor is how to optimise your route when sailing. The practice is known among sailors with the French name of Routage or the English name of Weather routing. Posted on 23 Aug
Solving problems with inboard diesel engines
Some of the more common issues seen with sailboat engines To fully understand the operation of the inboard engine of a sailboat, you need to study at least the basic principles. Refer to the many resources available online, a short google search will bring up many results. Posted on 21 Aug
How to make the most of wind maps and grib files
Understanding the limitations, from the Global Solo Challenge Wind maps derived from grib files are nothing more than one of the possible representations of the development of the meteorological situation. Posted on 18 Aug
Standing rigging: step by step guide
How to deal with the tuning of standing rigging of a typical sailboat. Historically, the most traditional rig type is the masthead one. That is with the forestay and backstay attached to the masthead as fixed standing rigging that create traction in the opposite direction. Posted on 16 Aug
Cape of Good Hope: the route to the Cape of Storms
Its calming name has nothing to do with prevailing weather conditions The Cape of Good Hope was initially called Cape of Storms by the navigator Dias who first reached it, without being able to round it, arriving from Europe. Posted on 29 Jul
Zhik 2021 Choice of Champions FOOTERArmstrong-Suptonic-728x90-2 BOTTOMC-Tech 2021 America's Cup 728x90 BOTTOM