Please select your home edition
Edition
SOUTHERN-SPARS-MISSY-FURLING-BOOMS-728-X-90 TOP

Global Solo Challenge: Isolation and introspection - the infinity of possible worlds

by Global Solo Challenge 11 Jul 2021 02:49 PDT
An albatros in flight in the Southern ocean © Global Solo Challenge

It has now been many years since I completed the 2011/2012 Global Ocean Race. It is an experience that took me years to completely metabolise. An article by Marco Nannini.

I faced a thousand other storms since then, on land, more than at sea, before realising what was left of that adventure within me. The isolation and enormity of the oceans lay bare our insignificant smallness. While we are at sea we rediscover a humility that we did not know we had. And, in these days of Coronavirus isolation, I found myself drawing parallels.

A forced isolation in which, I must admit, I feel absolutely at ease. Indeed, I almost appreciate it, my living spaces are no longer invaded by others as before. I no longer have the obligation to be part of situations or conversations for which I feel no interest. "Alone in my room and the whole world outside" sang Italian songwriter Vasco Rossi in a very different context. But being absorbed in one's own thoughts (thoughts, thoughts) is a luxury that our society has deprived us of.

This isolation makes me savor it again, certainly with the bitter aftertaste of everything that is happening. But in many ways it is no different than a long navigation. I am at home alone, or with my daughter when she's with me, and we live in the confinement of our home walls. When I am alone, only the phone occasionally interrupts the perpetual silence of the days. I don't listen to music, as I didn't at sea. I don't need to be distracted from my thoughts, in fact I'm happy to be able to hear them.

The isolation of the sea as a place of reflection

Only at sea during the long races I did single-handed or with a short-handed crew did I experience these emotions. So I think of all those who are experiencing this situation for the first time and I am not surprised they are somehow lost. Not everyone, I would say, experiences it as an epiphany as being at sea was for me the first time. Indeed, the anxiety and uncertainties of tomorrow, seen from this isolation, makes many feel helpless. Fears devour them from within and helplessness turns into anger.

At sea I learned to wait, knowing that I could not do anything. Wait for the end of a storm, wait for the wind to return after a calm. Today we are waiting for something to change, but we don't even know exactly how long it'll take. Mostly I hear about "returning to normal", but there is no point in talking about normalcy if that was the problem. This suspension gave us the elusive opportunity to reflect, to hear the chirping of birds and not the noise of modern life.

Yet when we'll return to the streets some, perhaps not all, will have changed. Only a drastic change such as this isolation creates the conditions for an introspective moment. I am not saying that everyone will have deep epiphanies, there will be those who have never had them and won't now. But some will have been able to enjoy that luxury reserved for those who, for sport or passion, already knew extreme isolation. This doesn't happen just at sea, the similarities are found among mountain lovers or even in the euphoria of the marathon runner.

The desolate infinite horizon of the oceans

Many years have passed since my circumnavigation, and more than now I think about its legacy on me. In truth, I should also count other solo navigations. I believe my real personal "isolation" epiphany occurred in the 2009 OSTAR. I had just turned 31 and for the first time in my life I was totally isolated for 22 days of navigation. I had never been on the ocean even as a crew for so many days and I didn't know what awaited me.

When I arrived in Newport, after sailing in storms and fog among the icebergs of Newfoundland, I knew that something had changed. But I still didn't know what, and yest since that day I sought all-encompassing experience of extreme isolation. First at the Route du Rhum 2010 then at the Global Ocean Race 2011/2012. The Global Ocean Race was double-handed, but on such long passages, the navigation is shared between two sailors who are pretty much sailing single-handed. Apart from a few moments especially during difficult manoeuvres. Other than that, each lived in his own personal bubble of thoughts.

During this pandemic forced isolation, I therefore found myself re-reading some passages from the book I wrote after the Global Ocean Race. After all, I think it took me all these years, and many other storms, to finally digest and fully comprehend the experience. I believe that in many ways the real circle is only closing now, during this forced isolation on land. At the end of the race I knew that nothing would be the same as before, but I said it as a sailor. Today I feel I can say it as a citizen, as a father, as a worker - not just as a dreamer in the middle of the seas.

Read the full article here...

Related Articles

The most dangerous sector in a low pressure system
Sailors and their boats must be prepared to be able to withstand all kinds of storms Perhaps one of the worst circumstances that a sailboat can face on the high seas is to find itself immersed in a tropical cyclone. Posted on 13 Aug
Novice to round-the-world sailor
How long does it take to go from one to the other? One of the pioneers in the World of Solo Circumnavigation is Sir Charles (Chay) Blyth. Up until 1968, Blyth's only seafaring experience was as a long-distance rower when he, along with John Ridgway, rowed the Atlantic Ocean. Posted on 6 Aug
Unconditional mutual support among participants
All extreme sports (like the Global Solo Challenge) share a similarity When it comes offhore yacht racing, competition itself is a challenge that can be affected by many factors, personal or external. Posted on 2 Aug
What are the characteristics of the trade winds?
Knowledge of global weather patterns matters in the Global Solo Challenge With the boats and skippers immersed in the South Atlantic having left the equator behind and with Fernando de Noronha at the bow, there will be many miles ahead to sail with the South East trade winds, with time to think - on boat, at sea, in themselves. Posted on 29 Jul
Global Solo Challenge welcomes 51st entry
David Linger has been in touch with the organisers for some time David Linger from Seattle is the 4th American to sign up for the Global Solo Challenge, the 11th Class40/Open40 in the fleet, which is proving to be a popular choice of boat in the event. Posted on 26 Jul
Global Solo Challenge welcomes 50th entry
German Philipp Hympendahl is a photographer and filmmaker Philipp is the first German entry in the Global Solo Challenge, bringing the total number of nationalities represented by skippers to 15. Posted on 21 Jul
Around the world without fossil fuels?
Global Solo Challenge entrants adopt eco-friendly approach to their adventure The Global Solo Challenge (GSC) and its founder Marco Nannini are keen to provide a fantastic sporting challenge, which will attract Worldwide interest. Posted on 19 Jul
Can rehabilitation come from the sea?
Simone Camba, an entrant in the Global Solo Challenge, is a policeman from Cagliari Simone Camba, an entrant in the Global Solo Challenge, is a policeman from Cagliari and a passionate sailor who in 2013 founded New Sardiniasail, an amateur sports association with social objectives, which earned him the "Sailor of the Year 2021" title. Posted on 16 Jul
Which boats were designed by Niels Jeppesen?
X-55 of Belgian Dirk Gunst and the X-37 of Frenchman Louis Robein set for Global Solo Challenge To date, there are two boats designed by Danish designer and co-founder of X-Yachts Niels Jeppesen entered into the Global Solo Challenge (GSC), the X-55 of Belgian Dirk Gunst and the X-37 of Frenchman Louis Robein. Posted on 12 Jul
What do you have to do when crossing the equator?
Crossing the equator per se is not a difficult task Crossing the equator per se is not a difficult task, stable trade winds make the moment joyful. Tradition has it that an alcoholic drink is offered to Neptune to secure a safe journey ahead. Posted on 9 Jul
Vaikobi 2021 Boots - FOOTERSelden 2020 - FOOTERC-Tech 2020 Battens 2 728x90 BOTTOM