Please select your home edition
Edition
Hella Dual Colour Floodlights - Top 728 x 90px - 6 jpg

Global Solo Challenge - How would you prepare for a single-handed circumnavigation?

by Global Solo Challenge 17 Dec 2021 02:35 PST
Surfing in the Southern Pacific Roaring Forties © Global Solo Challenge

Preparing for a solo circumnavigation by the three great capes is an enormous challenge. So much so that getting to the start line is often just as hard as the navigation that will follow.

Preparation is key to success, the areas to cover are so many and so wide ranging that it can feel overwhelming. Not only skippers have to learn about solo sailing, sail changes, manoeuvres, but have to become experts of many aspects of their boats which they have to care for and keep in working order. This ranges from electronics and electricity management and generation, autopilot settings and repairs, weather routing, satellite communication and data download, general maintenance, small or large repairs, food, sleep, and a lot else. The list seems never ending and some skippers will face a learning curve steeper than those who have already done more mileage.

The event requires a minimum 2000 miles passage on the boat entered in the event to be allowed to start, but we make it clear that this is almost to be considered a shakedown test of the boat and that nothing can substitute many more miles of navigation in different conditions to be ready for what will come ahead. We also encourage those miles to be sailed in tough and cold waters, to get a taste of southern ocean conditions.

Many skippers will start from A Coruña and head south, through pushed by the trades and through the Doldrums, then will press on through the South East trade winds and will reach somewhere near Fernando da Noronha. From there they will have to pass through a transition zone and press on further South. They can't quite yet turn left as the sticky trap of the St. Helena High can be a costly mistake if sailed into. Instead the fleet will have to carry on on a southerly route and traditionally reach somewhere around Tristan da Cunha before effectively "turning left".

In practice, they will have to sail South until they find the first favourable echo of the winds of a roaring forties depression. For those new to the game it will be quite a shock to see the change from the trades winds and the St. Helena high pressure out into the first glimpse of the southern seas. Conditions change dramatically in the space of a few days and there will be only the occasional respite until turning the corner at Cape Horn.

The route to Tristan da Cunha is relatively easy and is rarely a real test of skipper or boat and can be very misleading giving a false sense of security to a skipper. For this reason preparation and putting the boat under some serious stress before departure is key, it would be a very costly mistake to be lulled by trade and light winds all the way to Tristan da Cunha just to find out how incredibly different conditions will be later on.

Preparing mentally for all of this is something that we can hardly do ashore, and hence previous solo mileage is crucial, the more the better. For some sailing in the great south will be exhilarating for some it will be one tiring grim experience. Wet, cold, damp, sailing from storm to storm. For all, it will be something they'll never forget.

We asked a few of the 38 entries to date what are their plans to prepare for the event - find out what they said.

Related Articles

Which boats were designed by Sparkman & Stephens?
Global Solo Challenge skipper Daffyd Hughes will be sailing an S&S 34 One of the smallest yachts in the fleet that will set off on the circumnavigation next year. This yacht is only 34 feet in length, but it was designed by the great designer Olin Stephens of the American Company Sparkman & Stephens. Posted today at 1:39 pm
Global Solo Challenge welcomes 48th entry
Gardner LaMaurice was already in the process of preparing his boat to complete a circumnavigation With his entry the young American wants to break the stereotype of sailing only being accessible to rich retired people and hopes to inspire others to follow his example. Posted on 18 May
The coast of Mauritania and the threat of piracy
Even though pirates are known to mainly target cargo ships, attacks on yachts are not unheard of Following winds... a favourable current... the sea helps the skippers move faster… Some sections of the Global Solo Challenge will be pure bliss for its participants. Posted on 17 May
What boats were designed by Finot-Conq?
Taking a look at some of the designers of Global Solo Challenge entries I have taken a look at some of the Naval architects, the designers behind the current list of boats entered in the Global Solo Challenge. Posted on 11 May
What is the passion for ocean sailing?
The sea invokes people's deepest feelings The sea has always been and remains a mystery as attractive as it is impenetrable, a mystery that for most human beings is an ineffable fascination. Posted on 7 May
How long does it take to sail around the world?
The Global Solo Challenge is not a race but rather a challenge with a competitive element The Global Solo Challenge is a single-handed, non-stop, unassisted sailing event by the three Great Capes. Racing Rules of Sailing, however, do not apply, nor any class rules such as IMOCA, Class40 or similar. Posted on 3 May
Global Solo Challenge partners with the IACH
Honoured to work with the International Association of Cape Horners The organisers of the Global Solo Challenge are honoured to announce the partnership with the prestigious International Association of Cape Horners (IACH). Posted on 21 Apr
Global Solo Challenge and the Canaries
Are they the lucky islands? Even when a sailor's eye gets used to the vast horizon, the colours and tones of the sea and sky change every day... the open seas are never the same from one day to the next... Posted on 13 Apr
Ratings in a round-the-world yachting event?
Giving every competitor a fighting chance to win In the majority of sailing events, where different types of boats compete, there is normally a handicap system so as to give every competitor a fighting chance to win. Posted on 11 Apr
Global Solo Challenge partner TÜV Thüringen Italia
Addressing the sustainability implications of running a global event The Global Solo Challenge has decided to address the sustainability implications of running a global event by partnering with TÜV Thüringen Italia. Posted on 9 Apr
Armstrong-A-Wing-728x90 gif BOTTOMHyde Sails 2021 - Basic FOOTERSea Sure 2020 - FOOTER