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Canadian parachutist William MacBrien enters the Global Solo Challenge

by Global Solo Challenge 4 Feb 11:44 PST
William MacBrien © Global Solo Challenge

Canadian parachutist William MacBrien has won several gold medals in the discipline and is a record holder with more than 3000 jumps in the x2 category.

He certainly has a strong capacity to prepare for and mitigate risks and was attracted by the Global Solo Challenge as it sailing solo in remote waters means he will need to get things right the first time round or face serious trouble. As with many other skippers he has inherited his passion for sailing from his father. He plans to find and refit an older Open 50 for the event.


Where does your passion for sailing come from?

I developed a passion for sailing from my father, who was a retired Navy Carrier Pilot, 1964 olympic sailor in dragon class, and used to navigate for Ted Hood. After he started a boat building company, making 40ft cruising boats, in 1975. I was 10 ! The rest you can imagine.

What lessons have you learnt from sailing?

At one point I was thrust into watch officer position suddenly ona 72' Brigantine, and was ordering my peers around. So I realized some leadership while reveling in the true age of sail... (square rigged)

Problem solving. There's the right way, and the slow way. Or, everything takes twice as long and costs double.

What brought you to like single-handed sailing?

So far, because it seemed the easiest to organize. Oops, I have to do everything myself I realize now. So, I am so very lucky to have a capable team heading up management to back check me on decsions.

The risk management in this race is like no other. You have to be able to do everything to save yourself the first time. Just like skydiving. So looking forward to the challenge!

What prompted you to sign up for this event?

Pure and simple the impetus was the pandemic lockdown. (my demon)

The boat will be named Demon Banshee, Banshee is 'Herald of the family dead' and so I shall be sailing for 3 of my family who have passed recently (father, sister, B-in-law- all non covid)

How do you plan to prepare for this event?

Train and then train some more. Become VERY familiar with the boat. I have a training route planned to build distance, and will max out at 'crossing the atlantic' for the race start. Coaching is also being looked at. Oh and make 40 checklists.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge?

For me personally, I am not looking forward to the food. I have never heard anyone say anthing good about any freeze dried food.

Tell us about your boat or the boat you would like to have.

If everything goes according the current plan.. an older Open 50 vessel.

Do you intend to link this personal challenge with a social message?

Looking into it!

Sailing experience

I raced at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club: lasers, sprites, Optimists prams. Bit of time in 8metres, bit of time in short lived hobie cat class, and finally some windsurfing. Managed a bronze, a trophy and that was it. Boat delivery for a bit. Then skydiving took over...instructor, coach, won a few golds (8manteam). Canadian record holder x2, 3000 jumps.

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