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North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

Global Solo Challenge: Édouard De Keyser has the energy of dreams

by Margherita Pelaschier 15 Sep 06:26 PDT
Édouard De Keyser ahead of the Global Solo Challenge © GSC

Marina Coruña is back in celebration: the second half of this September promises to be full of events and emotions. The departure of Édouard De Keyser, the only Belgian skipper entered in the Global Solo Challenge, is scheduled for Saturday, September 16th at 3:00 pm local time (1:00 pm UTC). He will be followed by two other French skippers: Louis Robein, on September 23rd, and Philippe Delamare on September 30th.

In order to put his project together, Édouard, truly put into practice his belief that "with the energy of dreams, mountains can be moved." Aboard his Solaire 34 'SolarWind', a prototype designed by French architect David Reard and built in wood and epoxy resin by Jacques Riguidel, he aims to circumnavigate the globe without using fossil fuels.

"For me, sailing embodies a dual virtue: freedom and respect for the planet. I embraced these values from my beginnings in boating and have been happy to meet, over the years, other sea enthusiasts who share this philosophy. One can travel differently, without leaving a carbon footprint and without resorting to motor-sailing, even if it means slowing down and accepting some discomfort. I want to prove that it's possible to face even great challenges, like a round-the-world trip, while preserving the environment at the same time. Certainly, this type of navigation requires some sacrifice and extra attention, such as monitoring one's water and energy consumption and adopting a more responsible approach.

During my journey, I will tell the story of my slow but nature-harmonious path. I admire initiatives like that of François Gabart, who, along with four other partners, presented the project of a sailing cargo ship with the aim of decarbonizing maritime transport. I support the idea that one must be 'technologically smart', also accepting a certain voluntary sobriety. After returning from the GSC, my dream is to engage in similar projects."

The GSC has been a great success in Belgium, where not only sailing enthusiasts but also many athletes and the media have shown interest in the event. "The idea is very original and, being part of this small world, has attracted a lot of attention. In Belgium, media coverage is very good. During my journey, I will do a live broadcast during the three-day 'Into the Blue' festival in Brussels," Édouard stated.

Édouard De Keyser's SolarWind project, aiming for zero carbon emissions, enjoys the support of several Belgian partners and has received the backing of Princess Esmeralda of Belgium. In June, the skipper received a very special recognition: the Princess and the GoodPlanet Belgium team awarded him the Blue Flag thus becoming godfather and ambassador for GoodPlanet Belgium. De Keyser emphasizes his commitment to sustainable development.

The Blue Flag certifies high standards in terms of quality and sustainability for beaches and ports. Boat owners also play a crucial role, and Édouard, by sailing without the use of fossil fuels, embodies this commitment to the protection of marine ecosystems.

Last November, while the start of the Route du Rhum was postponed due to adverse weather conditions, Édouard completed his 2,000-mile qualification for the GSC. During this challenging navigation, he dispelled any doubts about the nautical qualities and safety of his boat, SolarWind.

Continue reading the full article here...

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