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Global Solo Challenge: Two out, ongoing preparations for the rest

by Margherita Pelaschier 20 Sep 08:02 PDT
Boats gathering in Marina Coruña prior to their departure © Global Solo Challenge

Less than a month after departure, Dafydd Hughes, the only Welsh skipper on his first solo round-the-world voyage aboard the Bendigedig, an S&S 34', is less than 200 miles from the equator.

Despite the few weeks spent at sea, Dafydd has consistently updated us on his adventures and encounters with marine wildlife. Every now and then, a bird perches onboard, offering some company to the sailor. Dafydd is managing his navigation superbly, even though he's in an area where weather forecasts are not always reliable.

"The situation at sea is complex. Often what I expect doesn't align with what actually happens. Currently, I plan to stay another day on this starboard tack, with winds coming from the west-southwest, waiting for them to rotate 180 degrees and start blowing from the east. From there, the route to the Cape of Good Hope should be more straightforward, with more consistent winds. However, things at sea are never that simple."

Dafydd describes how he's dealing with cloud masses that disrupt the wind direction. "The wind changes direction and intensity suddenly. I have to maneuver the boat under the rain, and despite the high temperatures, I sometimes feel a cold chill," he adds.

"Regarding rest, some nights are more eventful, but Dafydd has managed to maintain a good sleep rhythm. "I'm following my plan to sleep during regular nighttime hours. I haven't slept much over the last few nights, but I hope to catch up soon."

The Bendigedig Team has launched a challenge on social media: guess the exact date and time when Dafydd will cross the equator. It will be interesting to see who gets it right. "I had the ambitious goal to cross the equator today, Wednesday the 20th, but given the unstable weather typical of the Doldrums, it's more realistic to aim for Friday morning," Dafydd concludes.

In maritime tradition, the first crossing of the equator is a moment to celebrate with a unique ritual called the "Line Crossing Ceremony". In Anglo-Saxon culture, those who haven't crossed the equator are known as "pollywogs". Upon participating in the ceremony, the "pollywog" is promoted to the rank of "shellback" through a symbolic baptism that includes hilarious rituals and pranks on the "unfortunate". Dafydd, who has already crossed the equator during the Clipper Round the World Race, is already a "shellback" and is preparing to relive this symbolic passage.

Continue reading the full article here...

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