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Kevin Le Poidevin sets off for Global Solo Challenge to combine sports and solidarity

by Margherita Pelaschier / Global Solo Challenge 24 Nov 2023 02:40 PST 24 November 2023
Kevin Le Poidevin - Open 40 Roaring Forty © Philipp Hympendahl

Yesterday, November 23rd at approximately 13:30 local time (12:30 UTC), Kevin Le Poidevin set off in north easterly winds of around 10 knots and a weak late autumn sunshine, from A Coruña aboard his Open 40' Roaring Forty.

Various unforeseen events, including a back injury and last-minute technical issues, forced him to postpone his departure for the Global Solo Challenge, initially planned for October 28th. However, the Australian sailor, born in 1961, did not lose his motivation and continued with determination to pursue his dream of completing a solo circumnavigation of the globe. Accompanying him in these last days was German skipper Philipp Hympendal, who aspires to join the GSC 2027-'28. Hympendal bid him farewell on the dock of Marina Coruna and took some beautiful photos of Roaring Forty in the bay.

Le Poidevin dedicated thirty-one years to service in the Royal Australian Air Force and, once retired, chose to dedicate himself to his sea adventures. "The need to be close to the sea is in my DNA. I believe that military life and navigation are complementary. Both require discipline, patience, mental agility, and endurance. Moreover, maintaining good physical fitness, motivation, and applying critical thinking to analyze and evaluate one's own abilities and those of others is essential."

The Australian skipper chose to face this significant challenge aboard an Open 40', a predecessor of the Box Rule of Class40, christened Roaring Forty. This vessel, known for its excellent performance and reliability, was designed by Adrian Konynendyk of Lutra Yacht Design and built in Estonia by Akton Yachts.

His motivation is undoubtedly the desire to test himself in an adventurous environment where his actions have limited influence. In an interview, he expressed his affinity with the words of the English explorer Ernest Shackleton, who stated, "I believe it's in our nature to explore, to reach the unknown. The only real failure would be not to explore at all." Among the various challenges Kevin had to face in his project, one of the most demanding was certainly managing his campaign from a great distance from his country, coordinating the refitting work of the vessel between the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

With Kevin Le Poidevin's departure, the number of skippers at sea in the GSC rises to fifteen. Andrea Mura, aboard Vento di Sardegna, left the Galician port last Saturday and is sailing in the trades through the Canary Islands. Alessandro Tosetti on Aspra has crossed the equator. Cole Brauer is chasing Ari Känsäkoski and Pavlin Nadvorni, who are through the transition zone between between the trade winds and the Southern Oceans. Louis Robein faced strong winds associated with a deep low pressure but is now sailing in light winds and trying to move south to find following winds. On the evening of November 23, Edouard De Keyser safely reached Cape Town where he needs to address some technical issues with watermaker and autopilot to be able carry on safely in the GSC. Holding first place in the virtual ranking, Philippe Delamare is sailing in the Indian Ocean aware of the need of preserving his boat in the South and is about to face another deep low. Leading the fleet on the water and third in the expected time of arrival ranks is Dafydd Hughes ticked off another milestone on November 22 at 14:50 UTC, as he crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, the second of the three great capes before the legendary Cape Horn.

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