Please select your home edition
37th AC Store 2024-two-728X90 TOP

Philippe Delamare wins Global Solo Challenge

by Marco Nannini / Global Solo Challenge 26 Feb 09:35 PST 24 February 2024
Philippe Delamare wins the Global Solo Challenge © Philippe Delamare - Mowgli @globalsolochallenge

On Saturday February 24th at 3 minutes past 3 pm, local time, Philippe Delamare crossed the finish line by the breakwater of the Galician city of A Coruña winning the first edition of the Global Solo Challenge on Mowgli, 147 days and 1 hour after leaving for his circumnavigation on September 30th 2023.

His arrival was triumphant, epic and emotional. Huge waves were smashing by the Tower of Hercules, the iconic outpost that marks the western end of the bay of A Coruña, the oldest lighthouse still in function, built nearly two millennia ago. Even driving a rigid work power boat we had to head out towards Philippe very slowly, and zig-zag to avoid breaking waves.

When we spotted a white sail behind the crests it was initially difficult to keep visual contact, was it him? The sail kept approaching and disappearing behind walls of water, when we saw a first glimpse of Mowgli's distinctive orange hull we all gasped: it was him!

Philippe was sailing with just a partially furled headsail, two days before he had broken his boom and could not use the mainsail. The staysail halyard had ripped off the deck between Uruguay and Rio leaving him with a limited choice of sails. The boat was rolling violently in the waves as Philippe followed the only safe approach to A Coruña in such weather conditions. There is a half mile gap between the coast and some rocky shallows to the north where waves were breaking heavily.

Mowgli kept going despite her numerous scars and all the signs of the hardship of the circumnavigation. A rescue boat of the Guardia Civil came out and seemed to be wanting to protect the boat and skipper on their last few miles. They powered ahead and positioned themselves before the rocky shoals where Philippe had to gybe one last time to head south towards the finish lime. When he did, the powerboat showed the way to the finish line between the breakwater and a lateral red buoy which also happens to be the safe channel to approach A Coruña in a storm.

As Mowgli crossed the finish line the Guardia Civil started sounding their horn and Philippe raised his arms holding two red hand flares. We tried to keep the live streaming session going on Instagram and Facebook despite the waves and difficult conditions but thousands of people were connected from around the world to watch him fulfill a dream of a lifetime as well as take overall victory.

During the live broadcast Cole Brauer shared the live with her more than 400 thousand followers and sent her congratulations. Congratulatory messages poured in from all over the world as well as from all the other competitors with internet access. Francois Gouin commented "You were immense, bravo", Riccardo Tosetto wrote "He is the number one, not only because he is the first to arrive, just amazing". Andrea Mura added, "today is the day to congratulate the winner of the Global Solo Challenge, Philippe Delamare, who crossed the finish line after a last storm that broke his boom... Great sailor, great performance, he has shown high skills in sailing around the globe on this long journey".

At the dock in Marina Coruña a small group of family and friends who had braved the horrible weather were waiting for him to dock, the rain had stopped to let all witness the arrival, in between the morning and afternoon heavy downpours. Philippe popped the cork of a local bottle of cava and dedicated most of the drink to Mowgli, generously pouring the sparkling wine on the deck and thanking her for the voyage, caressing the mast and letting her enjoy the bubbly and inebriating taste of success and victory.

Philippe raised his trophy with that subtle smile that spoke a thousand words, he probably was aware that it would take quite some time for things to sink in, as five months at sea don't just come to a sudden end. Philippe then went to hug and meet all those who had waited, dreamed and suffered with him throughout his circumnavigation.

Sailing legend Jean-Luc Van Den Heede paid a surprise visit and jokingly said it was strange for him to be the one welcoming Philippe after a circumnavigation as he has so many times been on the other side.

Jean-Luc wanted to enter the event on the boat he had completed his first circumnavigation on, taking second place in the 1986 BOC Challenge on Let's Go. He would have liked to close the circle of his stellar career as navigator by sailing his last circumnavigation on the boat that had first taken him around the world. Unfortunately some technical details which would have required work and resources made Jean-Luc desist. There was some friendly banter as Philippe said it would have made winning a lot harder, if not impossible, had the record holding French veteran had made it to the start.

More and more details came to light as the tired but relaxed Philippe told of his adventure. He shared with us that he had very nearly stopped in Hobart. He spent a week where many things went wrong in quick succession and he felt overwhelmed, unsure if he wanted to take on the long pacific crossing with mounting technical problems.

Read on here...

Related Articles

Against the odds
Tales of the Global Solo Challenge 2023-2024 The Global Solo Challenge (GSC) 2023 marked the launch of a new solo nonstop round-the-world sailing event with a unique format. Posted on 15 Jun
Entries open for the GSC 2027-2028
Vigo will provide the perfect backdrop for the GSC The GSC offers a framework for non-elite sailors to achieve a common dream of completing a solo nonstop circumnavigation via the three great capes. Posted on 4 Jun
Vigo host city for 2027-2028 Global Solo Challenge
The move to Vigo marks a significant milestone in the event's evolution The Global Solo Challenge (GSC) is excited to announce that the vibrant city of Vigo and its prestigious Real Club Náutico de Vigo will be the starting and finishing port for the second edition of the event to be held in 2027-2028. Posted on 28 May
Media analysis of first Global Solo Challenge
Sharing some of the highlights from third-party media analysis With the first edition of the Global Solo Challenge 2023-2024 drawing to a close, we commissioned a third-party media analysis to assess the results. Posted on 21 May
Route to the Global Solo Challenge 2027-2028
The cold temperatures of the deep South are finally well behind Louis Robein Louis Robein, the last competitor still at sea in the Global Solo Challenge 2023-2024, has reached the latitude of Rio De Janeiro but most notably, today, has crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. Posted on 16 May
One more storm, two more oceans
For the Global Solo Challenge 2023-2024 Louis Robein is the last competitor in the Global Solo Challenge 2023-2024 who is still at sea, we have all followed his resilience and determination as he faced trials and tribulations in his epic voyage. Posted on 7 May
GSC achieves sustainability & environmental goals
The verification of the compliance with the standard was conducted in two phases TÜV Thüringen congratulates the organization and participants for their achievements in the Global Solo Challenge. Posted on 2 May
David Linger takes 6th in Global Solo Challenge
His journey was at times extremely difficult, even after arrival Sunday April 21st, at 2:03 pm local time, after 175 days, David Linger crossed the finish line of the Global Solo Challenge taking 6th place on his Owen Clarke designed Class40 #15 Koloa Maoli. Posted on 24 Apr
Linger nearing A Coruña at Global Solo Challenge
Less than 600 miles away from A Coruna David Linger is less than 600 miles away from A Coruna, the weather forecast shows he will be facing headwinds all the way to the finish. Posted on 16 Apr
Louis Robein assisted by Argentinian Navy
He was very fatigued when the incident happened Yesterday Louis Robein arrived safely in Ushuaia after his unfortunate ordeal, running aground in Bahia Aguirre, in the southeastern peninsula of Mitre in the Tierra del Fuego. Posted on 9 Apr
Vaikobi 2024 FOOTERPredictWind - GO! exec 728x90 BOTTOMLloyd Stevenson - TTSkorpios 728x90px BOTTOM