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Global Solo Challenge: Riccardo Tosetto's lifelong circumnavigation dream is in sight

by Marco Nannini / Global Solo Challenge 29 Mar 07:58 PDT 29 March 2024
Riccardo Tosetto - Obportus - Global Solo Challenge © Riccardo Tosetto

Riccardo Tosetto is less than a day of sailing away from making a lifelong dream come true. Just over 100 miles separate the young Italian skipper from completing his solo nonstop circumnavigation by the three great capes.

After his compatriot Andrea Mura, Riccardo Tosetto will make sailing history by becoming the 6th ever Italian to achieve this incredible goal, joining the elite of less than 200 men and women who ever did so since 1969 whe Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to successfully complete the voyage.

Riccardo's sailing life was shaped by meeting at the age of 13 a key person who became his mentor for many years to follow: Angelo Preden. They sailed all over the Mediterranean together and when Riccardo, 18 years ago, started working with his own boat as a professional charter skipper, Angelo kept mentoring him. They crossed the Atlantic twice together. Preden is a very well known sailor in Italy, with a life spent at sea. He notably participated in the 1976 OSTAR on his 9m boat "Caipirinha", in what became the most famous of all editions of the single-handed transatlantic race which had reached its peak with 125 starters and the incredible participation of Alain Colas on his 236ft Club Mediterranée. Eric Tabarly was sailing on Pen Duick VI, the same 73ft ketch now being sailed by his daughter Marie.

Every participant, including Riccardo, have their sailing heroes, in his case these are Francis Joyon, Thomas Coville and Alex Thomson. When he learnt on social media about the Global Solo Challenge he saw a window of opportunity to emulate them at a scale accessible to him and within the constraints of his financial possibilities. Riccardo admits that he probably would have not entered without the encouragement of his close friend Enrico Candeloro of Worldappeal who took care of gathering sponsors and dealt with all aspects of communications and even more importantly with the close support of his partner Valeria who gave him the determination he needed to focus on his preparation which he carried out with his close friend Filippo. During the event Andrea Giorgetti of Yachtprohub followed the entire circumnavigation as his shore based router.

Born in 1985, Riccardo works as a charter skipper with his own boat, primarily in Greece, a venture he started 18 years ago, meaning his entire life has been close to the sea. His experience in boat maintenance and core seamanship really came through during the Global Solo Challenge. At the start he made it very clear that his goal was to finish without stopping. He knew that he would sacrifice some of his performance to ensure he would not miss his primary goal. He accepted from the start that this would affect his ranking but Riccardo paced his navigation with determination and resolve and he surely must be proud he will grab 4th place, considering more than half the fleet retired.

Like every skipper in the Global Solo Challenge he faced difficult times due to storms and equipment failures. His most difficult moments were the sea state and need to find his sea legs right at the start, in big waves by Finisterre, the storm he faced right before Cape Horn when he suffered a knock down, the storm by the Falklands when he saw hellish conditions and even the storm he faced a couple of days ago saw him battling winds gusting over 60 knots.

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