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David Linger takes 6th place in the GSC, Louis Robein resumes his voyage

by Marco Nannini / Global Solo Challenge 24 Apr 09:02 PDT 21 April 2024
David Linger - Koloa Maoli © Global Solo Challenge

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. It is an outstanding achievement for David who overcame many challenges to reach the finish showing great determination.

Some of the pivotal moments of his circumnavigation were when he found himself passing a kidney stone at sea, breaking his boom just before Cape Horn, being forced to an unplanned stop in Ushuaia, and having to deal with a very severe storm north of the Falklands. David managed to overcome each difficult moment and successfully achieved his dream.

David's journey was at times extremely difficult and even after arrival, he remained reluctant to say much about the storm he faced off the Argentine coast, a time he really had to dig deep to get through the worst. He was forced to heave-to, a maneuver to stop the boat in a storm with two small sails set on opposite tacks. However, wide boats like Class40s are not the best suited for this storm tactic and David must have lived through some long hours of apprehension.

The week before his arrival was quite challenging too, with lots of upwind sailing and slamming on waves. Thankfully Saturday and Sunday the wind went light and gave David a break. He arrived during a gorgeous sunny spring day with a bright blue sky and gentle winds.

I was on the Global Solo Challenge rib with his twin sister Kathryn and "little brother" Steve as well as his girlfriend Lillian and friend Bob. We enthusiastically went out quite early to go and meet him. The wind was light and we ended well ast the tower of Hercules, 7 miles out, thinking we'd have a pleasant stroll with him to the finish in the glorious sunshine. Just as we reached him, the thermal breeze picked up and David went from sailing at 5 knots to doing 8 or 9. Needless to say we got absolutely drenched trying to keep up with him with the wind blowing every wave over us in the rib.

However, spirits were high, David was back, everyone just laughed off the wet ride although it became quite tricky to keep the livestream going and taking photos. Only on approaching the finish line David was able to ease the sheets and sail nearly downwind giving us a calmer moment to see him celebrate his accomplishment with the traditional lighting of two red hand flares.

Once at the dock he received the Global Solo Challenge trophy, sprayed the boat with champagne and received the International Association of Cape Horners burgee. His name will be added to the register of solo circumnavigators who had to stop for repairs such as Sir Francis Chichester who first completed this voyage with a stop in 1967.

When chatting with David it was clear he had not yet fully grasped the magnitude of what he had achieved. When talking about it, however, you could see he was getting emotional. It will take him time to fully appreciate the scale of the challenge he has undertaken, this adventure will become part of him for the rest of his life.

A voyage of this type is a defining experience that will forever mark a before and after, and David will come to appreciate it as he slowly regains his balance ashore and puts back some of the weight he lost at sea. What an incredible achievement, well done David.

Just as we welcomed David, I received a piece of news that many of us were waiting for. Louis Robein had completed his repairs and was getting ready to set sail again.

After just over two weeks in the Argentine outpost at "the end of the world", Louis Robein left Ushuaia today to continue his incredible circumnavigation. He began motoring in no winds yesterday to reach the point where he stopped racing when he headed for his stopover for repairs.

After starting his engine on April 6th, fatigued, in a dark moonless night, a navigational error saw him run aground in the bay of Aguirre and forcing him to seek assistance and receive a very expensive tow. He was not racing at the time and therefore external assistance did not disqualify him. In fact, the unfortunate incident gave rise to an amazing wave of support for Louis with a crowdfunding campaign launched by his friends to pay for the tow and repairs. Visit here

The boat was inspected by divers and did not sustain any damage. The rules would require an inspection ashore, as this proved to be a problem to arrange, Louis was forced to seek dispensation. Many asked whether he was bound by a date for departing, but when pulling into port after Cape Horn there is no specific deadline, so he was only warned about the risks of sailing in the South Atlantic in autumn.

Louis had to formally confirm he understands and accepts full responsibility for these additional risks. Yet, aside from the rules, everyone following the event was eagerly waiting for the news that Louis could resume his adventure.

We hope he will find favourable conditions to reach further north away from the South Atlantic storms, the most dangerous section of the navigation. A few thousand miles north, he will reach warmer latitudes towards the tropics and will begin sailing towards the northern hemisphere's summer. Bon courage Louis!

In other news, Ari Kansakoski is preparing his Class40 ZEROchallenge/Fuji for shipment to Europe where he hopes to find the means to keep his boat, repair the mast and start a campaign to be on the start line of the Global Solo Challenge 2027.

The public has not forgotten the epic effort and skillful navigation under jury rig that saw Ari save his boat after dismasting in the roaring forties and bring her back to a safe port, Durban. His fundraiser (LINK) has received a lot of support in the hope of helping Ari keel his dream of his solo circumnavigation alive.

Whilst Louis Robein's adventure continues, at the Global Solo Challenge it's time to start assessing the results achieved in this first edition of the event and look at the future. I am personally extremely happy with how the event has been welcomed by participants and the public, I don't think we could have hoped for a better overall result given the challenges of a first edition and the limited resources. We can start assessing all the positive points as well as those where we fell short and could have done better.

We can however confirm that we are already working on the next edition of the event, we will soon start introducing to you the skippers who have already decided to be on the start line of the 2027 edition as well as speak to all skippers of the 2023-2024 edition to learn more about their Global Solo Challenge, both from a personal and a technical point of view so that their experience can be passed forward.

We will start the process of selecting the partners needed to deliver a great next edition, to improve and grow, together with the help of sponsors that believe can benefit from being part of this event. If you wish to find out how you can be involved in this grand adventure why not contact us to discuss.

We tried our best in highlighting the human stories and the positive values that are behind this challenge which goes well beyond its competitive element. All of the participants have gathered the respect of the public; all of them were relatable and displayed their great determination and drive, inspiring many to also step out of their comfort zone, to confront their limits and fears, and seek to achieve their ambitions, not necessarily as sailors but in that intricate and mysterious challenge that is life itself. At a delicate time in history I think we all appreciate all the incredible and positive stories brought to us by all skippers who are the true heart of the event and whom we want to thank as organisers.

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