Just two months since launching and one month since releasing the provisional Notice of Event, the Global Solo Challenge 2023 (GSC) has already inspired huge interest from sailors and sailing media around the world.
Key numbers so far:
- Over 110 serious entrant enquiries
- Enquiries have come from over 25 different nations
- 70% of enquirers already have a suitable yacht
- Nine sailors have already entered the Global Solo Challenge
- Over 30 articles about the event have been published online
- Over 35,000 unique visitors to the GSC website
Josh Hall, GSC Event Consultant, who has previously organised two round the world sailing events, is enthused about the reaction to the GSC: “For a round the world sailing event to garner this level of entry interest in just two months is astonishing and the level of experience that these enquirers have is exceptional. It proves that there is a large pent-up demand for such an event, which enables sailors to take on this grand adventure with their own yachts and within a sensible budget.”
Tierra del Fuego – After rounding Cape Horn – photo © Global Solo Challenge
Marina Coruña, A Coruña, Spain to host the GSC
The port hosting the departure and arrival of a round the world sailing event is a hugely important consideration. Accessibility, geographical location in respect of prevailing weather conditions, a history of nautical ventures, a world-class marina and local marine services along with a spirit that matches the event are key points.
Within hours of being contacted by GSC Organisers, Marina Coruña had agreed to host the GSC – a sure sign of a synergy, which will undoubtedly develop strongly for the Event and it’s entrants.
The support of Marina Coruña and it’s Director, experienced offshore racing sailor Roberto Bermudez de Castro (known as Chuny), is a key factor for the Global Solo Challenge. Chuny’s endorsement of the Event is warmly welcomed as with seven Volvo Ocean races on his CV he understands the challenges of round the world sailing as few others do.
An eclectic entry list quickly developing
GSC Organisers were sure that there was a demand for a single-handed, non-stop around the world event, which could be entered with existing, more “normal” yachts. They have been proved correct with serious entry enquiries from every corner of the world. The 9 entries already committed showcase the diversity of sailors and yachts that the GSC is attracting.
Organisers fully anticipate the entry list will keep growing at pace – many sailors have registered their intention to enter when the time is right for them to do so and new enquiries arrive daily.
Patrick Phelipon – photo © Fabio Taccola / Golden Globe Race / PPL
A unique format to create a fair platform and spectator interest
A core value of the GSC is that having the fastest yacht and/or the largest budget is no guarantee of winning the event. With staggered group departures, based on an IRC handicap, the event will provide constant intrigue as the faster yachts pursue the slower yachts, which have started earlier. First boat home is the winner!
For entrants and event followers alike, this will provide a fascinating event to watch as it unfolds – the ultimate pursuit race.
This format also provides a natural grouping together and inter-competitor safety net as the fleet passes through the notorious Southern Ocean.
Staggered group departures – photo © Global Solo Challenge
Global Solo Challenge – an evolving event
As the enquiries roll in, GSC Organisers are evolving the event entry parameters to cater for demand. The final number of departure groups will be defined when the full entry list completed, but in the spirit of the event, appropriate sailors and yachts could and should be allowed to enter.
For instance, after numerous enquiries from owners of Class40 type yachts, Organisers have created a Super-Zero Group, which will be the last group to depart. This is also, clearly, stirring some activity in the second-hand Class40 market.
For clarity, Organisers state that neither a Class40 measurement certificate nor Class40 membership is a GSC requirement – these boats will enter under their allocated IRC rating.
Similarly, owners and potential buyers of Open40 yachts, such as GSC entry #9 “Roaring Forty”, a Lutra BOC Open 40, are looking closely at the GSC as a platform to maximise the potential of these fantastic boats which struggle to fit into most other events.
The GSC is breathing new life into certain types and classes of older yachts.
Roaring Forty – Lutra BOC Open 40 – photo © Global Solo Challenge
Associating with the Royal Western Yacht Club – the spiritual home of solo sailing
Like many solo sailors, GSC Organisers have previously participated in the classic short-handed races of the RWYC in Plymouth. The RWYC is regarded as the home of solo and double-handed oceanic racing, so it is with great pride that the GSC associates with this highly respected Club.
The OSTAR 2021 and their new event, The Round Iceland Race 2023 can act as qualifier passages for GSC entrants and their double-handed Round Britain & Ireland Race 2022 could provide excellent training.
The GSC does not demand a race qualifier for their entries, but the rigours of these RWYC events can provide an excellent way for entrants to train and qualify at the same time.
Acting Rear Commodore Oceanic, Adrian Gray said “This is a great opportunity for both the RWYC and the GSC to work together in promoting the spirit of Corinthian, short-handed Oceanic Sailing – a discipline that the RWYC is proud to have created and continues to develop to this very day.”
GSC Event Director, Marco Nannini, commented “We are a new round the world event, but our principles mirror those of the RWYC and we are proud to associate. Like many, my first short-handed races were RWYC events. We are an event for ordinary sailors with ordinary boats who wish to do something extraordinary. We welcome the support and enthusiasm that the RWYC has shown to the GSC 2023 and look forward to a long-term relationship.”
Royal Western Yacht Club – photo © RWYC
An event that helps entries
GSC Organisers are experienced skippers themselves and fully recognise the commitment and issues that entering such an event entails.
Event Director, Marco Nannini commented: “Finishing is winning, to finish one must start well-prepared. We aim to help our entrants as much as we possibly can because we know very well what it takes to get to the start line of a major event.”
- A free crowd-funding platform to raise funds towards Entry Fees is available to each and every entrant
- Organisers are in discussions with insurers to hopefully provide yacht cover for entrants
- Entrants have access to the Organiser’s extensive experience and advice in preparing their yachts
- Numerous GSC discounts are being agreed with marine equipment suppliers
- Discussions are being held to provide emergency medical support during the Event
- Regular web conferences are planned with skippers covering the wide range of topics related to personal and yacht preparations
Marco Nannini – Cape Horn 2012 – photo © Global Solo Challenge
Organisers have received several enquiries regarding the course and whether there will be an “Ice Limit”. This has become standard practice and the Global Solo Challenge will indeed specify limitations as to how far south boats will be allowed. How this will be achieved is still a subject of internal debate.
Exact details will be available within the Sailing Instructions, closer to the event start, but there will be a fair and pragmatic approach to introducing a limitation to how far south a boat can safely sail, based on the seasonal information that will available for 2023.
GSC entry Jamie Young from Ireland – photo © Global Solo Challenge
Global Solo Challenge – the next two months
The Event achievements of the past two months are extremely positive for all involved. GSC Organisers will continue to work tirelessly on every element of the Event. Targets for the coming months are: expand the entry list, assist enquirers and entries with their questions, provide truly helpful aids to preparation, expand the equipment/service discount list for entries and continue to build the online profile and following of the Event.
by Global Solo Challenge