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The 1st Solo Globe Challenger Departs


  • The 1st Solo Globe Challenger Departs

    Dafydd Hughes set sail raising the curtain on the Global Solo Challenge

    The flags of the Global Solo Challenge fly at Marina Coru?a: the great adventure has begun. Today 26th August 2023, at 15:00 local time (13:00 UTC), the Welsh skipper Dafydd Hughes, aboard his S&S 34 Bendigedig, crossed the starting line, embarking on his solo, non-stop journey around the world. About fifteen knots of wind from the west-northwest and a blue sky, occasionally covered by rapidly passing gray clouds with some showers, accompanied the first among the GSC competitors to leave A Coruna.

    Until yesterday, Dafydd was busy addressing last-minute issues, and he commented on his social media: “As everyone knows, on a boat, you always have to be ready for anything; sailing without hitches is impossible. I thought I would spend a quiet day with family and friends, but instead, I found myself dealing with a problem with the onboard computer systems. I could no longer send or receive emails. After hours on the phone with a Predictwind expert in the UK, by 20:00, fortunately, everything was back to working.”

    This morning, the atmosphere was calm, although the excitement was palpable on the dock. Family, friends, sponsors, and sailing enthusiasts traveled to A Coru?a from the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, and various cities in Spain to share this significant moment with Dafydd.

    For several days, other GSC skippers have shown the strong camaraderie that has built over time amongst entrants sending messages of support, encouragement and affection to Dafydd, who has the honor and challenging task of inaugurating the race and paving the way for everyone to follow. Juan Merediz, the Spanish skipper of the Class40 Waypoint who is not due to start until late October, joined Dafydd in A Coru?a to greet him in person, experiencing the immense joy he will experience himself in two months when it will be his turn to depart. “It’s finally starting! I’m excited and nervous! It’s fantastic! I didn’t want to miss Dafydd’s departure. I wanted to meet him in person and encourage him!”

    Some friends rented jet skis to accompany him as he prepared to set off. Once past the protection of the outer breakwater, the wind was steady but decidedly cool: today’s temperature was almost 20 degrees lower than just two days ago. After such an emotionally charged day, the navigator calmly hoisted the sails and waited for the departure time, managing to find peace and serenity, looking forward to the horizon. After keeping the boat upwind, slowly approaching the starting line, right at 15:00 sharp, he slightly bore away, allowing Bendigedig’s sails to fill, which immediately picked up speed heading north. Dafydd was in tune with his Bendigedig, his face relaxed. Finally, alone, to live this great dream together, lasting approximately 200 days.

    Tonight the wind will shift to the north and increase, allowing Dafydd to head directly towards Finisterre. Before departing, Dafydd stated that during the first two days he wants to sail cautiously and without pushing too hard in order to find his rhythm. “After the stress of the last day, due to a malfunction of the computer systems, I will calmly approach the first two days of sailing. I will hoist the mainsail and the J3, which are easier for me to handle.”

    Dafydd’s last comment before departure was a heartfelt thank you to those who helped and supported him. “My journey at sea begins today, but I wouldn’t be here without the support of my family, my sponsors, and the many people who follow me. I want to thank everyone, and I know that a simple ‘thank you’ cannot express how crucial your involvement has been in my adventure. In particular, I want to thank Joanna, without whom I don’t think I would ever have made it here today.”


    ABOUT The Solo Global Challenge:

    A unique format
    The format is unlike any other round the world event and will make it fair and exciting for the Skippers as well as easy and engaging for the public and sponsors to follow:

    Boats will be grouped by performance characteristics and set off in successive departures from August 26th, 2023 to January 6th, 2024.

    Once at sea, there are no classes. All boats will be sailing the same event. The faster boats will have to try to catch up with the slower boats, the pursuit factor creating competitive interest aboard and a fascinating event for the public and sponsors.

    The first boat to cross the finish line wins. The performance differential between the boats is taken into account in staggering the departures, eliminating the need to calculate corrected times.

    All entries will have a chance of winning – dramatic from beginning to end
    It may feel quite daunting and emotional to be among the first to set off on the adventure, with the remaining participants seeing you off.

    Equally it will be nerve wracking for those with a long wait before their departure, following on the satellite trackers the progress being made by the earlier starters.

    The last skippers to set off will have to keep cool waiting for their turn to start the chase. And hope they can put on a show like Jeremy Beyou on Charal in the most recent Vendee Globe, progressively carving his way through the fleet.

    The faster boats will need to sail fast and well to make up for the head start given to the slower groups.

    It will be the ultimate enactment of the tale of the tortoise and the hare, with steady cruisers being chased by performance thirsty skippers on faster boats. Who will cross the line first?

    Budget friendly
    The event format creates a fair and exciting event for all the participants, their sponsors and the general public.

    Budget alone should not be a deciding factor in how well each boat does.

    What type of boats can enter?
    The range of boats permitted in the Event is wide.

    From 32ft
    From classic long keel cruisers to more recent cruiser/racers.
    Also One-off Open designs and other racing boats such as Class40s, Open 50s and Open 60s.
    To keep budgets under control the Organisers do not wish anyone to build a boat specifically for the event.

    Entries and departure dates:

    Skipper / Boat Name / Sail# / Boat /TCC / Start Date

    Dafydd Hughes Bendigedig GBR 5383 L S&S 34 0.890 26/08/23 13:00 UTC

    Ivan Dimov Blue Ibis K4115T Endurance 37 0.890 26/08/23 13:00 UTC

    Edouard De Keyser SolarWind BEL 34 Solaire 34 1.010 16/09/23 13:00 UTC

    Louis Robein Le Souffle de la Mer III FRA 27697 X37 1.020 23/09/23 13:00 UTC

    Philippe Delamare Mowgli FRA 13 Actual 46 1.089 30/09/23 13:00 UTC

    Pavlin Nadvorni Espresso Martini BUL 545 Farr 45 1.188 21/10/23 13:00 UTC

    Ari Kansakoski Fuji FIN 38 Class40 1.208 21/10/23 13:00 UTC

    David Linger Koloa Maoli USA 15 Class40 1.215 28/10/23 13:00 UTC

    William MacBrien Phoenix NED 44 Class40 1.225 28/10/23 13:00 UTC

    Juan Merediz Waypoint ESP 69 Class40 1.225 28/10/23 13:00 UTC

    Francois Gouin Kawan 3 FRA 75 Class40 1.225 28/10/23 13:00 UTC

    Riccardo Tosetto Obportus ITA 60 Class40 1.230 28/10/23 13:00 UTC

    Kevin Le Poidevin Roaring Forty 7204 Open 40 1.240 28/10/23 13:00 UTC

    Peter Bourke Imagine USA 90 Open 40 1.250 28/10/23 13:00 UTC

    Ronnie Simpson Shipyard Brewing USA 50 Open 50 1.250 28/10/23 13:00 UTC

    Alessandro Tosetti Aspra ITA 14306 ULDB 65 1.250 28/10/23 13:00 UTC

    Curt Morlock 6 Lazy K USA 84 Open 60 1.470 09/12/23 13:00 UTC

    Volkan Kaan Yemlihaoğlu Black Betty TUR 1 Open 70 1.640 06/01/24 13:00 UTC
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