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The Remaining Pack Departs

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  • The Remaining Pack Departs

    The Grand Start of the GSC:

    “Ladies and gentlemen, the show is on!

    verbs by Margherita Pelaschier
    30/10/2023




    At noon on Sunday, October 29th, the creator and organizer of the Global Solo Challenge, Marco Nannini announced on the skippers’ chat: “Ladies and gentlemen, the show is on!” wishing good winds to the seven sailors who just departed from A Coruna.

    From Saturday at 3:00 PM local time (1:00 PM UTC), the starting line was “virtually” open. From the time set by the organization, based on the boat’s performance, the competitors could leave the Galician port at any time. However, the skippers decided to wait due to particularly unfavorable weather conditions to begin a round-the-world trip smoothly. Off A Coruna, winds were recorded gusting over 40 knots and waves were being measured at 5-7 meters.

    The first to leave A Coruna, as the depression moved westward, was Cole Brauer, the American sailor on the Class40 First Light. A quiet departure, still shrouded in the darkness of the night, shared only with her crew. Her team accompanied her the first few miles at sea toward her dream, following her on a dinghy. At 5:38 local time, she crossed the starting line, officially beginning her round-the-world journey.



    Cole Brauer Class40 First Light ?Richard Mardens


    The other skippers preferred to wait for the early hours of the morning, with Sunday’s dawn arriving an hour early, as the clocks rolled back to standard time this weekend. Marina Coruna came to life, and the piers filled: many family members and friends gathered around the sailors’ boats to bid them farewell and witness this moment resulting from years of preparation and sacrifice. A Babel of languages between Spanish, English, French, and Italian, but emotional glances were enough to clarify everyone’s feelings.

    Juan Merediz, the only Spanish skipper on the Class40 Sorolla, was the first to leave the port, greeted and celebrated by many local supporters and his family, who could not hide their emotion. His sponsors were present in support of his campaign to promote offshore sailing in Spain. At 8:56 local time, he crossed the starting line.



    Juan Merediz Class40 Sorolla image GSC/Pep Portas


    Then it was the turn of the Italian skipper Riccardo Tosetto on the Class40 Obportus 3. A small Italian community of about twenty people had kept him company in recent days. Not everyone was able to postpone their return home by a day, but there were hugs, kisses, and tears. Especially a kiss from Valeria, his girlfriend who has been supporting him throughout this adventure and has left a piece of her heart onboard to support Riccardo and give him the strength to face the many challenges he will encounter. At 9:00 local time, he crossed the starting line. After a heavy downpour, a rainbow appeared, a sign of good luck as if to crown the extraordinary feat of his and all the GSC skippers.


    Riccardo Tosetto Class40 Obportus 3 image GSC-Pep Portas


    Ronnie Simpson was the third to cast off. In the days leading up to the departure, the American sailor always seemed tense and focused on final preparations. This morning, when he said goodbye to his loved ones, his team, and Whitall Stokes, the benefactor who donated Shipyard Brewing (formerly Sparrow), his Open 50’, he finally seemed relaxed. Looking towards the horizon, happy to find his sense of freedom at sea. At 9:09 local time, he crossed the starting line.



    Ronnie Simpson Open50 Shipyard Brewing image GSC/Pep Portas


    Aboard the ULDB 65′, Aspra, white like the crests of the Atlantic waves, skipper Alessandro Tosetti left after greeting and hugging his twin daughters Bianca and Giorgia, Raffaella, and his family members. The Italian had endeared himself to all participants. In the days leading up to the start, he had hosted each team for coffee or dinner, embodying the renowned Italian hospitality and sociability. The sea greeted him spectacularly, and a group of dolphins accompanied him on his first sea miles. At 9:13 local time, he crossed the starting line.



    Alessandro Tosetti ULDB 65′ GSC


    About an hour later, Francois Gouin, greeted by his large OKeania team – over forty people, including family, friends, and event and work partners – left Marina Coruna aboard his Class40, Kawan3. His twin daughters, Jade and Lou, who had traveled from Tahiti to see him depart, unfortunately, did not witness this moment as they had a flight to catch. However, in recent days, they had worked tirelessly to help their father, cleaning the hull of the boat and running errands around the entire city for the last needed items. They brought their joy and smiles as the greatest gift, both for Francois setting off and to support their mother Nanou during the separation from her husband for several months. At 10:25 local time, he crossed the starting line.


    Francois Gouin Class40 Kawan 3 ?GSC-Pep Portas


    David Linger, an American skipper aboard the Class40 Koloa Maoli, was the last of the group to leave Marina Coruna. His girlfriend, Lilly Miller Kuehl, also an avid sailor, stood by him until the last moment. She helped him hoist the mainsail in the harbor waters and gave him one last hug and kiss before jumping onto Brauer’s team dinghy. Onboard with him remained a special companion, “Flat George”, their virtual cat. To know his unique story, follow the event’s social channels. At 10:45 local time, he crossed the starting line.



    David Linger Class40 Koloa Maoli image GSC-Pep Portas


    All the sailors set out with a strong winds sail configuration: two-three reefs in the mainsail, and for some, a storm jib at the bow. Others opted for a jib, seeking more speed and power on the formidable ocean waves.





    During the past week, intense emotions enveloped everyone. Skippers experienced tense moments deciding on the best time to set off, trying to avoid the worst of the weather; moments of concentration during safety checks. There was also the joy of sharing this achievement with their hardworking teams and the cheer and camaraderie with their families and other skippers during social events organized by the GSC team on Thursday evening and Friday afternoon.





    Families felt the sadness of separation but also admiration and pride for the courage these sea men and women are showing in undertaking such an extreme endeavor.

    For the organizers, it was a great joy to support the efforts and dreams they believe in and to see up close the faces, looks, tears, and smiles of people who, with their varied and special stories, all deserve to become protagonists of this adventure.

    Last Friday, during a touching ceremony, Archie Fairley, secretary of the International Association of Cape Horners, invoked the association’s creed from the 1969 British Section rulebook. The IACH aims to “strengthen the bond of camaraderie that unites that exclusive group of men and women who have had the honor of rounding Cape Horn under sail.”


    GSC Skippers with Archie Fairley, secretary of the International Association of Cape Horners GSC image


    The GSC has given many non-professional sailors the opportunity to fulfill the dream of sailing solo around the world non-stop, and everyone believed in this first edition. A tight-knit and supportive community has formed, and even though each sailor will now face their own adventures alone, that bond will unite them for years, if not for a lifetime. Drawings from the children of the Marina Coru?a sailing school, who visited the boats on Saturday morning, convey with lightness and simplicity a fundamental message: “Global Solo Challenge, it’s possible! Have a great round the world voyage!”



    The full moon on Sunday night accompanied and illuminated the route of the fourteen GSC competitors at sea, scattered across various latitudes of the globe. The chase has begun!

    To stay updated on the competitors’ positions, the tracker is available on the GSC website: https://globalsolochallenge.com/tracking/ or by downloading the “YB Races” app, which allows you to track positions from your phone.

    The Global Solo Challenge started on August 26. Given its unique format, the 20 registered skippers are departing in staggered starts, depending on the performance of their boats.

    For more details on each skipper’s departure dates, please visit this link on the event website: https://globalsolochallenge.com/start-dates/
    Last edited by Photoboy; 10-30-2023, 12:12 PM.
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