GSC – David Linger nearing A Coruña and more!

By Marco Nannini  / Global Solo Challenge
David Linger is less than 600 miles away from A Coruna, the weather forecast shows he will be facing headwinds all the way to the finish. We have seen with previous competitors that the weather gods always seems to want to leave the Global Solo Challenge skippers with a last moment lasting memory, perhaps so the they can go home proud and chest out knowing they had to earn every mile of their circumnavigation, as if they have not had enough challenges so get all the way near the finish! 

The positive thing of being at sea for 150+ days and having sailed for 2500+ miles is that you have built such a tolerance for discomfort that probably David is looking with so much anticipation at the prospect of finishing that a little 600 miles upwind beat to the finish feels just like any other day. He sure would have loved arriving in easy downwind conditions but when we recently exchanged messages I immediately felt like the armchair sailor I have become thinking how nasty it must be, whilst David was upbeat and happy to be nearly there. 

David’s participation in the Global Solo Challenge is one that I have very much enjoyed following. When we met in A Coruna it took me a few days to figure him out, the quietest American I had ever met, with a bike, a quirky sense of humour and witty sarcasm that had me quietly chuckle so many times. Certainly reserved and the opposite of outlandish, he was always calm with an impeccably prepared boat, sharing pleasantly erratic thoughts which certainly did not make him come through as particularly stressed.

His circumnavigation reflected David’s character, he quietly sailed mile after mile without any bold moves or too much sailing drama. His humour came in full display with his barbie doll Babs silently watching the sunset or his cat George peaking unexpectedly from hidden recesses of the boat. “Flat George” is a laminated photo of his real life cat. His screaming toy goat was just as random as you learn to expect from this unique and charming American skipper.

David has had his share of difficulties like any other in the event. However his first true test of character and determination was really unpleasant and came in the early stages of the event when he passed a kidney stone in the South Atlantic. Too far from anywhere to seek help, he had to bear the pain and dealt with the situation by phone with the help of Kathryn Jackson from his medical team, his partner Lillian’s and her mother Viv Kuehl. 

The Roaring Forties were approached with caution and prudence by David, a strategy that paid off with seemingly limited technical problems on board. Unfortunately just before Cape Horn a wave bigger than others decided to play havoc on Koloa Maoli, the boat suffered a severe broach and the boom broke. David very skillfully nursed the boat around Cape Horn under reduced sail and then pulled into Ushuaia for repairs. 

The South Atlantic threw at David one serious storm that forced him to switch to boat and self preservation mode. The two metal tillers in the cockpit were damaged and needed replacement but ultimately, despite the unavoidable apprehension, the challenge was overcome successfully. In the ensuing days the autopilot linear drive started to have problems, but after some back and forth consultations with shore the issue was resolved at sea.

Since then David made good steady progress to the north and milestone after milestone he crossed the equator and sailed toward the Azores in the NE trades. Now he can really start to feel the finish is within reach and he must be very pleased with himself and his brilliant circumnavigation in face of challenges and difficulties all addressed with his poised and calm approach yet showing great resolve and determination. We are expecting David to arrive Saturday 20th in A Coruna and we’ll post more accurate updates over the next few days. Don’t miss out on his arrival on our usual live broadcasts on Facebook or Instagram. 

David Linger is not the only skipper to have had to pull into Ushuaia, a place so remote in the mind of most, and referred even by locals as “the end of the world” is a safe port in all weathers, tucked in the middle of the Beagle channel in the Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Louis Robein, after rounding Cape Horn and after his unfortunate grounding accident is currently there for repairs to his boat Le Souffle de la Mer III, planning to resume soon his voyage. 

Louis earned the admiration of the entire following of the Global Solo Challenge with his epic navigation and incredible resilience in very difficult conditions. Following his grounding in the Bay of Aguirre a fundraiser was proposed by one of his close friends to help him cover the cost of the tow he received into Ushuaia. When search and rescue operations are carried out the focus is always the preservation of human life. Towing a boat is understandably a service which shouldn’t burden the taxpayers of the country assisting an individual and it is absolutely normal and fair that a leisure boat should be charged for it.

Insurance policies can cover such costs, however this was not the case for Louis who could only afford (as many other competitors) third party liability insurance as premiums are prohibitive to cover such types of voyage, if an insurer is found at all that offers cover. 

The wave of support from the public was just incredible, with nearly 30 thousand euros raised in a few days, the 15 thousand euros bill for the tow was immediately covered and left additional resources for Louis to address repairs and stopover costs.

Another skipper in this edition of the Global Solo Challenge earned huge respect for his incredible perseverance in a critical and difficult situation. Ari Känsäkoski dismasted north of the Kerguelens in late December on his Class40 Fuji, named ZEROchallenge for the event, and nursed his boat under jury rig in an epic 25 day voyage that saw him land in Durban, South Africa, mid January. 

Once in Durban Ari began a long and stressful investigation to evaluate all options such as fixing the mast and sailing back to Europe or selling the boat locally. Unfortunately Ari came to the conclusion that the only possible option to salvage his Class40 Fuji is to ship the boat back to Europe. 

The time Ari is allowed to keep a European boat in South-Africa is running out and even if he did fix the mast in time it will be too late in the season for a safe passage to Europe starting from the Southern hemisphere. Ari has no option: unless he takes the boat back to Europe he’d be losing huge sums to VAT and custom fees. He is in Durban working hard now to make a cradle suitable for shipping on an open top container at the end of the month.

This dead-end turn of events and the tight budget of the project has forced Ari to post an update asking for contributions to help him front the costs to build the cradle, ship the boat and fix the mast before even hoping to recoup any funds by selling the boat. 

Ari confided, however, that with the boat back in Europe he would really like to find a way to avoid selling the boat and work instead towards being on the start line of the Global Solo Challenge 2027. We can certainly learn a thing or two on the topic of not giving up easily from these amazing skippers.

As we did with Louis, we’ve offered to host his fundraiser on our site so that he can avoid the hefty commissions of crowdfunding platforms, we simply transfer all funds raised directly to the skippers. If you wish to contribute to Ari’s difficult situation, having to deal with the cost of the cargo, or perhaps contribute to keep his hopes to be on the start line in 2027 alive, you can make your contribution at this link:

https://globalsolochallenge.com/product/ari-kansakoski-fundraiser/

As I wrote in a recent update I was personally moved by such incredible support for Louis, whose humble self funded project has ended up being so inspirational, showing just how far the fortitude of an individual can stretch in adversity. Ari’s epic voyage back in January was just as incredible, 1200 miles under jury rig over 25 days to bring his trusty companion back to a safe port. It would really be a sad ending if he were forced out of his dream after so much effort. 

I think the human aspect of this incredible challenge and the amazing stories of the skippers have brought the event to life. I want to personally thank the ever growing public of the Global Solo Challenge for showing such support for these amazing skippers. It really makes me feel fortunate to be so deeply involved, making every moment special, including the sleepless nights when skippers were facing difficulties and the tension was high. It is quite charartic to be immersed in such positive stories, especially at a time when too many things seem to be going wrong with our world, all at once. Thank you all!

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Latest Rankings

RankBoatSkipperLast UpdateDTFFinish
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7Le Souffle de la Mer IIILouis Robein09/09/2024 12:00701103/07/24 09.39
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