After completing eight Solitaires du Figaro and a solo crossing of the Atlantic, Lyon-born Louis Robein is motivated to move on to the next stage, a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation, and the Global Solo Challenge provides him with the context for this new challenge.
Louis is the 24th entry in the Global Solo Challenge and there are many other skippers who are seriously interested in participating, the organization expects the number of entries to grow further in the coming months.
Where does your passion for sailing come from?
Originally from the Moselle, I was far from the sea and had the opportunity to take a dinghy sailing course when I was 17. I restarted the following years and in 1972 I started cruising courses, then every long weekend and I got carried away with the passion for sailing.
Longer and longer cruises and local races, then an Atlantic crossings and finally solo races.
How do you plan to prepare for this event?
I made small adjustments on the boat to navigate alone after several crossings in Corsica with novice crews to be able to manage the safety on my own.
In ten years I have sailed a lot (Corsica, Malta, Balearics, …) to get to know my boat well. Last year I did some solo sailing. This year I aim to complete the organisation of the boat in view of a crewed Atlantic crossing. Then the return single-handed. On my return I will finish the work to prepare the boat for the GSC and will sail to get used to all the new equipment that I will have installed.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge will be to finish the race favouring safety.
Global Solo Challenge: a unique format?
The format is unlike any other round the world solo sailing event and will make it fair and exciting for the Skippers as well as easy and engaging for the public and sponsors to follow:
A wide range of boats can enter – 32 to 55 feet.
Boats will be grouped by performance characteristics and set off in successive departures over eight weeks.
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 will feel quite daunting and emotional to be among the first skippers to set off. Equally it will be nerve wracking for those with a long wait before their departure.
The last skippers to set off will have to keep cool waiting for their turn to start the chase – do you agree?
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.