Robein and Delamare in pursuit of Hughes and De Keyser

By Margherita Pelaschier / Global Solo Challenge

On Saturday, September 30, under a clear sky and a light breeze from the southeast which later shifted to the north and summer temperatures above 25 degrees, two more competitors from the Global Solo Challenge set off, both French: Louis Robein and Philippe Delamare.

Robein, who had finally managed to resolve the issues with his boat’s engine, the X-37 Le Souffle de la Mer III, was able to embark on his around-the-world journey with peace of mind. His sister Marie-José, who flew in with her husband from France to support him, recalled the intense past week: “When Louis arrived in A Coruña on Saturday, September 22, sailing from Portugal without the use of his engine, he was immediately greeted by the GSC organiser, Marco Nannini, and the efficient and prepared Marina Coruña team. Marco, with his kindness and helpfulness, provided great support, restoring his confidence in overcoming the challenges. By Wednesday, the mechanics had installed the new and repaired parts, and when we heard the engine roar to life, it was a huge relief. Louis, however, always remained calm, and I admire him for that. On Saturday, 30th, just a week after his arrival from Portugal, Louis was able to set off to realise his dream. I wish him all the best on his journey, and we’ll be in A Coruña waiting for his return.”

Delamare had delivered his Actual 46 Mowgli from La Rochelle ten days prior to the departure, where he had completed crucial tasks, such as applying fresh anti-fouling to the hull. During this transfer, he sailed to A Coruña with Catherine Chognot, a skipper friend who later assisted him in the final week’s preparations. Philippe was joined by other friends and family members, including Thierry Levayer. Both seasoned sailors, Philippe and Thierry had met in the Canary Islands fifteen years ago when both were sailing around the world with their families on their respective boats. Thierry, who had previously discussed at length with Philippe about mental preparations and weather considerations for this venture, told us more about his friend’s final days ashore: “His boat was ready, and Philippe was calm and collected, yet eager to depart. Even though he understood the challenge ahead, he hadn’t fully grasped its magnitude mentally. With his experience, I am confident he will make his dream come true. As he set off, I saw him filled with emotion and motivation. Fair winds, Philippe. I’ll be waiting for your return, and we’ll have many more adventures together!”

Louis Robein departed shortly after 11:00 local time (09:00 UTC). It was a joyous moment despite the windless calm. With a rising tide creating a mild opposing current and no wind, Louis had to wait patiently for over two hours for a breeze to fill in so he could finally gain miles away from the bay. Friends and family shared this eagerly awaited moment with him on the support boat of the GSC organization. Louis, while waiting for the wind, listened from afar to video calls from those following him in France and the cheerful comments of those present. Perhaps accustomed to the Figaro races, he might have dreamt of a more adrenaline filled departure, but the sailor enjoyed this victorious moment, finally being on the start line, with his usual calm and patience. When the boat gained speed in the light breeze, a peaceful smile lit up his face, already looking forward to the adventure ahead and the horizons of distant oceans.

Philippe Delamare set off at 15:00 local time (13:00 UTC), punctually, as scheduled by the GSC organization, with his friends cheering him on from the support boat. Relaxed and in good spirits, he made clear from the beginning his serious intentions for the GSC. On crossing the start line between the green lighthouse on the breakwater and a fixed red buoy not far away in the bay, he unfurled his code zero set on the bowsprit. He quickly picked up good speed despite the light breeze, around 4-5 knots from the north, leaving the bay of A Coruña upwind. Before focusing entirely on sailing, he allowed himself a moment of euphoria to celebrate this first milestone, so significant and challenging for all sailors. With loud music playing in the cockpit, he waved goodbye to the lyrics of Queen’s song, “Don’t stop me now”: “I feel alive… And I’ll go around the world… So don’t stop me now… Because I’m having a good time.” Even Mogwli, with its orange hull, adorned with photos of the children from Anne Sylvestre school in Rouen, seemed to whisper to Philippe, “Give me wind and I’ll give you miles…” much like “Joshua” did with Moitessier, almost sixty years ago.

We collected messages of encouragement from friends and family of Louis Robein and Philippe Delamare….

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Start dates

SkipperBoat NameBoatTCCStart
Dafydd HughesBendigedigS&S 340.890STARTED 26/08/23
Ivan DimovBlue IbisEndurance 370.890DID NOT START
Édouard De KeyserSolarWindSolaire 341.010STARTED 17/09/23
Louis RobeinLe Souffle de la Mer IIIX-371.020STARTED 30/09/23
Philippe DelamareMowgliActual 461.089STARTED 30/09/23
Pavlin NadvorniEspresso MartiniFarr 451.18821/10/23
Ari KänsäkoskiFujiClass401.20821/08/23
William MacBrienPhoenixClass401.21021/10/23
David LingerKoloa MaoliClass401.21528/10/23
Juan MeredizWaypointClass401.22528/10/23
Cole BrauerFirst LightClass401.22528/10/23
François GouinKawan 3Class401.22528/10/23
Riccardo TosettoObportusClass401.23028/10/23
Kevin Le PoidevinRoaring FortyOpen 401.24028/10/23
Peter BourkeImagineOpen 401.25028/10/23
Ronnie SimpsonSparrowOpen 501.25028/10/23
Alessandro TosettiAspraULDB 651.25028/10/23
Andrea MuraVento di SardegnaOpen 501.37018/11/23
Curt Morlock6 Lazy KOpen 601.47009/12/23
Volkan Kaan YemlihaoğluBlack BettyVolvo Open 701.64006/01/24

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:

  • wide range of boats can enter which must be over 32ft
  • Boats will be grouped by performance characteristics and set off in successive departures over 3 months with the first start on August 26, 2023.
  • 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.
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