The Grand Departure of the GSC – seven skippers taking up the challenge

By Margherita Pelaschier / Global Solo Challenge

The atmosphere is electric on the eve of the most crowded departure, with seven skippers at the next start of the Global Solo Challenge. The pouring rain and the wind that have dominated in A Coruña in recent days have not deterred the competing sailors. Busy with last-minute preparations and safety checks, they celebrated with their families, friends, and teams on Thursday evening during a convivial event organized by the GSC. A ceremony is scheduled for Friday evening with the secretary of the International Cape Horners Association, Archie Fairley, who will bring a message of fair winds from President Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to the GSC participants and present Roberto Bermúdez de Castro, Director of the FI Group, with an acknowledgment for his roundings Cape Horn during his impressive seven participations in the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race.

The weather situation remains uncertain. How many skippers will decide to set sail and face the first night off Finisterre with a forecast of headwinds exceeding average 35 knots and waves over 5 meters? The creator and organizer of the GSC, Marco Nannini commented, “The competitors are evaluating their options. Unlike other events, in a round-the-world race, the boats are prepared, in theory, to face any weather condition. Therefore, the decision to start or possibly delay the start is up to each skipper under their own exclusive responsibility. All skippers are aware of the risks that wind acceleration near Cape Finisterre can pose, and some models indicate gusts of up to 50-60 knots, but the worst might pass shortly before the scheduled departure time, leaving skippers with the dilemma of whether to wait for conditions to further improve before casting off.”

Who are the sailors ready to set sail? Amongst those sailing Class40s, we have Riccardo Tosetto on Obportus 3, Juan Merediz on Sorolla, David Linger on Koloa Maoli, François Gouin on Kawan 3, and Cole Brauer on First Light. Ronnie Simpson on his Open 50′ Shipyard Brewing and Alessandro Tosetti on the ULDB 65′ Aspra complete the list of competitors taking up the challenge at this next departure.

Initially, eight skippers were expected to start. Kevin Le Poidevin on the Open 40 Roaring Forty, arrived in A Coruña on the night of October 25th, after a challenging passage from Falmouth. On Thursday morning, he informed the organizers of his decision to delay his start by a week due to a minor back injury sustained during the voyage.

American skipper Peter Bourke, aboard the Class40 Imagine, who was entered in the event and supposed to start on October 28, unfortunately announced his withdrawal a few months ago due to health issues.

With seven skippers on the starting line, let’s learn about their stories and where the passion of these extraordinary sailors originated. Ladies first… We discover the story of the only, young, and vibrant sailor, Cole Brauer, who aspires to become the first American woman to circumnavigate the world, solo and non-stop. Born in 1995, Cole didn’t come from a sailing family but found this passion during her university studies in Hawaii. “When I was young, I loved playing in nature, but it was in Hawaii that I began sailing and was embraced by the sailing community. I started sailing for pleasure, and then it became a job. When my mentor Tim Fetsch gave me Ellen MacArthur’s book in 2018, a horizon of possibilities opened for me, which has brought me to the GSC’s starting line today.”

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