Three more GSC skippers take to the sea

By Margherita Pelaschier / Global Solo Challenge

On Saturday, October 21, three more solo sailors began their adventure in the Global Solo Challenge: William MacBrien, a Canadian skipper, on the Class40 Phoenix (formerly SecHayai); Pavlin Nadvorni, a Bulgarian skipper, on the Farr45 Espresso Martini; and Ari Känsäkoski, a Finnish skipper, aboard the Class40 ZEROChallenge (formerly Fuji). In A Coruña, amidst white clouds of cumulus and cirrus layers that decorated the sky like brushstrokes, the sun peeked out, blessing the departure of the three competitors. A brisk and cool northwest wind blew around fifteen knots, and temperatures were still reasonable, around 12-15 degrees Celsius.

William MacBrien, aboard Phoenix, appeared in high spirits and was the first to cross the starting line. He was followed by Josh Hall on a dinghy, his project manager and experienced sailor, who had helped him prepare his project up to the departure day. The boat was ready and tidy, and the skipper was in good shape, although William had to set off with a black eye and a cut lip due to an accidental fall on a mooring line the day before, but nothing serious.

The Canadian skipper chose a conservative sail setup for the start. Phoenix sailed with its staysail and a mainsail with one reef, looking a bit underpowered in the big swell persisting from the previous day’s storm.

Second to cross the start line was Pavlin Nadvorni aboard Espresso Martini, also relaxed, eager, and ready for a long time. After years of preparation and commitment, he couldn’t wait to start. Being on the starting line of the Global Solo Challenge for this sailor, who has invested so much in achieving this dream, was already a victory in itself.

Espresso Martini was set with a full mainsail and genoa, and Pavlin quickly gained speed, rapidly taking the lead among the three departing competitors.

For Ari Känsäkoski, aboard ZEROChallenge, the last days before the departure were hectic, finishing many last-minute tasks. However, he managed to leave just fifteen minutes behind the others, taking some extra time to load and arrange the last items and bid farewell to many friends and his extensive team that had supported him in Spain. Once at sea, ZEROChallenge quickly found its pace, catching up to Phoenix in no time.

Ari, although sailing the same type of vessel as William, chose a more aggressive sail setup than the Canadian skipper. ZEROChallenge sailed with its solent and one reef in the mainsail.

The departure went smoothly, although the residual swell from Friday’s storm was quite pronounced. After passing the breakwater, the skippers headed north, facing waves of at least three meters which however did not stop their progress.


Continue to the GSC website

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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