New Global Solo Challenge entrant, Frenchman Robert Scharr has dreamed of sailing around the world in a competitive event all his life, especially at the time of the first edition of the Vendée Globe.
However, back then he didn’t have the financial means nor the time. When he saw the announcement of the Global Solo Challenge he saw the opportunity to fulfill his dream with his boat YAKO, an ULDB designed by Patrick Yalta and self-built. Robert is the 12th French skipper to enter the GSC within a very global list of entrants of up to 13 different nationalities.
Marco Nannini sat down and spoke to him about his entry and sailing in general.
Where does your passion for sailing come from?
Autonomy to move on water. I have always liked the contact with water. Water is an element which has made me bloom. Originally from Ivory Coast, I was attracted to the sea early on. I did my first sailing courses when I was 16 and I haven’t stopped sailing since. I built my first sailboat at the age of 23 (10m long), launched 18 months later.
What lessons have you learned from sailing?
Sailing taught me to be independent, to be able to confront the elements, and the pleasure of moving without assistance and playing with the wind.What brought you to like single-handed sailing?A first solo experience led me to a 53-day navigation from Abidjan to Brittany to bring my sailboat back. I had a lot of fun there, a great experience, which I want to repeat.
What prompted you to sign up for this event?
For many years, I have wanted to race around the world. First of all the inaugural edition of the Vendée Globe but without having the means and the time to do so. When I discovered your race, I thought it was time: the right moment and the boat.
How do you plan to prepare for this event?
Being an active sportsman by nature (swimming, cycling, running: long-distance races), I am in good physical condition.I plan to make long solo navigations in different weather conditions to properly prepare my boat. I have already sailed 20,000 miles with my boat. I plan to prepare the boat for single-handed racing conditions.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
First, to be on the starting line. Then to be confronted with the southern seas which remain for me and the boat – the big unknown.
Tell us about your boat or the boat you would like to have.
It’s an epoxy wood ULDB designed by Patrick Balta (reserved for him…) that I built. Its dimensions: 12 mx 3.16 m with 3m draft.It handles very well with and I have fun sailing in following winds, easy to manoeuvre.
I have sailed 50,000 miles including 20,000 solo on my boat YAKO.
About the boat:
Boat name: YAKO
Sail number: FRA 43054
Boat design: Enfant perdu (Patrick Balta)
Year built: 2014
Upwind sail area: 90m2
Downwind sail area: 150m2
For more information on the GSC, see: https://globalsolochallenge.com/