Anonymous entry #14 revealed: Ari Känsäkoski from Finland on his Class40
Ari Känsäkoski from Pernaja in Finland entered the Global Solo Challenge (GSC) nearly a year and a half ago when he was just the 14th skipper to sign up for the event back in April 2021. At the time he asked for his entry to remain anonymous to give him the time to train, build his campaign and announce his project when ready. We are very pleased to reveal his high profile entry in the GSC, Ari’s sailing experience and achievements are impressive. At the age of 17 he was inspired by Harry Harkimos whom he met at a talk about his participation in the BOC Challenge on his Swan 50 Belmont.
After many years of racing Ari realised he was ready to challenge himself and follow his dream of circumnavigation. He bought his Class40 #38 Fuji to participate in the Global Ocean Race (GOR) 2015 which was subsequently cancelled. Since then, there hasn’t been a nonstop version of a single-handed race suitable for his boat Fuji. The Global Solo Challenge, which he defines as friendly and with a sustainable format, has now opened the opportunity for him to make his dream come true.
Where does your passion for sailing come from?
Since I was 12 years old, I have been passionate about the elements of the sea and nature. As well as sailing, I used to be a mountain climber, and these two elements are the only ones that can deliver the vastness, calmness, and thrill at the same level. Stormy or peaceful mountains and roaring or calm ocean. The feeling is truest when you are in the middle of it alone.
What lessons have you learned from sailing?
Major values and skills in life:
-love of nature
-the importance of fighting climate change
-team player skills
-fairness to others
-first comes first thinking
-precise sailing skills
-and so so much more
Sailing is the backbone of my life and I see everything through sailing.
What brought you to like single-handed sailing?
I was working at our hometown yacht club and marina Gamlagarleby Segelförening on a summer job when I was 17. One day, Harry Harkimos was there on his Swan 50, Belmont. He was there for a promotion tour after his single-handed BOC Challenge race. The marina was quiet during working hours, and he showed me his boat and told amazing stories for half a day. That left me with an inner drive. Years of racing took me on a different path but now it is time to realise my dream.
What prompted you to sign up for this event?
I purchased my boat Fuji for Global Ocean Race 2015. Unfortunately, the race was cancelled. Since then, there hasn`t been a nonstop version of a single-handed race suitable for Fuji. I also love the relaxed format and easy entry-level into the race. The format is also sustainable enabling large variations of existing yachts to enter.
How do you plan to prepare for this event?
Our project has been preparing for solo circumnavigation since 2015. A lot of things have been done. Over the coming months, we will be fine-tuning Fuji’s performance and her skipper for the challenges of the event.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
My rest and eating routines. I am so focused on sailing that it will be a challenge to ensure I get into a solid routine to optimise my performance and results throughout the race.
Tell us about your boat.
Fuji is a Class 40 and was originally commissioned for Alex Bennet. Fuji is designed and built as a robust platform for single-handed CAT 0 racing.
Do you intend to link this personal challenge with a social message?
Absolutely, for me, contributing to social value has been a feature of my lifestyle for a long time. ZEROchallenge was initiated by me in 2015 and brought together many elements of my lifestyle into a project that showcases carbon-free life in all areas and activities. In this race, the Global Solo Challenge will be completed using renewable energy and the carbon footprint will be kept ZERO or even positive.
Forty years of active racing as a skipper and coach in several countries including France and the U.K. Top experiences are hard to list but some highlights include:
5 Finnish championships in dingy classes
Military Nordic champion 1990
Finnish offshore champion 2000
ARC class winner 2002
Finnish IRC ranked winner 2012
Best Vintage Class40 in World – and European Championship series 2017
Solo Round the Rock (original Fastnet course solo race), 2016 and 2018
RORC Transatlantic Race 2018
3 Fastnet races
Round Britain and Ireland 2018
About the Boat
Boat name: Fuji
Project: Owenclarke OCD40
Sail number: FIN 38
Displacement: 5500 kgs
Upwind sail area: 115 m2
Downwind sail area: 280 m2