Global Solo Challenge
The Global Solo Challenge is a single-handed without assistance around the world sailing event with a unique format.
It will depart from A Coruña, Spain in September 2023.
It is for sailors on a wide range of boats seeking the challenge of a competitive solo circumnavigation under the umbrella of an affordable, well organised and controlled event that puts the safety of participants first.
Full details can be found in the Notice of Event.
A unique format
The format is unlike any other round the world event and will make it fair and exciting for the Skippers as well as easy and engaging for the public and sponsors to follow:
Boats will be grouped by performance characteristics and set off in successive departures over 11 weeks.
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.
All entries will have a chance of winning – dramatic from beginning to end
It may feel quite daunting and emotional to be among the first to set off on the adventure, with the remaining participants seeing you off.
Equally it will be nerve wracking for those with a long wait before their departure, following on the satellite trackers the progress being made by the earlier starters.
The last skippers to set off will have to keep cool waiting for their turn to start the chase. And hope they can put on a show like Jeremy Beyou on Charal in the most recent Vendée Globe, progressively carving his way through the fleet.
The faster boats will need to sail fast and well to make up for the head start given to the slower groups.
It will be the ultimate enactment of the tale of the tortoise and the hare, with steady cruisers being chased by performance thirsty skippers on faster boats. Who will cross the line first?
The event format creates a fair and exciting event for all the participants, their sponsors and the general public.
Budget alone should not be a deciding factor in how well each boat does.
What type of boats can enter?
The range of boats permitted in the Event is wide.
- From 32ft to 55ft.
- From classic long keel cruisers to more recent cruiser/racers.
- Also One-off Open designs and other racing boats such as Class40s and Open 50s.
To keep budgets under control the Organisers do not wish anyone to build a boat specifically for the event.
Boats must satisfy minimum stability criteria and may require modification to allow for adequate watertight bulkheads sub-dividing internal space. Read the Notice of Event for detailed entry criteria.
Each entry in the Event must comply with the Global Solo Challenge Regulations.
Historically boats of many types and lengths have proven that a circumnavigation is possible. After all the first ever non-stop solo circumnavigation was completed by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on a 32ft cruising boat in 1968 during the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. The famous navigator and writer Bernard Moitessier also took part in that event on a 39ft cruising boat.
What is the route?
An around the world, east-about circumnavigation. The start and finish port is beautiful and historic Marina Coruña, A Coruña, Spain. Entrants must leave “The Antarctic Region” and all known ice as defined by an “Ice Limit” to starboard and the three Great Capes to port before making their way to the finish line. “The Antarctic Region” and the “Ice Limit” will be defined in the Sailing Instructions.
How long will it take?
A circumnavigation by the three great capes is approximately 26,000 Nautical Miles long. Because the Event admits boats that are widely different in design and performance, the faster boats are expected to take around 140 days to complete the circumnavigation whilst the slower ones could take in excess of 200 days.
When will it take place?
The Event will start in September 2023 with the first group of smaller and slower boats setting of on Saturday 2nd September 2023 at 1300 UTC.
The last group of fast boats will set off a whole 8 weeks later on October 28th 2023 at 1300 UTC.
Where will the start and finish be?
Marina Coruña, A Coruña, Spain will be the host port for the start of the Global Solo Challenge 2023.
Located in the stunning independent municipality of Galicia, A Coruña and its principal marina will provide the perfect venue for the GSC 2023. From a nautical point of view, the geographical location of A Coruña is ideal for both the start and the finish of a traditional East-About round the world sailing event.
Entrants will start the event from the protected bay waters of Ria da Coruña. After rounding the peninsula of Montealto, where the iconic Tower of Hercules is located, they will quickly be into the prevailing trade winds, passing Cape Finisterre prior to their descent of the Atlantic.
Awe-inspiring scenery, the historic city of A Coruña, stunning local beaches and Galician food and hospitality will provide a unique experience and backdrop for the families, friends and well-wishers of the GSC entrants. As the entrants tackle the final days of their circumnavigation, the weather systems of the North Atlantic, typically a train of depressions to the north and the Azores high pressure area to the West, conspire to make Galicia in general and A Coruña in particular, a natural point of arrival.
In round-the-world sailing events the first possibility of rescue following an incident often comes from another competitor in the same event. Therefore, an important safety benefit in staggering the starts is that the fleet should close together as it approaches the infamous southern Pacific point Nemo and the highly challenging passage of Cape Horn.
Each boat entering the Event must satisfy the Global Solo Challenge Regulations, which are based on the established best practices set out by World Sailing in their Offshore Special Regulation for Category Zero Events. These are Trans-oceanic events which pass through areas in which air or sea temperatures are likely to be less than 5°C (41°F) and where boats must be completely self-sufficient for very extended periods of time, capable of withstanding heavy storms and prepared to meet serious emergencies without the expectation of outside assistance.
Boats are therefore likely to require some modifications to meet the Regulations.
A fantastic personal adventure, but risks should be mitigated
For each Skipper the Global Solo Challenge will be a fantastic personal adventure. But is not to be undertaken lightly.
Each participant must carefully consider if this Event is right for them.
Skippers participate in the Event at their own risk and peril and on their own responsibility. The Global Solo Challenge Regulations and event provide a framework that skippers can build on to implement strategies to mitigate the risks that exist in attempting a circumnavigation. They will be called to make thoughtful judgement in difficult situations and sound choices in challenging circumstances.
Hoping for the best cannot be a strategy, and only careful planning for the worst can yield success. Skippers will have to remain lucid, realistic and pragmatic as to the decision whether or not to depart and to continue. This event is not for everyone.
The Organisers plan to offer training modules, seminars and online resources to aid the skippers in preparing for a safe navigation.
Who is it for?
The Event is open to anyone with the right combination of skill and determination to achieve a single-handed around the world circumnavigation without outside assistance. As Val Howells, one of the pioneering competitors of the original 1960 OSTAR, once said – we do it to expand the envelope.
The spirit of the Event
Pure competition is unlikely to be the only motivating factor behind entries in this event.
The Global Solo Challenge bridges the gap between high-budget, professional events and the very human, yet common, dream of a single-handed circumnavigation.
The intention is to keep this a sailor’s event, where camaraderie among entrants will produce lifelong friendships; where the sharing of the preparation and navigation will bring people together.
Many of our enquirers have long dreamed of setting off single-handed around the world. They can now do so single-handed, but not alone.
As part of this unique event they can share their personal challenge with other sailors.
As a sailor once famously said, on being asked why he sailed single-handed: “I do it for the company