An around-the-world sailing endeavor like the Global Solo Challenge (GSC) demands an immense amount of preparation and dedication. American skipper David Linger embodies this commitment. Juggling local commitments in his hometown of Seattle, he is also deeply involved in readying himself and his boat for the upcoming GSC.
Linger balances supporting local sailing events, such as the weekly sail and bar-b-que nights, with preparing participants for the upcoming Race to Alaska Race (R2AK), including his girlfriend, Lillian Miller Kuehl, who is entering the race solo.
Despite the demands of his local commitments, David has been commuting to Maine, where his yacht, ‘Koloa Maoli’ – a 2006 Jazz Marine Class 40, designed by Owen Clarke – is being retrofitted to his high standards by the Maine Yacht Center team. The boat, previously named ‘Boland Mills’, has already competed in offshore races but further work is required to meet the Global Solo Challenge Regulations which are based on the Offshore Special Regulations Cat 0 by World Sailing, with few adaptations for the event.
David’s yacht is undergoing extensive upgrades, demonstrating a relentless commitment to safety and performance. The modifications began with a hard dodger coachroof installation, offering vital protection from the harsh elements of the Southern Ocean and preventing water ingress to the yacht’s interior. The toe-rail has been extended around the yacht, and additional 120-litre fixed fuel tanks and a 12-volt water-maker have been neatly installed.
David acquired a Vesper AIS system from Canada. The Automatic Identification System enables him to identify and track nearby vessels, a vital feature during the solo challenge. Powering his electronic needs, two Watt & Sea hydro generators have been fitted, providing redundancy if one unit fails.
New chainplates for the standing rigging and a reinforced padeye for the staysail furler have been installed, ensuring the rigging’s robustness. Meeting GSC regulations required, among other things, painting the foredeck bright yellow, and installing two compliant liferafts.
Sails for the challenge were ordered from American sail specialist, Mark Washeim, whose sails have already been used by competitors in the recent Globe40 race. The sails include a range of options to handle various wind conditions – from a J1 (Solent) and J2 (Staysail) to A2 and A5 Spinnakers and a Code 0 light air headsail. An older A5 fractional headsail may also accompany David on his journey. Roller-furling foresails have been chosen for their ease of handling in heavy winds and seas.
A recent inspection revealed minor cracking in the mast’s paint. However, a thorough survey confirmed that there was nothing that affected the carbon-fibre mast. David has also taken his physical health into consideration, undergoing medical examinations which revealed an unknown hernia. He promptly addressed this and another minor health issue, leaving no room for unwelcome surprises at sea.
David’s meticulous preparations will soon be put to the test as he plans to return to Maine to launch ‘Koloa Maoli’ and conduct sea trials. This will be followed by a qualifying 2,000-mile solo sail before he sails across to Europe where he will set off from A Coruna on October 28th for the Global Solo Challenge.