About The skipper



Years Old

Lives: Ostende, Belgium

Miles sailed: 300.000+

Group: TBA

Status: Retired Entry

Where does your passion for sailing come from?

I started going at sea on my father’s motorboat that was used as a pleasure fishing craft (with nets) in 1963. Ever since 1967 I’ve been constantly teaching sailing, training both with dinghies and offshore and ocean going yachts.

What lessons have you learnt from sailing?

One cannot possibly foresee all the situations that can happen at sea. You can play chess (trying to predict the following steps), use the sea (waves, wind, currents) as an alley… but at the end of the day the sea is always the Master. So stay humble!

What brought you to like single-handed sailing?

The personal challenge, pushing oneself’s limits.

What prompted you to sign up for this event?

I’ve done some single-handed racing in the nineties, but soon realised one can go bankrupt without being sponsored – as usually happens in most smaller countries. This event is a budget friendly way to fulfil “our Mount Everest without Sherpas”. Moreover – taking into account my age – there’s a physical deadline to be able to achieve this.

How do you plan to prepare for this event?

Technically, rather meticulously. I’ll try to keep in good physical shape. I will try to sail the 2.000 NM qualifier by August or September 2022. Possibly, I will look for some sponsorship, if it does not become too time-consuming.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge?

Try for once to beat Murphy’s Law.

Tell us about your boat or the boat you would like to have.

After 30 years of sail training with an ex-Whitbread Racer Tomidi (Rucanor), we recently bought an Xp 55 named after my beloved but deceased wife (2009) Patricia. So in a way I wont be alone.

Do you intend to link this personal challenge with a social message?

Though I have quite some good ideas about this, for the moment I’m also managing the project single-handed – hence lack of time is a factor.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

I hope to be an example for the youngsters.

Sailing experience

Numerous cruises and races: local, in the North Sea, the Baltic, the English Channel, and the North Atlantic, sailed single-handed between Quebec and the Cape Verde Islands, and between Iceland and the Caribbean.
The Double-handed RB&I Race
The AZAB 1995
The OSTAR 1996 & 2000
Tried to do the Route du Rhum in 1998

About The Boat

Dirk Gunst x55

Sail Number: BEL 777

Boat design: X 55 (Niels Jeppesen)

Year built: 2014

Group: TBA

LOA: 55ft

Displacement: 21.717kgs