Spanish Juan Merediz is the 37th entry in the Global Solo Challenge

Juan Merediz has sailied since he was a child, learning precious lessons from the local fishermen in Gijón where he lived. Sailing is what he has been doing all his life and he has an enviable background. From sailing as teenager in the Bay of Biscay he moved to professional sailing by taking part in prestigious events such as the Mini Transat in 1995, the Solitaire du Figaro in 1997 and even the Barcelona World Race on an Imoca in 2011/2012. Juan will be sailing a Pogo 40S, identical to the Class40 sailed by the recently signed up French François Gouin.

As Oganisers we are pleased to welcome the 3rd Spanish entry in a very international list of entries representing already a total of 13 nations. The Global Solo Challenge has a global appeal, with with its inclusive format that allows for many different types of boats to enter breaking the barrier of elitist professional events usually dominated by sailors from a handful of countries.

Interview

Where does your passion for sailing come from?

Since I was a child, I wanted to sail towards the horizon. I don’t come from a family with a seafaring tradition, but I had the sea in front of me in my city, in Gijón. We didn’t have the resources to have a boat so I started helping to clean the fishing nets in exchange for the first lessons on how to row or make knots. Some time later I began to get on any boat that wanted me and when I was very young I started sailing in the Bay of Biscay. But above all, I still have the same passion as when I was a child, nothing has changed in that.

What lessons have you learnt from sailing?

Sailing is what I’ve been doing all my life. When I’m not sailing, I dream of sailing. So I recognise that many of my actions stem from the lessons that the Sea and the women and men of the Sea have taught me. Perhaps the main lesson, the one that brought me here, is to not give up. Adapting yes, but not giving up and moving forward even if we have to change course.

What brought you to like single-handed sailing?

I am passionate about solo sailing. The first time was with a small First 25 from Les Sables d’Olonne. It was a 20 years old boat that had sailed 240k miles. I enjoyed it so much. What else, personal need, the need to have clear ideas, complicity with your boat, those nerves I always have before starting a solo sailing… And the ocean, beauty, strength…

What prompted you to sign up for this event?

This great adventure is enough for me, a circumnavigation. I am also quite curious about the format of the staggered starts. I am a person who likes competition.

How do you plan to prepare for this event?

The first is to get to know my boat well and prepare it thoroughly. So sail and sail again. It will depend on the budget but the intention is to participate in some races of the Class 40 circuit. On a physical level I will repeat the preparation that I have already used in previous ocean races and that I really like, long running, trail running, gravel bike… And sail a lot to get used to the efforts.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge?

Always arrive at the start with a well prepared boat. Then navigate fast knowing how to manage safety and risk on the route. The hardest mile will always be the next mile.

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

My boat is a Classe 40 number 69, a Pogo 40 S with a good track record and well maintained by its previous owner. Fast and safe, we will have fun together during the preparation and during the GSC. We have a lot of work together, first to be at the start, then to be at the end and, why not, be the first to sight the Tower of Hercules on return.

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

Being able to participate in events like this allows us to be heard by many people. We will never truly sail alone. We sail for many people who remain in port. We have a responsibility. Previously I had the honour of collaborating with some social institutions by exploiting other ocean regattas and this must be repeated, and it will be.

Sailing Experience

Transat 6.50 1995, La Solitaire du Figaro 1997, Barcelona Wold Race 2010/11.

About the boat

Boat name TBA

Sail Number: ESP 69

Boat design: Pogo 40s (Finot-Conq)

Year built: 2008

Group: Super-Zero

LOA: 40ft

Displacement: 4650kg

Upwind sail area: 115m2

Downwind sail area: 300m2