@PepPortas / Global Solo Challenge
Juan Merediz officially announced his withdrawal from the Global Solo Challenge on November 11th due to autopilot issues. The skipper had already directed the bow of his Class40 Sorolla towards the Mediterranean three days earlier, hinting at his decision.
After departing on October 29th for his solo round-the-world sailing journey, along with six other skippers, in challenging sea and wind conditions, he began sailing at a good pace. Only two days in, he had moved to the front of the group that had started together, but soon his boat began experiencing technical problems, mainly with the mainsail halyard and autopilot.
After stopping at anchor in Sagres and in the bay of Lagos, it seemed he had solved the halyard issue and made one of the two autopilots on board operational, a crucial aid for solo navigation.
“We are back on course. After three days of work to fix the autopilot and mainsail halyard, which were the most important in the long list of repairs, I believe that now almost everything is in order. It remains to test and see if the solutions I applied to the pilot, where I made one out of two pilots and two rams, are effective. The mainsail halyard is now fixed, so… we were wounded, but not dead. I am here, strong and determined, Sorolla is here and we continue to sail towards the Canary Islands. Come on, Sorolla! I have done everything possible, now it remains to be seen if it will be enough. Safety is my priority. Let’s see how the pilot responds and if it goes well, then forward, because without it, we cannot proceed,” Merediz shared.
Sorolla resumed the competition, albeit weakened. On November 5th, the organization confirmed that, along with Cole Brauer’s First Light and Philippe Delamare’s Mowgli, it was among the fastest boats of the previous 24 hours. Merediz was in third place with 190 miles covered, an excellent daily run.
Merediz handled this situation with composure, already looking towards future projects. He considered the experience positive, despite the numerous unforeseen events encountered both at the start of the GSC and before departure. He expressed his gratitude to everyone for the support received during this adventure.
On November 8th, in his blog sent whilst navigating towards Gibraltar, he wrote: “Time… so much time to think. I know I am doing the right thing. The boat is telling me that this is not my time. This is the dream of my life, but I must go back home. I may never have this opportunity again, but I am just a sailor and I accept the risk. Our task is always to bring the boat back to port. Now I don’t know how to save the boat, financially, but I think of all those who have supported me and I will continue to fight.
I think about how hard I have fought to get funding, the frustration of silence when no one responds, and the strange relief when they say no, at least you exist. I also think of all those who have supported and continue to support me, companies and individuals, and those special messages I receive that help me confirm to myself that I am not making a mistake and that my story is also that of others and that we must continue to fight.
Too much time to think. I feel strong to continue, even if continuing means going home to try again.”
After a brief stop in Torremolinos, west of Malaga, where he moored to rest, he resumed his transfer home to Valencia. Merediz expressed how hard this decision was, made less bitter only by the numerous messages of support and solidarity from other GSC skippers and the hope placed in future projects.
“It was incredible to receive so much solidarity from the ocean. We don’t know much about the other skippers, but everyone found time for a thought, even offering me financial help, which I could not accept. The GSC has created a cohesive and supportive community. Although the future is not clear for me at this moment, I will do everything possible to be there at the next edition, in four years.”
Fair winds for the future to Juan Merediz and Sorolla!