The first boat that will compete in the 2023 Global Solo Challenge has arrived in the departure marina of A Coruña in Galicia, Spain.
Roaring Forty, is a Lutra BOC Open 40, designed by Adrian Konijnendijk, of Lutra Yacht Design, and was built in 1997 by Akton Yachts, Estonia. It will compete in the ‘Super Zero’ category of the challenge, meaning, that she will be amongst the faster boats in the event and will be in one of the final groups of challengers to depart from A Coruña.
She will be skippered by her owner Australian Kevin Le Poidevin, who arrived in the marina in August. Roaring Forty, is now safely out of the water in the Marina Coruna boatyard (Varadero, in Spanish).
During the winter, the expert workers from the yard will be attending to a list of jobs that need to be done in preparation for the challenge.
Kevin has since rejoined his family in Australia and I spoke to him to get his impressions of the city, the marina and the boatyard.
He told me that this attractive city was small enough that he did not need a car or a bike whilst he was there. The locals were friendly, and there is a vast array of excellent restaurants in the town, with many specialising in the local fresh seafood that Galicia is renowned for.
The marina is large, and there were a large number of berths available at the time that he was there. He also reports that the facilities were of a high standard.
One thing that really impressed Kevin was, that the large and well organised boatyard, which, under the watchful eye of Director Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermudez de Castro, is kept absolutely immaculate and the team clearly take pride in their work-
Kevin reported that he has scheduled work packages with the boatyard so that he can closely manage his budget.. Kevin said the bonus of having the work done at Marina Coruna is tapping into Chuny’s experience and knowledge as he is Spain’s most famous offshore racer having competed in seven Volvo Ocean Races.
The major work like fitting in the watertight bulkheads has already been completed on this yacht, as it has been in numerous offshore events, including having completed a solo circumnavigation in the first Global Ocean Race before he bought her.
Kevin plans to return to Spain, after ANZAC day next April (he is an Australian Air Force Veteran), and he then hopes to undertake a trip down to the Azores to test everything on board before completing his qualifying 2,000 miles, non-stop solo sail.
Kevin is an experienced sailor, who has competed in a number of sailing races around the Antipodes, including the 75th Rolex Sydney to Hobart race and two Solo Trans-Tasman Challenges, and given that this yacht will notionally be amongst the faster groups, I asked him how he felt about having to play catch up to the slower boats, which will have departed up to eleven weeks before him.
He admitted that he would probably feel somewhat frustrated and eager to get on with the challenge, whilst seeing the other skippers depart, but he predicted that if luck was with him and he took the right route, he was hopeful of being amongst the early finishers.
He told me that the profile of Roaring Forty, meant that she would gain a lot of speed in the Southern Ocean and with the wind behind her she would readily get onto a plane down the large waves so was content that he would make a lot of ground in that sector of the route, however, he went onto explain that it really depended on what happened weatherwise in the Doldrums, that area of flat wind around the equator that could determine his placement.
Kevin sails under the name Aviator Ocean Racing, and you can follow him on his Facebook page Aviator Ocean Racing, (https://www.facebook.com/RoaringForty) both as he prepares for the challenge and during the challenge itself.
One further point that I should make first, is that Kevin is self-funded and would appreciate any financial help or sponsorship that anyone could give. To this end, you can contact him via Facebook or you can give him support by way of his GoFundMe page at https://gofund.me/4ce2a865
Kevin will also be supporting two charities; BRAIN TUMOUR ALLIANCE AUSTRALIA and SOLDIER ON, a charity that helps Australian Veterans re-establish themselves in Civvy Street.
One aspect that Kevin talks fondly of, is the friendly relationship he has already formed with a number of the other challengers who are entering the GSC. He explains, that in shorthanded sailing, the skippers will talk to each other, when on shore or by radio at sea and often form long-lasting friendships. Whilst he had found that in crewed events, the crews tended to remain within their own groups.
I will finish this article with one of Kevin’s own quotes:
“You can either be a pilot of your own destiny or a passenger in life”.