Philippe Delamare’s Actual 46 Mowgli, with its stunning orange hull, rests peacefully at the dock. She is about to set off on a circumnavigation with her skipper, an adventure that will last nearly six months. Just a few days before his departure, scheduled for Saturday, September 30th, Philippe told us about the educational program he has designed in connection with his sporting challenge.
“I was looking for a school, preferably far from the sea, with heterogeneous and/or underprivileged children as an audience to participate in my project. Thanks to my family, I discovered the “Anne Sylvestre” school located in Rouen, on the left bank, in the Saint-Sever district. The 4th and 5th-grade teacher liked my project. So, I visited the class. It was wonderful to meet the students and see their enthusiasm at the idea of following us, Mowgli and me, virtually during our circumnavigation. I am a father of four children and, just like Mowgli, the years have not erased my wonder for nature and the sea, nor my joy in sharing. That’s why I chose children who don’t necessarily have the chance to see the sea frequently. During my journey, I will make video calls to share my experiences. I hope to inspire and let them develop their dreams.”
The teacher, Mrs. Céline Alexandre, told us, “It was through mutual acquaintances, including one of my first-grade colleagues, that Philippe contacted me. I have a 4th/5th-grade class made up of nine 4th graders and thirteen 5th graders. A large majority are from immigrant backgrounds, either directly or second or third generation. Two students have a disability, and another, originally from Afghanistan, speaks little French. I also plan to integrate a student from the CRA program (deaf and hard of hearing) who already participates in some courses with us.”
“Philippe came to meet the students and took a photo of them, planning to place it on the hull of his boat. The children were delighted. They feel as if they’re participating in the voyage. Regarding our collaboration, we are considering weekly video conferences on Fridays. The children will prepare their questions on Thursday to ask the next day. Educationally, I plan, among other things, activities such as preparing tasks, making drawings of their dreams, presentations on the animals Philippe encounters or the countries he approaches. In our geography class, we will track Mowgli’s progress on a world map. In science, we will talk about OFNIs (unidentified floating object, debris, flotsam and jettison). We will also likely explore ‘The Jungle Book’, which inspired the name of the boat, through reading and comprehension activities.”
Philippe’s longtime friend, Hugues Girod, who will not be present in La Coruña but who has been involved in all of Mowgli’s preparation since March of this year, told us about this first meeting, the values he shares with him, and his strengths as a skipper.
“Philippe and I first met in Ushuaia in 2011. Philippe had arrived on his catamaran, sailing from New Zealand and going through Tierra del Fuego alone. As for me, I had come from a long voyage from France, heading south to South America with my family, my wife, and our two children. Later, our paths crossed as we went up the Chilean rivers, and it was in Puerto Montt that we truly got to know each other. Then, we parted ways: Philippe heading for Australia, and I setting out for Canada. However, Philippe contacted me as there was an opportunity to work together in Australia, and I accepted his offer. We shared these moments for 6 years, from 2012 to 2018, in Australia. Today, it’s been 12 years since we’ve known each other. After Australia, I went to New Caledonia for 4 years and returned to France in February 2023. Philippe needed someone to assist him, so I began working with him to prepare for the race. Since March, I have worked intensively on the boat in Lorient.”
Hugues is also a passionate sailor. He set out to sea from the age of 23, thus cultivating a passion for the sea that he shares with Delamare:
“Just like Philippe, I had my solo sailing moments from a young age. First alone, then as a couple, and finally as a family, with four of us. I fully understand the reason behind this passion. Solo sailing is a unique adventure, almost addictive; once you’ve tasted it, you keep thinking back to it. Philippe has already ventured out alone, especially in the southern seas. It’s the type of experience that would have attracted me, and I fully understand what drives him to dedicate himself to it. What we share is our love for the sea, sailing, boats, and, of course, the taste for challenge.”
Regarding Philippe’s strengths as a skipper, Hugues shares with us:
“Philippe is a determined individual. The worst ordeal for him would be to give up due to a malfunction or material issue. He would do everything in his power to complete his round-the-world trip, even if it means making repairs, even if he finishes well after the others. He has a sharp sense of the sea, while being aware of the risks. Of course, he will know to reassess if necessary. He is a resilient man, with a great inner strength. I have complete trust in him.”
Hugues is convinced that Philippe doesn’t need words of encouragement given how strong his personal motivation is. However, he wishes to add:
“This adventure promises to be long, intricate, and far more demanding than anything he has undertaken before. We have extensively discussed the topic: Philippe knows that he will first have to look after himself, and then his boat. He will constantly need to balance between seeking performance and preserving his vessel. His first challenge will be to return to his starting point, in peak condition and with a perfectly operational boat. It’s a significant challenge, and I can only admire his determination.”
Philippe Delamare’s departure aboard his Actual 46, Mowgli, is scheduled for Saturday, 30th September at 3:00 PM local time (1:00 PM UTC). Breaking news and other updates can be found on the homepage of the Global Solo Challenge: https://globalsolochallenge.com/
For further details on the departure dates of each skipper, please visit this link: https://globalsolochallenge.com/start-dates/
It is possible to follow the progress of each skipper on the event’s tracker: https://globalsolochallenge.com/tracking/