Robein and Delamare set off in pursuit of Hughes and De Keyser in the Global Solo Challenge

©globalsolochallenge

On Saturday, September 30, under a clear sky and a light breeze from the southeast which later shifted to the north and summer temperatures above 25 degrees, two more competitors from the Global Solo Challenge set off, both French: Louis Robein and Philippe Delamare.

Robein, who had finally managed to resolve the issues with his boat’s engine, the X-37 Le Souffle de la Mer III, was able to embark on his around-the-world journey with peace of mind. His sister Marie-José, who flew in with her husband from France to support him, recalled the intense past week: “When Louis arrived in A Coruña on Saturday, September 22, sailing from Portugal without the use of his engine, he was immediately greeted by the GSC organiser, Marco Nannini, and the efficient and prepared Marina Coruña team. Marco, with his kindness and helpfulness, provided great support, restoring his confidence in overcoming the challenges. By Wednesday, the mechanics had installed the new and repaired parts, and when we heard the engine roar to life, it was a huge relief. Louis, however, always remained calm, and I admire him for that. On Saturday, 30th, just a week after his arrival from Portugal, Louis was able to set off to realise his dream. I wish him all the best on his journey, and we’ll be in A Coruña waiting for his return.”

Louis Robein, X-37 Le Souffle de la Mer III – ©globalsolochallenge

 

Delamare had delivered his Actual 46 Mowgli from La Rochelle ten days prior to the departure, where he had completed crucial tasks, such as applying fresh anti-fouling to the hull. During this transfer, he sailed to A Coruña with Catherine Chognot, a skipper friend who later assisted him in the final week’s preparations. Philippe was joined by other friends and family members, including Thierry Levayer. Both seasoned sailors, Philippe and Thierry had met in the Canary Islands fifteen years ago when both were sailing around the world with their families on their respective boats. Thierry, who had previously discussed at length with Philippe about mental preparations and weather considerations for this venture, told us more about his friend’s final days ashore: “His boat was ready, and Philippe was calm and collected, yet eager to depart. Even though he understood the challenge ahead, he hadn’t fully grasped its magnitude mentally. With his experience, I am confident he will make his dream come true. As he set off, I saw him filled with emotion and motivation. Fair winds, Philippe. I’ll be waiting for your return, and we’ll have many more adventures together!”

Louis Robein departed shortly after 11:00 local time (09:00 UTC). It was a joyous moment despite the windless calm. With a rising tide creating a mild opposing current and no wind, Louis had to wait patiently for over two hours for a breeze to fill in so he could finally gain miles away from the bay. Friends and family shared this eagerly awaited moment with him on the support boat of the GSC organization. Louis, while waiting for the wind, listened from afar to video calls from those following him in France and the cheerful comments of those present. Perhaps accustomed to the Figaro races, he might have dreamt of a more adrenaline filled departure, but the sailor enjoyed this victorious moment, finally being on the start line, with his usual calm and patience. When the boat gained speed in the light breeze, a peaceful smile lit up his face, already looking forward to the adventure ahead and the horizons of distant oceans.

Philippe Delamare Actual 46 Mowgli – ©globalsolochallenge

 

Philippe Delamare set off at 15:00 local time (13:00 UTC), punctually, as scheduled by the GSC organization, with his friends cheering him on from the support boat. Relaxed and in good spirits, he made clear from the beginning his serious intentions for the GSC. On crossing the start line between the green lighthouse on the breakwater and a fixed red buoy not far away in the bay, he unfurled his code zero set on the bowsprit. He quickly picked up good speed despite the light breeze, around 4-5 knots from the north, leaving the bay of A Coruña upwind. Before focusing entirely on sailing, he allowed himself a moment of euphoria to celebrate this first milestone, so significant and challenging for all sailors. With loud music playing in the cockpit, he waved goodbye to the lyrics of Queen’s song, “Don’t stop me now”: “I feel alive… And I’ll go around the world… So don’t stop me now… Because I’m having a good time.” Even Mogwli, with its orange hull, adorned with photos of the children from Anne Sylvestre school in Rouen, seemed to whisper to Philippe, “Give me wind and I’ll give you miles…” much like “Joshua” did with Moitessier, almost sixty years ago.

We collected messages of encouragement from friends and family of Louis Robein and Philippe Delamare.

Here are the messages sent to wish Louis Robein fair winds:

Lionel Kasmi: “Thanks to my captain for teaching me humility, strength, and courage. Fair winds Louis!”

Thierry Giraud: “I’ve been sailing with Louis for twenty years. He has passed on deep knowledge of sailing, emphasizing above all the importance of humility. I was involved in preparing for this project. In fact, during our Atlantic crossing in February 2022, we had already begun preparations for the GSC. As a skipper, Louis is technically very skilled and always looking to improve. He always finds solutions and adapts to any situation. Moreover, he handles solitude well. He made numerous personal and financial sacrifices to participate in the GSC. He truly deserves to realize his dream. Fair winds Louis for your around-the-world trip! In advance, I wish you a happy 70th birthday, which you’ll celebrate during the GSC!”

Louis Robein with family and friends – ©globalsolochallenge

 

Bernard D’Hoine: “Dear Louis, you’re about to undertake your personal challenge, your Everest. I envy you for the courage you show. Gisèle met you 50 years ago in “Sussu” class, and I watched you both study. You know I don’t know much about sailing; you’ve never convinced me that a rope (from a mountaineer’s perspective) is called a “line” on your boat. We’ve sailed a bit together, or rather, you’ve carried me on your little shell of a boat. Kudos, dear Louis, for undertaking this voyage at 70. We think of you with admiration, though without really envying you. Enjoy the journey of your life and come back with great tales to share!”

Gisèle D’Hoine: “My husband Bernard and I have known Louis for… 50 years. Our lives crossed paths at our engineering school. He’s also the godfather to one of my children, and to my three kids, he’s like an uncle, Uncle Louis. When he spoke of this project, he was unsure. We told him: if you feel technically and physically capable, live your dream! I can’t say I understand him, but I respect his passion and admire him. Fair winds Louis for your Everest!”

Michel Ducoeur, President of Handisport Lyonnais: “Louis is an exemplary volunteer at Handisport Lyonnais and joined the Board as secretary. Louis doesn’t speak much, but he is efficient, and we can always rely on him. Louis, we stand by you in this adventure and wish you fair winds, Louis!”

Philippe Delamare with family and friends – ©globalsolochallenge

 

Philippe Delamare’s friends also wanted to share something about this sailor and wish him a good journey:

Jean Paul Rivière: “I met Philippe 35 years ago at the Center for Young Entrepreneurs (CJD). Since then, we’ve been friends and share a spirit of adventure and discovery. I too love sailing, but we’ve had experiences like participating in the Paris-Dakar car race and traveling by motorcycle. Philippe also became the captain of my 100-foot yacht, the Nomad IV, and together we sailed to Antarctica last year. For a long time, Philippe dreamed of making a solo round-the-world trip, and I am truly happy he has the opportunity to participate in the GSC. Technically, he is more than qualified. He’s already sailed solo from New Zealand to Cape Horn on a small catamaran. He carefully prepared his project, and his b