Sailing single-handed is one of those things that bring unparalleled sense of satisfaction and achievement. I remember my first solo Atlantic crossing, I was mesmerised, I loved it. Not every one enjoys sailing solo but often those that do prefer it to sailing double-handed or with a crew. Being totally in control and completely accountable for everything that happens and every decision that has to be taken is not something we experience often ashore, at work or in a family context. This is not to say that solo sailors are loners, we enjoy both the responsibility and the reward that comes with doing it.
The Global Solo Challenge website went online exactly a year ago and it went from a simple idea to a more detailed concept to an event with a structure and rules. It’s format is unconventional and allows skippers without the budgets of the pro-sailors to achieve their dream of a single-handed circumnavigation by the three great capes. Moreover, the event is open to a large range of boats leaving the result completely open, it is really difficult to say for sure what represents the best boat to have for this event! Enquiries keep rolling in and more entries are expected in due course. To date we received 410 enquiries from 40+ nationalities and have 38 entries with the event starting in September 2023.
We asked some Global Solo Challenge entries what they thought of the subject.
What brought you to like single-handed sailing?
Sometimes our own company is the best company we can desire.
Quite frankly, single-handed racing goes against my grain as a professional mariner. Not being able to have a 24-hour 360-degree watch goes against all standard maritime rules. But… What a challenge this is! I do consider successful long-distance single-handed sailing to be one of human beings’ top personal endeavours and achievements: right up there with space exploration and fighter-jet piloting.
It is quite simply who I am, nothing has led me to solo sailing, I was born a solitary sailor and live in harmony with it.
The sense of calm, the desire to be extend my limit, to take up new challenges and fulfil new dreams!
I like to open my mind to the sea, feeling the boat, the wind in the sails and the power of nature. Being alone is always a challenge.
Because of my work in the sailing sector, I had to sail with crews but since my childhood dreams, I’ve been attracted to solo sailing. I’ve sailed many races in double (because there were no solo races in the Adriatic) but I feel serene when I’m alone on board. I haven’t sailed many miles solo but I’m sure it won’t be a problem for me.
Theo Dorus Wevers
On my first trip with my boat, which I’ve now owned for 25 years, there was nobody to accompany me and I sailed single-handed from Amsterdam to Las Palmas and have been passionate about solo sailing since.
Kevin Le Poidevin
Self-reliance, self-belief and the need to challenge myself in an environment that I have limited influence and even less control. I enjoy the strategy, navigation and tactics plus the technical aspects of setting up my boats for maximum efficiency, whilst learning new skills that compliment my existing skills.
I get a lot of satisfaction from the challenge that this represents, maneuvering alone while trying to anticipate things, to see beyond the simple movement in progress. Besides, I don’t hate myself or get bored in my company!
The desire to learn to play a boat like a musician plays an instrument. The desire to be offshore as close as possible to the Nature and to myself. The desire to share all this with people to live a collective adventure close to the essential. The desire to watch the sun rise and set morning and evening, to take squalls, storms and find the resources in me to make it happen.
The personal challenge, pushing oneself’s limits.