The Global Solo Challenge (GSC) is much more that a single-handed non-stop round the world event, with all the challenges this implies. If you add the “solo element” to the already daunting challenge of facing the sea and its severe storms while travelling round the world, the enormity of the venture multiplies exponentially.
The challenge (and the spirit that drives these sailors to take part in a sports adventure like the Global Solo Challenge) is not just about getting to the starting line and, obviously, cutting the finishing line. Something that for ordinary people, no doubt, would be a huge achievement in itself.
But what motivates a sportsperson to take on a challenge of this proportion? Most of them are quite special individuals who uphold values that only a challenge of this kind can evoke and improve. The philosophy of the challenge and that of its protagonists is not focused exclusively on sport, it also aims to do something positive by raising awareness about topics such as marine environment protection, social issues, and the importance of reducing our carbon footprint. A social message that no doubt enriches the challenge.
Among the more than 50 skippers who have registered for the Global Solo Challenge it’s not hard to find people who want to go beyond; there is a social message behind every challenge and a strong commitment in each one of them. Most participants want to give their contribution and make an impact by sending a social message associated with their project.
Many of them have chosen to focus on social responsibility. Frenchman Francois Gouin – with his Class40 Kawan 3 – supports the federation of French Cancer Control Centres through Unicancer and aims to send a message to draw attention to the benefits of physical activity adapted to the prevention of cancer.
Along the same lines, Spaniard Javier Lapresa – skipper of the Furia37 Layro – is clear about his participation in the regatta and as he says, “a project is more effective when its contribution goes beyond sports and personal matters”. He will support ASPANOB, an association that helps relatives of children with cancer.
For Simone Camba, the 46th entrant in the GSC, social responsibility takes the shape of a project he has been working on for years, “The Route of Legality”, a social inclusion project that brings young people together through sailing, a sport that Simone is, obviously, very passionate about.
The generosity of participants extends to the concerns for the conditions of our oceans. William Croxford from Kettering, UK, intends to raise awareness of the ongoing issues of plastic in the oceans and the overfishing in parts of this vast area. Issues that no doubt worry anyone who is passionate about the sea.
In the case of Dafydd Hughes – with his entry Bendigedig, an S&S 34 – his concerns about carbon footprint have induced him to aim as close as possible to zero emissions by using non-polluting systems in his project, something the organisers of the challenge put a lot of emphasis on.
In fact, if participants are eager to take advantage of the visibility of this challenge to send their social message, this same spirit is embedded in the DNA of the challenge itself. The Global Solo Challenge, in addition to being an extreme sports challenge, is also very committed to the environment.
Its message can be summarised in three main points: reuse, extension of the lifespan of components, and reduction of fossil fuels in favour of renewable alternatives. The organisers of the GSC are determined to deliver an environmentally conscious event through few simple yet essential points highlighted to emphasise its social message.
Its philosophy is clear: reusing racing boats instead of newly constructed vessels reduces the carbon footprint as well as costs. Encouraging competitors to take this stance extends the lifespan of the boats. Another key message that the organisers want to send, not just to those involved directly in the event but also to the followers of this around the world solo challenge, is to reduce the use of fossil fuel on board and opt for alternatives such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.
Much more than a regatta. A global and personal project with a profound social message.
For further information on environment, social, and economic sustainability in the context of the Global Solo Challenge, you can find out how organizers intend to make their commitment in these areas transparent by partnering with certification body TUV Thuringhen Italia, who will independently assess the efficacy of the sustainable choices made by organizers to manage the event.