One Spanish skipper in the Global Solo Challenge

©Juan Merediz

As the global sailing community prepares for the upcoming Global Solo Challenge (GSC), an exhilarating test of navigational skill and endurance, eyes are drawn towards a solitary figure representing Spain on the event’s international stage – experienced navigator, Juan Merediz. Juan emerges as the only Spanish sailor preparing to cross the start line of the GSC, wrestling against a tide of obstacles to secure the necessary funds. More than 20 sailors are expected to be part of the Global Solo Challenge representing a total of nine nations. In addition to Juan’s native Spain, other competitors will be representing France, the UK, Australia, the USA, Canada, Finland, Italy, and Bulgaria. 

Offshore solo sailing has been long a sport dominated by the French, followed by many notable British sailors, other nations have their representatives too. However, the Global Solo Challenge is certainly one of the most diverse events in solo long-distance sailing of recent years with a considerable participation from US sailors, which is rarely the case for European offshore solo sailing events. 

Let’s have a closer look at the only representative from Spain to understand his determination, resilience, and unyielding passion for the unforgiving, yet thrilling world of sailing. 

 

Juan Merediz

Juan Merediz

 

Raised in Gijón, in the North of Spain, where he gazed out at the sea from his window, Juan has always been intrigued by the vastness of the sea and what lies beyond the horizon. His curiosity propelled him into sailing, with his early career marked by solo transfers of French cruising boats sold in Asturias. Juan has participated in important ocean races, such as the Mini Transat and the Barcelona World Race, learning invaluable lessons from each one.

However, professional sailing in Spain has not been easy for him. When he attempted to participate in the Vendée Globe in 2012, he found it difficult to secure sponsors due to a lack of tax incentives in Spain. Most companies did not even take the time to listen to him, an issue Juan believes is not prevalent in other countries like France. Yet, his passion for sailing remains undeterred.

Despite these setbacks, Juan discovered the GSC while working as a captain. Initially, he was skeptical, but soon fell in love with the concept. Faced with a lack of funds and no boat, Juan depended on the support of his friends, family, and the boat’s previous owner to realize his dream. He sees the GSC as an opportunity to debunk the stereotype that sailing is a luxury sport and pave the way for future generations of Spanish sailors.

His preparation for the GSC is thorough. He will get to know his boat, a Pogo 40S, and prepare it for the challenges of the journey, maintaining a balance of speed and safety. Juan intends to keep a stable route to be faster and safer. In addition to this, mental preparation is equally important to him. He is constantly haunted by the possibility of a mishap, which he believes is a universal fear among sailors. 

Beyond the technical preparation, Merediz acknowledges the mental battle that comes with leaving his family and loved ones behind. Nonetheless, his commitment to them, his boat, and his duty as a sailor fuels his resolve to embark on this journey and return safely.

Merediz’s campaign is reliant on sponsorships and a crowdfunding initiative. The support of the public, whether by following his journey on social media or contributing small amounts to the crowdfunding initiative, can make a significant difference. 

Juan’s spirit embodies the relentless pursuit of a dream, in spite of numerous hurdles and setbacks. His participation in the GSC, despite the challenges, serves as an inspiration for the next generation of sailors and an ode to his lifelong love for the sea.