It’s been nearly a year since the launch of the Global Solo Challenge, 11 months to date to be exact. As organisers, we are ecstatic about where we stand today.
We received just under 400 enquiries from skippers about the event of 43 different nationalities, 37 of which have entered the event. In the past year, 5 of these skippers have meanwhile bought a boat to refit for the Global Solo Challenge.
Some have been busy with the total refit of their chosen boat, like Dafydd Hughes. His commitment and work to give a second life to a Sparkman’s & Stephens 34 have been inspiring to say the least. His updates on social media are both humorous and entertaining. We are sure he will have a solid fanbase of followers. It is no surprise that two companies have already decided to support him in his project.
A growing following
More than 350 thousand people have visited the event website. Social reach on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn has reached 2 million total cumulative views of Global Solo Challenge content.
When I was about to set off for my first solo transatlantic in 2009, I had the privilege of a brief chat with the late Val Howells, one of the 5 1960 OSTAR pioneers. I remember he told me: “Sailing solo is all about the camaraderie, oh the friends you’ll make, I have made more friends sailing single-handed than in any other context of life”.
I am sure this will be true for all our entrants. Many of the GSC skippers often exchange messages on social media about their progress.
A growing sense of community
As the organiser, I am also experiencing a growing sense of community building around the Global Solo Challenge.
Many people have come forward and offered to help and asked nothing in exchange. We created a “volunteering” section on the website. We were surprised to see how many were only waiting to come forward to lend a hand. Willing to “participate in any way to facilitate this great ocean challenge”.
Nicolas Boutemy, a veteran in the events management business who twice worked at the Transat Jacques Vabre village, said: “It’s interesting to see a project grow little by little, Rome was not built in a day as they say. It is a pleasure to advise a young project like the GSC.”
This international sense of community will blend with the people of the stunning La Coruña to transform a sailing challenge into an event for everyone.
We are scheduling meetings with the Galician authorities and the prestigious Real Club Nautico. These meetings will help us build the foundations for an event to engage the online and physical public alike.
Children and the future of their planet
We have added a section on the website dedicated to children. The Global Solo Challenge can be a container where children can learn about marine life and the challenges that our environment faces.
Talking about the environment, it is very easy to get it wrong with bold statements that only sound like “blah blah blah” to younger generations.
For this reason, we focus on the environmental benefits of reusing old boats which contrasts the difficulty of recycling old GRP boats. Extending the service life of yachts and equipment is a way to reduce the use of new resources. The impact of building a new composites hull is particularly pollutant. The Global Solo Challenge promotes the reuse of existing resources containing or ofsetting any negative impact on our planet through its unique format which gives no incentive to the building of new boats.
We also hope the endeavours of the skippers taking part in the event to be a long-lasting inspiration for children of La Coruña and worldwide.
Work is progressing on other fronts too. We are soon to make some important announcements regarding partnerships and sponsorships with the event. Needless to say that any businesses interested in joining a steadily rising event can contact us to discuss opportunities.
Text Marco Nannini
Image: Global Solo Challenge