Global Solo Challenge: Andrea Mura to join circumnavigators elite

Global Solo Challenge: Andrea Mura to join circumnavigators elite

Image: Andrea Mura - Vento di Sardegna @globalsolochallenge
Text: Marco Nannini  / Global Solo Challenge

After the emotional arrivals of Philippe Delamare and Cole Brauer in A Coruna, 5 competitors are still at sea in the Global Solo Challenge. Of the initial 16 starters more than half have been forced to retire for a variety of reasons, from dismastings to collisions and equipment failures. Only 7 are poised to complete their circumnavigation. It is an incredible challenge, full of perils and obstacles and it is not all surprising that many had to concede defeat in the face of the elements and the relentless force of nature.


Andrea Mura on Vento di Sardegna is expected to finish by the end of this week, either Saturday 16 or Sunday 17. Follow the website updates for details of when we will be streaming his arrival live. He has just over 1000 miles to cover to A Coruna in favourable downwind conditions. Before crossing the equator however, a component of the rigging on Vento di Sardegna became dislodged from its fitting and Andrea must sail under a conservative sail plan when on port tack which may mean he will not be able to sail at full speed for part of his final approach to A Coruna.


Andrea’s participation and likely podium place in the Global Solo Challenge is an incredible story of achievement and redemption for the Italian skipper, who in 2016 saw his campaign to participate in the Vendée Globe slip under his feet. The dream of circumnavigating the globe solo and non stop burnt like a fire in Andrea’s heart who saw in this event the opportunity to take on the challenge on his 24 years old boat and with a more attainable budget.


Vento di Sardegna was built in the year 2000 for Italian skipper Pasquale De Gregorio who participated in the Vendée Globe that year with the name Wind Express. Back then the Vendée Globe had not yet achieved the pro elite status it has today and Open 50s were still allowed to compete together with IMOCA 60 but that was the last edition. Nowadays only 60 footers are allowed and the event has even disallowed older boats and favours the allocation of places in the race to newly built boats. This has had campaign costs skyrocket leaving many like Andrea with the heartburn of seeing their lifelong dream slip away.


On arrival, Vento di Sardegna will have completed two successful circumnavigations non stop and by the three great capes, 23 years apart. First with Pasquale and now with Andrea. When Pasquale de Gregorio and the late Simone Bianchetti completed the Vendée Globe in 2001 they became the first 2 italians to gain a place in the register of solo non stop circumnavigators.


In 2010 Alessandro Di Benedetto incredibly completed the voyage on a modified Mini 6.50, a feat which may never be attempted again, and in 2013 completed the Vendée Globe on a fixed keel older generation IMOCA (which would not be allowed to compete today). In 2021 Giancarlo Pedote earned the 4th Italian spot in the register of solo nonstop circumnavigators maintained by the International Association of Cape Horners (IACH).


Andrea Mura and Riccardo Tosetto on Obportus are therefore poised to become the 5th and 6th Italians to write an entry in the register which includes less than 200 men and women since Sir Robin Knox Johnston did it first 1969. For all of our female readers in Italy who were certainly inspired by Cole Brauer’s achievement, the spot for first Italian woman is still up for grabs!


The tradition of Italian sailors in offshore sailing dates back to that very first Golden Globe Race in 1968 that inspired so many generations of sailors to follow. Alex Carozzo, then 36, was one of the participants. However, he was forced to retire after developing an ulcer at sea.


If you like to dig out historical facts, you should certainly read about Ambrogio Fogar’s voyage in 1973/1974 when he attempted a west-about nonstop circumnavigation on a sloop built in 1968. He was forced to make stops in Australia and spent over 400 days at sea, but was the first Italian to complete a circumnavigation, although with stops, and in the wrong direction!


The only other italian to complete a solo circumnavigation, with stops, is...


Click here to continue reading on the GSC Website with more imagery