Global Solo Challenge: Last week at sea for Riccardo Tosetto

Global Solo Challenge: Last week at sea for Riccardo Tosetto

Image: Riccardo Tosetto – Obportus @globalsolochallenge

Text: Marco Nannini  / Global Solo Challenge

Riccardo Tosetto has put the foot on the gas and must certainly feel a sense of anticipation for his imminent arrival. He has finally found the following winds he had been looking for by heading north on his long detour around the Azores high pressure system. With less than 900 miles to go and a forecast for sustained following winds his eyes are firmly focused on A Coruna where he is expected to arrive for Saturday 30th or possibly even earlier. A depression is forming and will move over Riccardo between wednesday and thursday, despite bringing some rather heavy winds at times it will certainly ensure plenty of wind to reach the finish line.


The Italian skipper must be really longing for his arrival especially as the last few days have seen him battle with new challenges, his beloved Code Zero, a sail he had very frequently used in medium following winds, fatigued after so many miles at sea, tore in the middle of the night  a couple of days ago.


Soon after, Riccardo’s primary autopilot started to get stuck occasionally. For no apparent reason the arm would lock into centre position causing a surge of draw of electricity and a voltage dip. The italian skipper swapped for his secondary drive that had caused him some issues before but which seems to be functioning for now and hopefully until the finish.


Last week we were wondering how the duel between Riccardo Tosetto on Obportus and Francois Gouin on Kawan3 Unicancer would pan out, with lots depending on the weather developments. With the Italian skipper’s route looking like a straight motorway with following winds the French Skipper can’t have been too happy to see that the forecast has started to show an expanding Azores’ high, moving southeast and creating a wide ridge which blocks the way north and around the system.


Francois has had to accept the cards he was dealt and is currently sailing southeast on a rather unfavourable tack which should allow him to find north westerly winds by midweek and finally sail directly towards Galicia. However the developments of the weather forecast will probably cost him a lot of additional time compared to Riccardo. Last week the two had about 250 miles in difference of distance to the finish, the gap has doubled over the weekend to around 500 miles and currently it looks like Francois may arrive as much as 4-5 days after Riccardo towards the middle of the first week in April.


David Linger has made excellent progress to the north in steady winds and is now just 500 miles from crossing the equator and getting back in the northern hemisphere. The area of the doldrums and the tropical calms however may cause the American skipper to be slowed down considerably until he can breach through and make his way into the NE trade winds. With more than 3600 miles to sail and two areas of calms to deal with (equatorial and tropical calms) it is too early to be able to make reliable forecasts but I would imagine he will need another 4 weeks to reach A Coruna.


Louis Robein, considering he has no working autopilot, has managed to make progress over the weekend covering approximately 200 miles towards Cape Horn which is now just over 700 miles to the south east. I have been in contact with Louis who says no autopilot is only an issue in that it slows him down, unable to cover great daily distances. He is forced to steer by hand and then let the boat advance as best as he can when he needs to rest, often resorting to a running heaving to position, where the head sail is put on an opposite tack to the mainsail but rather than stopping the boat dead to the wind it is allowed to drift making at least some progress even whilst the skipper catches on sleep.


After discussing the situation with Louis, we have agreed to inform MRCC Chile of the situation, just as a precautionary measure and without requiring any assistance, rather to exchange information on the situation and provide details of boat and skipper should they ever be needed.


Meanwhile we are also trying to determine which would be the closest port of call where Louis could get assistance for his technical issues, which, in any case, requires that the French skipper reaches Cape Horn first. We will keep you posted on any developments.


The long battle continues for those at sea, equipment fatigue and failure becomes more and more frequent as we are closing in the 5th month at sea Riccardo, Francois and David and the 6th for Louis.

Latest Rankings
Rank    Boat    Skipper    Last Update    DTF    Sailed    Finish
1    Mowgli    Philippe Delamare    Finished    0    26,522    24/02/24 14.03
2    First Light    Cole Brauer    Finished    0    27,759    07/03/24 07.23
3    Vento di Sardegna    Andrea Mura    Finished    0    27,146    17/03/24 15.44
4    Obportus    Riccardo Tosetto    25/3/2024 08:00    910    27,795    30/03/24 22.08
5    Kawan 3 - Unicancer    François Gouin    25/3/2024 08:00    1,493    26,304    03/04/24 17.28
6    Koloa Maoli    David Linger    25/3/2024 08:00    3,687    23,603    19/04/24 21.51
7    Le Souffle de la Mer III    Louis Robein    25/3/2024 08:00    7,776    20,317    13/06/24 04.15

Skipper    Boat Name    Boat    TCC    Retirement
8. Alessandro Tosetti     Aspra    ULBD 65'    1.250    Rigging
9. Kevin Le Poidevin    Roaring Forty    Open40    1.250    Horn date limit
10. William MacBrien    Phoenix    Class40    1.208    Flooded
11. Ronnie Simpson    Shipyard Brewing    Open 50    1.250    Dismasted
12. Pavlin Nadvorni    Espresso Martini    Farr45    1.180    Medical
13. Edouard De Keyser    Solarwind    Solaire34    1.010    Broken Rudder
14. Ari Känsäkoski    ZEROchallenge    Class40    1.208    Dismasted
15. Dafydd Hughes    Bendigedig    S&S34    0.890    Autopilot
16. Juan Merediz    Sorolla    Class40    1.230    Autopilot
Did not start
Skipper    Boat Name    Boat    TCC    Start
17. Ivan Dimov    Blue Ibis    Endurance 37    0.890    DNS Funding
18. Curt Morlock    6 Lazy K    Open 60    1.470    DNS Funding
19. Peter Bourke    Imagine    Open 40    1.250    DNS Medical
20. Volkan Kaan Yemlihaoğlu    Black Betty    Volvo Open 70    1.640    DNS Funding
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