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Global Solo Challenge sailor Pierre Henry Mahul's Hamble 50 and his passions

by Margherita Pelaschier 27 May 10:58 BST
Pierre Henry Mahul's Hamble 50 © Pierre-Henry Mahul

Pierre-Henry Mahul, 64 years old, is a French skipper participating in the Global Solo Challenge. He has already sailed hundreds of thousands of miles at sea and has owned twenty-five boats.

An eclectic person longing for adventure, his green eyes scour the sea in search of a new horizon. In his safe harbor, three important women in his life support him and accompany him with love on his next adventure.

"Even though I have already completed two thirds of the journey, two years ago, I know there is always a risk that I may not be able to complete this challenge. I am preparing myself, body and soul, for this endeavour. I like the idea of trying to push my limits."

The idea of sailing solo around the world has always fascinated Pierre-Henry. In 2020, he prepared his Hallberg-Rassy 53 and set off from Bandol, near Toulon, with this project in mind that he called the Bandol Globe. The boat was heavy, tonnes. He installed a special wind pilot from the Canadian company CapHorn. Due to a problem with the pilot, Mahul stopped for a month in Cadiz. In the meantime, the weather conditions evolved, and thanks to his routier, he realised that reaching Cape Horn before April was no longer possible. "In that season, there is a risk of gusts of 70 knots. I have never sailed in more than 62 knots, which is already a lot. Having arrived off the coast of Brazil in search of wind, I decided to postpone my circumnavigation by the three Capes to another time and decided to round the legendary Cape Horn from east to west instead and then return to Europe."

His passage was validated by the International Association of Cape Horners. It was an experience that marked him. He is no longer the same person, and his desire to try a new circumnavigation by the three capes remains intact. After 124 days at sea, in March 2021, he returned to Cadiz, and his friend César told him about the Global Solo Challenge. This was his second chance, and he immediately signed up.

The Hallberg-Rassy 53, a reliable and solid boat, is no longer suitable for his project. "I had seen the limits of my boat, which could not plane. On a reach, it reached a maximum of 13-14 knots of speed. I wanted a fast boat to surf the waves. It's primarily a matter of safety. If a wave running at 25 knots hits you at more than 15 knots difference in speed with your boat, it could also flip the boat. If the boat planes at the speed of the wave, the risk decreases."

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