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CoastWaterSports 2014

Dafydd Hughes sets sail raising the curtain on the Global Solo Challenge

by Margherita Pelaschier 27 Aug 2023 10:09 BST 26 August 2023
Dafydd Hughes & Bendigedig © Global Solo Challenge

The flags of the Global Solo Challenge fly at Marina Coruña: the great adventure has begun.

Today 26th August 2023, at 15:00 local time (13:00 UTC), the Welsh skipper Dafydd Hughes, aboard his S&S 34 Bendigedig, crossed the starting line, embarking on his solo, non-stop journey around the world. About fifteen knots of wind from the west-northwest and a blue sky, occasionally covered by rapidly passing gray clouds with some showers, accompanied the first among the GSC competitors to leave A Coruña.

Until yesterday, Dafydd was busy addressing last-minute issues, and he commented on his social media: "As everyone knows, on a boat, you always have to be ready for anything; sailing without hitches is impossible. I thought I would spend a quiet day with family and friends, but instead, I found myself dealing with a problem with the onboard computer systems. I could no longer send or receive emails. After hours on the phone with a Predictwind expert in the UK, by 20:00, fortunately, everything was back to working."

This morning, the atmosphere was calm, although the excitement was palpable on the dock. Family, friends, sponsors, and sailing enthusiasts traveled to A Coruña from the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, and various cities in Spain to share this significant moment with Dafydd.

For several days, other GSC skippers have shown the strong camaraderie that has built over time amongst entrants sending messages of support, encouragement and affection to Dafydd, who has the honor and challenging task of inaugurating the race and paving the way for everyone to follow. Juan Merediz, the Spanish skipper of the Class40 Waypoint who is not due to start until late October, joined Dafydd in A Coruña to greet him in person, experiencing the immense joy he will experience himself in two months when it will be his turn to depart. "It's finally starting! I'm excited and nervous! It's fantastic! I didn't want to miss Dafydd's departure. I wanted to meet him in person and encourage him!"

From Dafydd's profile page on the Global Solo Challenge website, a vast number of support messages have poured in from every corner of the world: his determination, tenacity, positive spirit, and humility have captured the imagination and respect of many people.

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