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Andrea Mura expected in A Coruna Sunday 17th in the afternoon

by Marco Nannini / Global Solo Challenge 16 Mar 00:14 GMT
Andrea Mura – Vento di Sardegna © globalsolochallenge

With under 500 miles to go Andrea Mura must really be starting to feel the end of his epic adventure is near. Warm southerly winds have brought spring temperatures to A Coruna and certainly it no longer feels like the harsh winter we had just a few days ago. Andrea is in good spirits and is sailing fast towards his family, friends and fans who'll be waiting for him at the arrival.

During the night Andrea tacked on Vento di Sardegna and is back on starboard, this means he can confidently sail at full speed as he has no rigging issues on this side. He should have good winds at least till the longitude of Finisterre but might find decreasing winds on his final approach to the finish line. For this reason we currently expect Andrea will arrive in the afternoon of Sunday 17th (morning in the US).

Family and friends have already started to arrive in A Coruna and numerous fans of the Italian skipper have registered to celebrate his circumnavigation in person. As we have seen with the arrivals of Philippe Delamare and Cole Brauer it has proven difficult to involve the City and their authorities or their tourism offices. This is certainly something that as organisers we must address for the future building on this first edition but as we explained we came here for the location as it offers a great starting and arrival point for a circumnavigation.

Just like skippers have had a chance to take part in the Global Solo Challenge as a platform to prove themselves, the same applies to us as event organisers, not only we had to prove ourselves but with an event that had a totally new format and addressed a different group of sailors compared to the pro events, we also had to prove the concept.

The response from the enquiring sailors and public has been immense, beyond any expectations. The public identified and empathised with the human stories brought by each skipper, with their struggles, emotions, highs and lows.

We started from nearly 700 enquiries of which 56 pre-registered for the 2023 edition. 20 skippers became confirmed entrants and 16 managed to start. Today, over half of the starters have had to retire leaving 7 skippers in total that will hopefully all finish their circumnavigation. The immensity of the undertaking to achieve this dream becomes even more astonishing looking at these numbers, with effectively a 1 in 100 chance of success on the first attempt.

Philippe Delamare has had a solid following in France and by winning on a non racing boat he kept alive the interest of those who are not thinking of a participation in future editions on a racing boat. The French press has been very kind to the event and the format has received appreciation from many, including sailing legend Jean-Luc Van Den Heede who had even shown interest to enter the event.

Cole Brauer did not only achieve a terrific goal for all female sailors, but she did so bringing back offshore solo sailing to the American public who had hosted the BOC Challenge from 1982 to 2002 in Newport Rhode Island, later renamed the Around Alone, an event that was a precursor to the Vendée Globe and provided many sailors a first step in long distance offshore solo sailing. The event however lost traction at the turn of the century leaving a void. The fact that Cole completed the event on a first generation Class40 is also a noteworthy fact.

The Class40 association was born in 2005 with a view of making offshore shorthanded sailing more affordable and not just open to professionals, this whilst the Open 50 class was withering and had been eliminated from the Vendée Globe and the cost of IMOCA 60 continued to increase. Unfortunately the advent of the new round bow scow design Class40s has instantly made the more traditional "pointy" boats obsolete in terms of performance. The Global Solo Challenge is the first event that has offered a space to these boats for a non stop solo circumnavigation and despite the difficulties encountered by some, the event is certainly proving these boats are an excellent platform for an affordable project with Cole Brauer having made the most of this opportunity.

Andrea Mura has a huge following in Italy built over many years of racing and many victories, and just like Cole chose a positive and friendly communication style which has earned him the appreciation of a vast public. He has also shown how an ex-Vendée Globe which had completed a circumnavigation can still do so 23 years later.

The Global Solo Challenge aims at being inclusive, accessible and sustainable, so many boats already exist to enter this event and as much as innovation is part of humanity, we believe there must be spaces where this sport can express all it has to give in less resource-hungry ways.

All skippers came each with their personal stories and each, including those who have retired, have contributed to the success of the event and each deserves our admiration and appreciation. We will have more chances to bring you more stories with additional interviews once this edition draws to an end.

As we all wait for Andrea to make his lifelong dream come true and enter the elite group of Italian and world circumnavigators we follow closely the progress of those still at sea, Riccardo Tosetto, Francois Gouin, David Linger and Louis Robein. We also start daydreaming about the future, knowing we have not been perfect in this first edition, but, we think, we have set alight a little fire that can successfully grow for the future.

The event is still taking place but we really wanted to thank everyone that has been following worldwide and remind all of the appointment to follow Andrea Mura finish live in the Spanish afternoon on Sunday 17th (morning in the US). Cole Brauer will be our special guest this time and will present the Global Solo Challenge trophy to Andrea in keeping with the spirit and camaraderie of the event.

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