The Global Solo Challenge is set to go a year from now, taking singlehanded boats around the world via the Southern Ocean. A half dozen circumnavigating races that go south of the three great capes are planned for the near future, but the Challenge takes a slightly different approach. The brainchild of Marco Nannini, an Italian sailor who gave up a banking career to sail in the Global Ocean Race of 2011-2012, the GSC is a Southern Ocean handicap race. Boats will head off from A Coruña, a port city on the northern Atlantic Coast of Spain, with slow boats starting early in September 2023 and the fastest boats leaving at the end of October.
Staggered starts are not new in circumnavigating races, but instead of racers starting out when they are ready and winning or losing based on their overall time, the GSC will divide entries into at least six groups of boats based on IRC ratings, which rank them according to fixed measurements rather than performance. The idea is to have a potentially exciting finish line back at A Coruña, and also to have boats bunch up around Cape Horn where sailing in company could be useful.
Entry fees are modest for such an event and the race is aimed at solo sailors who don’t have deep financial pockets and who would be put off from joining the big ocean racing fleets. Eligible boats are monohulls with LOA’s between 32 feet and 55 feet, and IRC ratings below 1.370. Boats with the lowest IRC ratings will leave first and the fast boats like the Open 50s will leave last.
The GSC is reminiscent of the first Golden Globe race with a wide range of boats entering. So far the list of entrants ranges from a Caliber 33 entered by a 25-year-old sailor from the USA, to an X-55 with a 66-year-old sailor from Belgium. There is one Frenchwoman who has entered with a boat to be decided.
Closing date for registration is June 30, 2023. More information is available at globalsolochallenge.com.