Sunday, July 25, 2010

Respect : round the world solo non-stop without assistance, on a sailing boat of 6.5

I had to go there.
It was a sort of mystic conviction - something in the nature of a call.
But it was difficult to state intelligibly the grounds of this belief to that man of rigorous logic...
Joseph Conrad, The mirror of the sea

From OceanExplorers

Franco-Italian Alessandro Di Benedetto has spent the last 268 days circumnavigating the world in a 6.5 meter yacht solo. The last part, the whole Atlantic, of it with a jury rig.

Alessandro Di Benedetto arrived in Les Sables d’Olonne, France on Thursday July 22nd, where he started nearly nine months ago. Hundreds of friends, family and followers had gathered to meet the solo sailor.

It was really fantastic for me. It was a dream I've always thought was feasible. However, there are plenty of people told me I was crazy and that I would die, Alessandro said when he finally could set his feet on shore again.

The boat he used, though modified, is by no means designed for a world circumnavigation. The 6.5 meter long boat is designed for fast solo sailing over the Atlantic in warm down wind. Not for sailing in house high waves in the harsh Southern Ocean conditions. But the 40 year old solo sailor managed to control both his boat and himself during the 24,000 miles nonstop and without assistance.

It’s a first for such a small boat.
His record, as the smallest boat to complete a circumnavigation in such a time, have been approved by the World Speed Sailing Record Council (WSSRC). The official time is 268 days, 19 hours, 36 minutes and 12 seconds as the official time.

"Keeps going anyway"
The accomplishment becomes even bigger when considering that the Franco-Italian sailor dismasted just before rounding Cape Horn. He made a jury rig and after some thinking decided to carry on to Les Sables d’Olonne. That’s seamanship and persistence few can do after him.
The distance under jury rig alone must be close to a world record in jury rigged sailing--if such a category exists.

Alessandro had rather lofty goals for his project which range beyond simply being the 'first' to achieve something. In his words (from his website) some of the aims of the project were :
  • to accomplish a unique feat which would be recognized as World Record.
  • to be ambassador and international testimonial for sponsors taking part into the event.
  • to contribute to the scientific research in several fields (renewable energy, environment protection, medical researches, new technologies, clothing, materials).
  • to promote extraordinary experience to be shared with people from different cultures in order to make them feel citizens of the world.
  • to be a source of inspiration and motivation for children and young people and to educate them to consider themselves citizens of the world in order to sustain the protection of both natural and artistic earth heritage, with special regard to the next generations.
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