, 2022-07-31 23:11:40,
Dafydd Hughes was the second sailor to sign up for the Global Solo Challenge. He shares how he is preparing to race his S&S 34 around the world
The Global Solo Challenge is billed as a race like no other: a chance for small 34ft boats to fairly race against 55ft yachts.
Vessels will be grouped by performance characteristics before setting off in staggered departures over an 11 week period, with the fastest boats trying to catch the slower boats; the first yacht to cross the finish line wins.
Dafydd Hughes was the second skipper to pay the €7,500 entrance fee for the solo, unassisted, round the world yacht race, which start from A Coruña in Spain in September 2023.
The 62-year-old has previously sailed as crew in the 2007-08 Clipper Round the World Race aboard Glasgow, skippered by Hannah Jenner.
He bought his Sparkman and Stephens 34, Bendigedig 18 months ago; it had been on the hard in a shed for a decade.
‘I basically just bought a hull and a deck. I have done the work myself so I know every inch of that boat. I’ve installed two watertight bulkheads. I moved the diesel tanks forward so they are above the keel.
‘I did quite a bit of work on Class 40s, so I’ve applied some of the principles of that design to the S&S 34. So the galley is in the middle, and the nav desk is to one side. All the teak and brass has gone. Every pipe and wire is new. I have new sails, a new mast. All the deck fittings are new. I have sealed off the windows by taking the windows out and putting marine ply backed with GRP and epoxy. I also built a solid spray hood from GRP as well,’ explained Hughes, who is a Yachtmaster.
Finding the right boat for the Global Solo Challenge
Originally, he had planned to buy a Sigma 36 for the race, but a friend persuaded him to commit to the S&S 34.
There was a catch though. The smallest boat allowed in the Global Solo Challenge was 35ft. Organisers agreed to make an exception for Hughes due to the S&S 34’s offshore credentials.
The boat has certainly proved itself to be race ready. At Cork Week recently, Hughes and his crew won the Prince of Wales Cup in the Classics Class.
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