Arnaud Gaist has long dreamed of participating in the Golden Globe Race. He shares how he’s preparing for his solo, non-stop circumnavigation around the world without modern technology
Arnaud Gaist learned to sail on his own at the age of 23, inspired by the work of Bernard Moitessier, Vito Dumas and Joshua Slocum.
The 50-year-old French skipper, passionate about solo sailing, has already crossed the Atlantic solo without an engine or modern equipment.
“I started by reading the long way by Moitessier; a year later i was buying my 35ft sailboat to go live at sea. i had no experience, no money and i did all the stupid things possible like run aground in front of the harbor and hit a rock “, did he declare Monthly Yachting.
“At the age of 24, I was doing my first transatlantic solo without any technology, without an engine, without a raft, without telecommunications, with a 25-foot sailboat authorized to sail just 5 miles from the coast!
Arnaud, who has covered 10,000 miles solo, will participate in the 2022 Golden Globe Race aboard his long keel Barbican 33 MkII, Hermes phone.
Designed by the old Monthly Yachting editor, Maurice Griffiths, the Barbican is a sturdy, rather narrow boat. Hermes phone is rigged in cutter.
He plans to begin his 2,000 mile qualifying run for the Golden Globe Race in April 2022.
Why participate in the Golden Globe Race 2022?
Arnaud Gaist: Because I couldn’t participate in the Golden Globe Race 2018.
I have planned to do this course for 25 years.
The children, the job, my ex-wife plunged me into a maelstrom much worse than the Golden Globe Race.
The real danger is on the ground, and it’s called dying of boredom. All fathers and mothers have certainly experienced this.
What did you learn from the 2018 Golden Globe Race?
Arnaud Gaist: A lot and a little at the same time.
I have been studying it for three to four years and to sum up let’s say that the important thing is the mental preparation and the preparation of the sailboat
How will you cope with heavy weather?
Arnaud Gaist: You mean survival? With a 25 footer with nothing, no modern safety system, life raft, beacon or communication, I had the opportunity to believe in God several times. Fortunately once on the ground I no longer believe it.
What did you learn from Jean-Luc Van Den Heede’s victory at the 2018 Golden Globe Race?
Arnaud Gaist: Many things, but I keep them to myself. I am a loner.
Why did you choose a Maurice Griffiths Barbican 33 MkII for the 2022 Golden Globe Race?
Arnaud Gaist: Simply because I had it before the Golden Globe Race.
It was my sailboat, my home since 2017. I’m not a yachtsman, I’m an anarchist who chose the sailboat to be free
How do you prepare the boat for the race?
Arnaud Gaist: In short, I did everything myself.
For a few months, I had the help of the Eric Tabarly school in Les Sables d’Olonne.
Absolutely everything on the boat has been reviewed, transformed or redone.
What will your sail plan be?
Arnaud Gaist: It will depend on my budget.
At the moment I don’t have a spinnaker. If I have some money left, maybe I’ll have a spinnaker
Are you looking to win or win?
Arnaud Gaist: Winning does not correspond to my philosophy. Winning is way too vulgar and I’m too snobby
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For this race there will be no HAM radio allowed, only licensed single sideband (SSB) HF radio with maritime license, with talks limited to Global Maritime Distress and Safety System weather ( GMDSS). Weather fax will be allowed for the race. Some of the 2018 Golden Globe Race skippers have raised concerns about the detection of GMDSS in the Southern Ocean. Do you share these concerns?
Arnaud Gaist: I have always made crossings without weather information and without communication. I never mind
Jean-Luc Van Den Heede consulted meteorologists and studied the weather to choose the best route which helped him make early gains in the 2018 race. Do you plan to do the same?
Arnaud Gaist: Nope
How is your celestial navigation going?
Arnaud Gaist: I am happy
What vane steering configuration do you plan to use?
Arnaud Gaist: I will use a Hydrovane. His name is Nanar (for Bernard Moitessier)
What antifouling are you going to use?
Arnaud Gaist: Top secret!
Are you confident to be on the starting line for 2022?
Arnaud Gaist: Yesssssss!
Is coping with isolation a problem?
Arnaud Gaist: I never sailed solo for seven months, but I did a month and a half with no problem.
It’s the return to humanity that is always overwhelming
I prefer to be alone.
What will you miss by participating in the race?
Arnaud Gaist: A shower with unlimited fresh water
What candy are you going to take?
Arnaud Gaist: Chocolate and cheese
The 2018 GGR was a celebration of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. The GGR 2022 is a celebration of Bernard Moitessier. What words of wisdom from Moitessier will you follow in the race?
Arnaud Gaist: “It is fate that distributes the card, but it is we who play them”, Bernard Moitessier. This translates to: “Fate deals the cards, but we play them.”
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