On Saturday the Italian sailor Gaetano Mura will leave Cagliari in Sardinia, for a 25,000 nm, single-handed round-the-world challenge on a Class40 called Italia, designed by French Sam Manuard and built by Bert Mauri specifically for this voyage.
Gaetano has been training for over 18 months in preparation to beat the current record of 137 days held by China's Guo Chuan. The start was originally planned for Wednesdaybut had to be delayed due to poor weather in the southern Mediterranean. A powerful low-pressure system over the Eastern Atlantic has been intensifying with winds as strong as 50 knots and 6m waves.
The sailing challenge
Gaetano Mura's circumnavigation will take around four months. Once he passes Gibraltar and reaches the Atlantic ocean, he will sail south to the Cape of Good Hope and clockwise around Antarctica, leaving port Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn to head back to the Mediterranean.
Navigating through harsh conditions and extreme weather, Gaetano will sail non-stop, single-handed and without outside assistance. He will use a technique known as 'micro-sleeping' which involves alternating two hours awake with 20 minute naps and his mental state and health will be monitored by a medical team from the University of Cagliari. Gaetano will also be following a strict diet including organic food from Sardinia, one of the planet's few Blue Zones noted for high longevity.
The skipper, Gaetano Mura
Gaetano was born in 1968 in Cala Gonone in Sardinia, Italy, where he's lived ever since, close to nature and the sea. He first worked as a ship's boy on fishing boats, and later became a captain on small passenger ships. At the age of 20 he bought an old 23m sailing yacht and restored it for charter. A self-taught sailor, Gaetano has crossed the ocean five times, two of which were solo voyages, and he has regularly competed in offshore races in the Mini 6.50 and Class40.
Gaetano participated in the Mini Transat in 2009 and it was shortly after this that he launched this current campaign. His Manuard Class40 was launched in March 2012 and Gaetano went on to win his first Palermo-Montecarlo race, and second place in the famous Rolex Middle Sea Race.
In 2013 he also raced in Les Sables-Horta-Les Sables. Later that year, together with Sam Manuard he raced in the prestigious Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre in France to itajaì in Brazil, and despite a dismasting the duo bounced back to finish 10th overall.
Gaetano's solo round the world voyage becomes a reality on Saturday 15 October and we wish him fair winds and following seas!