Hundreds of people have sailed around the world solo, but no-one has ever done it like this.
Yvan Bourgnon decided to tackle the 50,000km journey on the kind of tiny, cabin-less catamaran commonly seen on the beaches at Club Med resorts.
“He refused to use any kind of GPS, limiting himself to a compass and sextant”
Not only that, but the Swiss sailor also refused to use any kind of GPS or modern technology, allowing himself to just a compass and a sextant – the kind of thing Magellan would have used back in the day.
Capsizing and near death experiences
It’s been a pretty epic and emotional adventure so far. He’s capsized a lot (at one stage going over 30 times in a single night!), and nearly drowned twice.
Not only that but he’s done long stretches without speaking to anyone – not even a football called Wilson – and he definitely looks like he’s nearly lost it on occasions.
“I rarely sleep more than 15 minutes at a time,” he told Red Bull, “with waves crashing into my face all night, every night for months.”
“I hadn’t slept for four days. I was in bad shape and I had hallucinations.”
Somehow despite all the obstacles, he’s made it all the way to Sri Lanka. But there unfortunately, the lack of sleep proved his undoing – after 14 days of straight sailing Yvan dosed off at a crucial moment and his boat was wrecked on rocks.
“I hadn’t slept for four days and I was two hours from port. I was in bad shape. I had hallucinations. I almost hit a cargo ship and I knew I had to sleep, or I would crash in the harbour,” he told Red Bull.
“I put the autopilot on but when I woke up I was in the breaking waves, and the boat smashed on the rocks.”
The way forward
Unsurprisingly, he was pretty cut up about it. But while many people would have given up at that point, Yvan is still keen to keep going. He’s currently raising funds through the French equivalent of Kickstarter to rebuild his boat and carry on.
He’s planning on making it back to France in time for Christmas – provided he doesn’t get kidnapped by Somalian pirates.
“No small sailing boats have gone [past Somalia] for six years so we don’t know if it’s a problem or not, but I am fast and I have nothing to give, nothing on the boat, so that will hopefully get me through!”
If you want to get involved and help Yvan finish his epic journey, his crowdfunding page is here.