Adventurer Guo Chuan to attempt solo world sail

Guo Chuan hopes his solo sail around the globe inspires new generation at home

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 September, 2012, 12:35pm

Guo Chuan will have more than a world record on his mind when he sets off to sail solo around the globe in November - he wants to inspire a new generation of Chinese sailors and adventurers.

Guo was in Hong Kong last week to take delivery of the 40-foot Qingdao, the vessel he hopes will see him become the first person to sail an Akilaria Class 40 yacht around the world and the first Chinese man to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation.

"The 40-foot category is something no one has ever done before, it's totally different," said the 48-year-old. "So it is a big challenge for me and something that I hope will make people in China think about sailing. It is more than just about me, it is about sailing and people becoming involved."

It took a month for Guo's boat to be transported from France to its current berth at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and he has been fitting it out there before scheduled test runs in the waters around Hong Kong Island this week. The plan is then to sail to Qingdao in Shandong province for final preparations before heading out east in early November and towards Cape Horn in Chile. From there, it's past the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, through the Malacca Strait and finally - after about 130 days on the water - back to Qingdao, having covered an estimated 21,600 nautical miles.

Guo, who has been sailing for 15 years, in 2008 became the first Chinese sailor to take part in the gruelling round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race and has been training full time for this new quest for the past three years.

"I was a late starter with sailing," he said. "And the sport is fairly new in China. But the more attention it gets, the more people will become interested, like me."