Actual 46, the 35-year-old boat that won the “slow” round-the-world race

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Philippe Delamare
Philippe Delamare aboard his Actual 46 (14.20 m) Mowgli

How do you prepare a boat to sail around the world nonstop and alone? French skipper Philippe Delamare at the age of 61 won the first edition of the Global Solo Challenge. His boat? An Actual 46 (14.20 m), a dated boat, but one that reflects his approach to sailing. We tell you how he prepared it.

Actual 46, the globetrotting boat

He is the king of the Global Solo Challenge. At the age of 61, French sailor Philippe Delamare won the first edition of the nonstop, solo round-the-world race organized by Marco Nannini and open to multi-genre monohulls. Aboard “Mowgli.” an aluminum Actual 46 from 1989, Philippe was the first to cross the finish line last Feb. 24, closing the race course with a time of 147 days, one hour and three minutes by crossing the finish line near the breakwater in the Galician city of A Coruña, where he had started last Sept. 30.

Before we tell you about Philippe Delamare’s feat, we dwell precisely on his boat.

As anticipated, Philippe Delamare who purchased a 1989 Actual 46, made of aluminum, to participate in the round-the-world race. A dated but solid boat designed for long ocean voyages even at high latitudes and less focused on competition. Use for other sea adventures as well. Philippe found it in the South of France paying 50,000 euros for it, 20 times less than an IMOCA 60.

Philippe christened her “Mowgli,” after the little savage protagonist of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” whom he is very fond of. After that, he properly prepared her to take on the round-the-world voyage. At 14.20 meters long and 4.20 meters wide, “Mowgli” is a design by naval architect Jacques Fauroux and the boat was built by French shipyard Tinlan. It has a fixed keel and a draft of 2 meters. Delamare retained all structural parts: the aluminum hull, the polyester deck, the same keel and rudder, which all remained original.

How to prepare an Actual 46 to go around the world

Modifications included the French skipper completely redoing the deck plan, moving all rigging aft and leaving two winches close to the mast. Seeking simplicity, maneuverability and safety, he sought to make “Mowgli” maneuverable from the cockpit, minimizing exposure to the elements. Therefore, he relocated the mainsail carriage, which was previously located in the middle of the cockpit, to the stern. He also extended the carriage to refine the mainsail adjustment. He then introduced a tiller rudder, adding an extension to allow steering from the cockpit. He also fitted an orange, non-structural canopy so that it can be lowered or closed as needed.

After renewing the mast and rigging, Philippe also had to replace the sails, opting for an intermediate-quality material, DCX, a polyester laminated with taffeta on both sides, supplied by Dimension-Polyant and to be used for future sailings as well.

Reasoned tools and implants and a single “whim”

As for instruments and equipment, Philippe installed radar and AIS, two Watt&Sea hydrogenerators, and a flexible solar panel to effectively recharge the on-board batteries. Instead, in the aft part of the boat, on the starboard side, he installed the water production system, the watermaker, and on the port side he placed the electricity, converters and batteries. For navigation he put two complete and independent H 5000 B&G autopilots and two compass sensors, plus a windvane rudder, EST, approved as a respect rudder.

For weight reasons, the skipper eliminated the heating system, but planned to use small USB-powered electric fans and an electric blanket. The only comfort, a wonderful blue dentist’s chair in front of the chart table, also ideal for sleeping when the boat is heeled. Purchased on the Internet for only 7 euros.

In total, for the entire round-the-world project Philippe Dalmare spent 200,000 euros, a large sum, but still extremely small compared to other ocean races. But this makes his victory even more beautiful, that of a true sailor working with his hands, containing costs, looking at the essentials, but not giving up the big dream of sailing the ocean.


Philippe’s enterprise

And now we come to Philippe Delamare’s regatta victory. An extraordinary feat for this French sailor, a former business manager who at age 45 dropped everything to be a professional skipper. Delamare dominated the world tour from the very beginning, but faced quite a few difficulties. One night during a gale his boat lay on the water causing major damage: broken boom, torn canopy and some eyebolts, broken foresail forestay, and main autopilot out of action. Also on a physical level, throughout the trip Philippe struggled with a knee infection and painful low back pain.

Philippe Delamare

Hailed by all, including Andrea Mura

Hailing from Normandy, almost a Viking, and determined to live the dream of a lifetime, the French skipper overcame everything by thoroughly deserving this splendid victory, as well as the respect of the entire solo fleet. Including the Italian Andrea Mura on “Vento di Sardegna,” who after having sailed 375 miles in 24 hours, the best reference of the regatta, on his Facebook profile wanted to pay tribute to Philippe Delmare: “I would like to congratulate Philippe Delamare for finishing first in this GSC. He led an exemplary regatta from a sailing point of view. When I left, on November 18, he had already arrived almost in Australia carrying out his regatta on the other side of the world.”

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