ELCANO Challenge - Jimmy Cornell has thrown in the towel... but will set off again in a year’s time!

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Who: Jimmy Cornell and his crew
Where: Tenerife, Canarias Islands
Multihull: Outremer 4X prototype


“My decision to abandon the Elcano Challenge has taken by surprise many of those who have been following my voyage, and I want to apologize to all of you for the disappointment this may have caused. After my brief (…) announcement, I owe it to you to explain in detail the reasons for my decision. (…) What this passage has shown was that in spite of all our efforts to save energy, we were unable to regenerate sufficient electricity to cover consumption and top up the batteries. We realized that if we did not reduce the overall consumption, the batteries could be completely depleted. To avoid such a situation, on several days we did not use the electric winches, avoided using the power-hungry electric cooker, and instead cooked or heated up some of our meals in a solar cooker. We cut personal consumption to the absolute minimum, we did not boil water, had no hot drinks, turned off the two fridges, and either had cold food or whatever we managed to bake in our solar cooker. (…) The only conclusion I could draw was that in its present form, the regeneration system, and implicitly the entire concept, was not working. (…) In fairness to Outremer I must point out that CEO Xavier Demarest, general manager Stephane Grimault and head of the design office Stephane Renard all advised me to have an auxiliary generator, even if only to be used in an emergency. But I refused, as it would have defeated the very concept of a zero-emissions sailing boat. (…) If we decided to continue our voyage along the proposed route, stopping occasionally to fully charge the batteries seemed unavoidable. Once we had passed the Cape Verde Islands, the nearest place to make such a stop would be over 1,500 miles away, with the equator and doldrums to cross on the way. The prospect of being forced to stop in Brazil, where the Covid situation is totally out of control, was another risk I was not prepared to take. I had already decided to spend the winter in the Canaries when I saw the latest forecast and the possibility of three days of southerly winds. It was a temptation impossible to resist. We left immediately”.

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