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Elcano Challenge Resurrected

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In late 2020, sailing legend Jimmy Cornell set off on his Elcano Challenge, a green-powered circumnavigation aboard the custom Outremer Aventura Zero. Unfortunately, shortly after setting out, the boat encountered major power-generation issues. "I took the decision to turn around at Tenerife and put my project on hold. One of the most important things I have learned in many years of sailing is to resist the temptation to jump to a conclusion before examining all the necessary facts," Cornell said. "Being aware in Tenerife that we had reached a point of no return, and unable to reach a satisfactory answer to my predicament, I decided to return to the Outremer boatyard in France and only decide there if my project could be continued or should be abandoned."

The 1,500-mile return journey to France allowed him to monitor his systems and gather information about what to do next. Though the boat was plenty seaworthy, the power system wasn't meeting demands. "Rather disappointingly and despite all efforts, we failed to maintain a sustainable balance between consumption and regeneration. It became quite clear that the initial assessment of the overall consumption and the potential of the regeneration system had both been unrealistic." A plan to remedy both concerns is already in the works, again in partnership with Outremer and Oceanvolt.

He plans to restart the voyage next season, leaving Seville in late October. The unforeseen delay has a silver lining, as the new return date will coincide with the 500th anniversary of the completion of the world's first circumnavigation, by Ferdinand Magellan's successor Juan Sebastián Elcano, for whom Cornell's project is named, in 1522.

For more, visit cornellsailing.com

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