Ronnie Simpson is gearing up for Global Solo Challenge with Elvstrøm Sails and Challenge Sailcloth
Ronnie Simpson is setting sails on an immense project in 2023 racing singlehanded around the Globe in the Global Solo Challenge powered by Elvstrøm Sails in corporation with Elvstrøm Sails Chesapeake Sailmakers and Challenge Sailcloth.
The idea of racing alone around the world came about for Ronnie Simpson through the last couple of years – and now the dream is set to become a reality.
Sail production at Elvstrøm Sails is about to kick into gear, which also means that Ronnie Simpson is close to reaching his first big goal. Ronnie Simpson has over 15 years of experience in competitive offshore sailing and has among other results two Transpac division wins to his name – one of which were singlehanded.
Ronnie Simpson is 37 years old and based off Hawaii. He has used sailing to find a new direction in life after returning to the States as an Iraq war veteran. Simpson was wounded in combat in Iraq and is classified as a medially retired US Marine. Discovering the world of sailing became a vital turning point for Ronnie Simpson, who has clocked over 130.000 miles at sea since then.
Sparrow is an Open 50 from 1994. The yacht was built in Australia and designed by David Lyons. Sparrow was originally built for the 1994 BOC Around the World Race, and now it's time for another race around the Globe. Photo: Ronniesimpsonracing.com
Starting the Global Solo Challenge in A Coruña, Spain later in 2023 with ‘Sparrow’, an Open 50. Sparrow has done it all before, in fact, she has completed two singlehanded races around the World before.
- I have always had the Vendée Globe as my ultimate goal in life, so I was naturally interested in the Global Solo Challenge as soon as I heard of it. I had also given a project for the Global Solo Challenge some thought, but I did not have the right boat for the race which initially made me put the idea away. Then, my old friend Whitall Stokes reached out to me last summer and asked if I would be interested in campaigning Sparrow - and I jumped at the opportunity right away, Ronnie Simpson says.
Ronnie Simpson is gearing up for a completely new challenge - sailing around the World in the Global Solo Challenge. Photo: Jon Whittle/Sailing World Magazine
The Elvstrøm Sails wardrobe is shaping up
A Global Solo Challenge entry of this scale takes months of planning and - of course - strong partnerships. Elvstrøm Sails is on board with Ronnie Simpson and Sparrow for this project in which Sparrow will run a full range of Elvstrøm Sails produced from Challenge Sailcloths. The wardrobe is produced with sustainability in mind, which means that a substantial part of the wardrobe is based on the eXRP type of cloth, made from recycled materials.
The sail wardrobe for Sparrow includes a Fathead Mainsail, Furling Jib 103% and a Staysail 80% which are all made from the Challenge Sailcloth eXRP Cruise 24. The eXRP Cruise is a high-end laminate, where the main parts of the material are made from recycled polyester. That includes the film, the taffeta, and the polyester fibres. The combination of black polyester fibres and white taffeta makes up for a greyish look. The eXRP Cruise is further stabilized with 5% of UPE virgin fibres.
Adding to this are two variations of the Elvstrøm Sails Code 0 in the shape of a Code 0 Cable Free 65% and a Code 0 C 53%. A Gennaker and a spinnaker is also a part of the new wardrobe for Sparrow – these measure 205 m² for the CR Gennaker and 274 m² for the Elvstrøm Sails A2 Spinnaker.
Sparrow has done it all before, albeit under a different name. The Global Solo Challenge entry is set to be her third circumnavigation. Photo: Jon Whittle/Sailing World Magazine
A unique challenge
Racing around the Globe represents a unique challenge, in which Ronnie Simpson and Sparrow can expect over 120 days of continuous sailing. For Elvstrøm Sails, this also makes an ideal opportunity for an extreme long-distance test including all the feedback it represents, R&D Manager Flemming Christensen says:
- This is a very interesting project to follow, and it represents a great opportunity for us and Challenge Sailcloth to get the feedback from a very thorough long-distance test of our designs, materials, and solutions. I can’t wait to see Sparrow with the new wardrobe on.
The partnership between Sparrow and Elvstrøm Sails works both ways, Ronnie Simpson adds:
- Elvstrøm Sails is the perfect partner for this project. It's a huge company with big resources that can take on a project like this and build great sails for me. At the same time, it is also a company which can benefit from raising its profile in the USA, which I believe I can add to with my new racing programme. It is really a perfect relationship where both sides can benefit and help each other grow, and I like that. I am very happy to have Elvstrøm Sails onboard with my racing efforts.
Having got the boat just six months ago, Ronnie Simpson is working hard to get everything ready for the start in Europe in October 2023. Simpson and Sparrow are currently in the US, with a solo Atlantic crossing planned in the summer ahead of the start from Spain.
Check out www.ronniesimpsonracing.com for more!
Cover photo courtesy of Phil Anema.