French Frédéric Switala is the 12th entry in the GSC

French Frédéric Switala is the 12th entry in the GSC

French Frédéric Switala is the 12th entry in the GSC


07/03/2021 - 11:34

Frédéric Switala from Port Saint Louis Du Rhone in France learnt an important lesson as a child from the very Eric Tabarly: once you start sailing you have to get to your destination with your resources, and doing is better than talking.

From his first navigation from Marseille to Corsica as a child he dreamed of crossing the Atlantic single-handed one day. After fulfilling that dream his horizon opened up to envisaging a solo circumnavigation, until the GSC provided the perfect opportunity.

Where does your passion for sailing come from?

When I moved to the south of France with my parents, i started sailing monohulls in Marseille, when i was 13 years old. Sailing with my family and crossing to Corsica was my first offshore sailing experience back in 1982. I thank my father for showing me the way.

What are the lessons you learnt from sailing?

When i met Eric Tabarly as a kid, I understood that you have to be able to arrive by yourself if you start sailing, and it’s better to do than to talk.

What brought you to like single-handed sailing?

I like to open my mind to the sea, feeling the boat, the wind in the sails and the power of nature. Being alone is always a challenge.

What prompted you to sign up for this event?

My first dream as child was to cross the Atlantic single-handed. Now that’s done I would like to fulfil my second dream sailing “alone around the world”.  The Vendée Globe is too expensive and I like IOR racing boats, that’s why i bought my Frers 48. Actually whilst preparing her, i understood that the GSC gives me that possibility to do it now.

How do you plan to prepare for this event?

The Boat is ashore in the shipyard for preparations for the circumnavigation. GSC safety rules are great and give you more work but i would like to be ready for summer 2022. This will give me enough to sail alone in  different weather conditions..

What do you think will be the biggest challenge?

Strong winds, heavy seas and cold weather in Indian and Pacific Oceans, but you know that Cape Horn will be the reward.

Do you intend to link this personal challenge with a social message?

Think more at real life than about your virtual one.

Tell us about your boat

I fell in love when i saw her onshore as the boat of my next dream around the world. It is a strong aluminium boat built in 1985 for the Sidney Hobart race. She was then refitted in 2007 as a fast cruiser giving her a second life. I have modified her for solo sailing and for ease of carrying out repairs if necessary.

Sailing experience
Many Mediterranean Regatta (Solo, Double-handed)
Polynesia cruising (2002, 2004, 2006)
Atlantic crossing in 2010 (Solo) and 2012 (Double-handed)
Atlantic crossing in 2016 and 2020 (Crewed)
Many professional conveys

Solveig brings 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart to a close