Guo Chuan battles Roaring Forties in circumnavigation challenge

Inmarsat-sponsored sailor Guo Chuan is starting 2013 tackling the strong winds and towering waves of the Southern Ocean's Roaring Forties.

The Chinese yachtsman is attempting to set a new world record for solo non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.

No sailor has ever attempted this in a boat as small as his 40-foot (12-metre) vessel Qingdao.

Invaluable comms
If successful he will be the first person from China to achieve such a feat.

Guo cast off from Qingdao in Shandong province, eastern China, in November on the 21,600-nautical-mile journey, which is expected to take about 125 days.

His FleetBroadband satcoms system, jointly provided by Inmarsat and the China Telecommunications and Information Centre (CTTIC), has already proved invaluable.

Typhoon Botha
When reports of the gathering Typhoon Bopha were received, Guo was able to keep in close contact with his onshore support team.

With the help of meteorologist Christian Dumard they mapped out a route to take him out of the storm's path.

He has also been able to call home regularly, speaking to his wife and keeping up to date with news of his baby son.

Pictures of son
“I miss him a lot and really want to be with him,” Guo admitted.

“My wife sends me pictures of him and I print them out and put them up on the wall. That's my way to stay together with my family.”

Guo is using media solutions from Livewire Digital to transmit photos and videos via FleetBroadband.

Perilous seas
The 47-year-old arrived in the Roaring Forties on New Year's Eve and faces weeks of potentially perilous seas.

“This will be my greatest challenge so far,” said Guo. “If I was a soldier, this would be my battlefront.”

Guo Chuan's website: