Embarking on a daring adventure, 22-year-old sailor Xavier Doerr from the Gold Coast took on one of the most formidable challenges in the sailing world—a non-stop, unassisted, solo circumnavigation of Australia. Xavier set sail from the Southport Yacht Club on April 29, 2023, on his 21-foot Mini Transat Carbon Fibre Race Yacht sponsored by and named GCCM. However, his journey encountered a significant setback when he faced a severe weather system off the West Australian coastline, leading him to make an unplanned stop at the Fremantle Sailing Club on June 7 for extensive repairs.
Tragically, Xavier’s journey came to a halt when he lost contact with his support team in treacherous seas in the Great Australian Bight on Friday, July 7. Facing 10-meter swells and cyclonic winds, he activated his personal locator beacon, triggering a desperate rescue effort coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. After almost 24 hours and two thwarted attempts, Xavier was eventually rescued by the crew of the giant container ship Theodore JR on Saturday night, July 8. He was medivacked to Adelaide the following morning.
Xavier Doerr’s journey around Australia is a testament to his unwavering determination, courage, and love for sailing. Though his circumnavigation attempt was halted, Xavier’s remarkable spirit and passion continue to inspire. Battling enormous seas and gusting winds of up to 80 knots, he remained resolute in his pursuit of completing his “Little Lap” around Australia.
To determine the extent of the damage and have it repaired, Xavier intends to bring the damaged yacht back up to GCCM. The vessel has many holes that are now absorbing water. To stop further flooding, the bilge pumps are still operating on the backup battery system. All of the boat’s other electronics, meanwhile, are underwater.
GCCM fully back up Xavier and his attempt to break these records. GCCM supports innovators and pioneers and his yacht (SY GCCM) is packed with cutting-edge technologies such as light-weight composite materials, renewable energy systems, advanced navigation and communication systems, and miniaturised equipment.
GCCM assist and support him but don’t manage the sailing. Our view is he was never at risk. His boat could not sink as she is full of foam and even if she was going under, she would still float.
Now, with the support of his shore team, Xavier assesses the damage and plans the necessary repairs to resume his extraordinary journey. While the setback may have hindered his chances of claiming certain records, Xavier’s determination remains unwavering. His dream of becoming the youngest solo sailor to circumnavigate Australia in the smallest boat continues to drive him forward, highlighting his tenacity and unwavering dedication to his passion for sailing.
About Xavier’s Journey
Xavier’s Little lap around Australia was to cover a distance of approximately 7,500 nautical miles, equivalent to completing 12 consecutive Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races. This feat showcases not only his solo sailing skills but also his ability to navigate the challenging waters of the Australian coastline. Additionally, Xavier’s journey represents one-third of a lap around the globe, emphasising the magnitude of his solo endeavour.
With the assistance of his Shore Team led by Lee Randall, you can follow the progress that Xavier made in the Little Aussie Lap via www.facebook.com/ThelittleAussieLap2.0 and on his tracker on www.thelittleaussielap.com/tracker.
To ensure safety and self-sufficiency during his voyage, Xavier meticulously prepared GCCM with essential supplies. The boat was equipped with spare sails, safety gear, medical kits, EPIRBs, and a state-of-the-art B&G H500 Navigation and Autopilot System.
Additionally, Xavier’s onboard inventory included over 200 freeze-dried meals, 30 cans of spaghetti and meatballs, sleeping bunks, a sleeping bag, a Watt & Sea Hydrogenator, a Katadyn 40e watermaker, electronic devices such as iPads and phones, a Satphone, a Go Pro camera, and various other essentials like hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, thermals, and a fishing kit.
In his quest for maximum performance and vigilant navigation, Xavier follows the footsteps of offshore solo racing pioneers. Inspired by the Vendée Globe race, he limited his sleep to short intervals of no more than 15 minutes at a time. This ensured a constant lookout while minimising rest time.
You can read more about the journey that he had planned here: www.gccm.com.au/gccm-sponsors-young-australian-boatie-xavier-doerr/
Xavier Doerr’s journey around Australia was a testament to his unwavering determination, courage, and love for sailing. Despite the setback he faced during his Little Lap, he showcased incredible resilience and showcased the spirit of adventure that drives sailors to push their limits. As Xavier’s story continues to unfold, GCCM remain captivated by his indomitable spirit and eagerly anticipate his future adventures. Stay tuned for updates on Xavier Doerr’s remarkable journey—a tale of inspiration, challenges, and the unwavering pursuit of dreams.
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