On March 13, Xu Jingkun, the “single-armed captain” from Qingdao, held a news conference, saying that he is set to attend the Vendée Globe dubbed as “Everest of the Seas”.
At 5:49 a.m. of November 26, 2022 Beijing time, Xu Jingkun steered his sailboat and arrived at the destination in Guadeloupe, Caribbean Sea, and completed the 2022 Route du Rhum solo trans-Atlantic sailing race after an odyssey for 16 days 8 hours and 34 minutes. Xu Jingkun has become the first Chinese captain to qualify for and complete the race as well as the first Asian captain to complete the IMOCA section. This is the third time that Xu Jingkun saw the five-starred red flag fly in the sky of Caribbean ports following the 2015 “MINI TRANSAT” solo trans-Atlantic extreme challenge race and the 2017 China First Catamaran Round the World.
Born in Qingdao in 1989, Xu Jingkun lost his left forearm in an accident at the age of 12 but he has withstood the test of life. In 2008, Xu Jingkun attended the Paralympic Sailing Games in Qingdao as a member of the China national team. From then on, his life has been tied to sailing.
Known as the world’s cruelest competition, the Vendée Globe requires contestants to steer an unpowered yacht single-handedly, set off from Vendée, a city in France close to the Atlantic, pass via Cape of Good Hope in Africa, encircle the Antarctica continent, cross the Cape Horn and finally return to France via South America. In the whole journey, yachts don’t pull over and continue the trip in one direction without supplies. Because the race is so difficult and time-consuming, it takes place every four years. Contestants usually start off in November and arrive at Vendée, France as early as next February.
Founded in 1992, dubbed as the “Olympic Games for Navigators” and “Everest of the Seas”, the race has only seen 89 successful challengers. Foreign media even think that going into space is even less challenging than attending the Vendée Globe. As a captain, Xu Jingkun is keenly aware of hardships and dangers. But he said, every sailor dreams about conquering “Vendée Globe”. Ever since I first dipped into sailing 18 years ago, I have been preparing for this race.” (Zhang Yu)
“Single-armed captain” Xu Jingkun.
Xu Jingkun in a race.