Olympian to Sail Laser Radial from California to Hawaii

Published on February 4th, 2016

After competing in four Olympic Games, 36-year old Tania Elias Calles is now pursuing her biggest dream yet: to compete in the toughest and most dangerous solo non-stop race around the world – Vendée Globe 2020.

It all began for Tania at age 6 on a lake near Mexico City where she soon began dreaming of winning an Olympic sailing medal. Without much support or coaching, she clawed her way up the Laser Radial ranking, soon medaling at the Pan Am Games and World Championships.

When she lacked funding, she gained notoriety in 2010 by setting the Guinness World Record for the longest single-handed unassisted journey in a dinghy (Laser) by a female, sailing 282.78 nm from Los Cabos at the tip of Baja California Sur across the Gulf of California to Bahia de Banderas on mainland Mexico.

While not fulfilling her dream of an Olympic medal after 16 years of training and high performance competition, Tania is now focused on the Vendée Globe in 2020. She is again short on funds, as just buying the IMOCA 60 for the race will cost of 3 to 6 million dollars. So this time, to gain notoriety, she is going to sail her Laser Radial from California to Hawaii.

In order to achieve international media exposure and raise capital, Tania will sail a distance well over 2000 nautical miles to set a massive world record. Tania not only hopes to establish a new parameter for what is possible but also prove her potential for the Vendee Globe, exhibiting the mental strength, will, determination and focus that is needed to circumnavigate the world.

For this Pacific Ocean crossing, a support vessel will be following providing assistance, media, and to monitor the weather and her health. She plans to leave from San Francisco during the summer of 2016, with the crossing expected to take two to three weeks to complete.

Tania hopes the exposure from the ocean crossing attracts the right sponsor, after which she will set out to design and build her IMOCA 60 and begin her offshore training.

The training involves all sorts of areas like medical and survival lessons, learning to manage a boat with that sort of power, dimensions and rigging, security requirement and licenses, courses, sleep depravation training, mechanics, nutrition, new home (based out of Spain), first long distance offshore races, etc. All this while supervising multiple people and managing the project.

Tania´s first race around the world, the Barcelona World Race, will take place in 2018. This race will be done on the same boat which she will use in 2020, but with another crewmember. This race is a double handed round the world race, non stop from Barcelona to Barcelona.

Every milestone and accomplishment, and all the pain and suffering, will help Tania prepare for the final goal: Sailing solo non-stop around the world without assistance and crossing the finish line of the Vendée Globe in 2020.

Stage 1 is this summer, and Tania is currently looking for an appropriate support boat for her journey from California to Hawaii. More info:

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