Aina Bauza has become the first solo sailor to set the World Sailing Speed Record Council's Cadiz to San Salvador record in a monohull. It took the Spanish sailor just over 30 days to make the Atlantic crossing

Aina Bauza had hoped to have raced in the Mini Transat by now, but the Mallorcan sailor was not one of the 90 skippers chosen for the 2023 race, which many see as a pathway to the converted Vendée Globe.

Instead, the 29-year-old found a new challenge: setting a new world record.

The Cadiz to San Salvador route is one of several sanctioned by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. Until now, no one has ever completed it in a monohull.

A boat arriving in a port

Aina Bauza arriving in San Salvador, having sailed 4,800nm solo across the Atlantic. Credit: Peters & May

This changed on 3 April 2024, when Aina Bauza arrived at the tiny Bahamian island aboard her Mini 6.5m and sailed into the history books as the first solo sailor to complete this journey between Cadiz and San Salvador on a monohull.

Previous Cadiz and San Salvador records have all been done on a trimaran: Armel Le Cleac’h holds the solo trimaran record, having completed it on board Banque Populaire 7 in January 2014 in a time of 6 days, 23 hours, 42 minutes and 18 seconds.

Aina Bauza’s transatlantic crossing time from Cadiz to San Salvador was 30 days 22 hours and 34 minutes.

A 6.5m boat with red hull and white sails sailing out to sea

The record sail was the first time Aina Bauza had crossed the Atlantic solo. Credit: Peters & May

She had planned to cross in 21 days, but the position of the Azores High forced her to sail further south than planned, adding miles to her crossing; she then had days of squalls and 4m seas.

“I didn’t sail through any really bad weather, and the maximum wind speed I experienced was only 28 knots, but some big squalls hit me, along with 4m waves so I had to go further south than I wanted to. This means I was beating upwind, and at times, not advancing as quickly as I would like, so that added additional miles,” she explained to PBO.

Preparations for the Mini Transat meant Aina Bauza had already sailed over 8,000nm on her Mini 6.5m, Redó, many of them singlehanded.

Spanish sailor Aina Bauza on a boat smiling

Aina Bauza will now be preparing for the Mini Fastnet in the summer. Credit: Aina Bauza

The boat was already well prepared for the rigours of offshore racing; solar panels, a hydrogenerator and Starlink were added so she could stay in constant touch with her shore team, which included meteorologist Isaac Vilà, and regularly post on her Instagram page @ainasailing.

“This is the first time I have been sailing with a satellite connection onboard so I was able to remain in close contact with my family and friends, and I was able to call them and do video calls. It was a strange situation as you are in the middle of the Atlantic and still very well connected,” she said.

Apart from the weather, Aina also had to make repairs after the outrigger caused a small hole in the deck while sailing past the Canary Islands.

Aina had to patch up the hole caused by the outrigger. Credit: Aina Bauza/@ainasailing

Aina had to patch up the hole caused by the outrigger. Credit: Aina Bauza/@ainasailing

“I make a hole in the deck of the boat. I knew if I didn’t repair it I would have to stop. The hole was caused by too much pressure. The boat broached and the deck didn’t resist the pressure of the outrigger and the hardware made the hole, but I patched it up.”

Aina Bauza began offshore sailing in 2020 after years as part of the Spanish sailing team, competing in classes such as Optimist, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and ILCA 6. During her time competing in dinghies, she also achieved a Master’s Degree in Navigation and Maritime Management.

spanish sailor Aina Bauza sailing

Aina Bauza is now planning to start Class 40 racing next year. Credit: Peters & May

“I had been sailing dinghies for a long time. I had been in the Spanish team and did an Olympic circuit but I was tired and didn’t want to sail anymore. But at that moment, I discovered offshore sailing,” said Aina, who began sailing as a child onboard her parent’s yacht. By age 8 she was sailing Optimists and then Lasers.

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“I was drinking coffee in the marina and someone suggested that I just go and sail away; offshore sailing is now my passion, although I also like inshore sailing too.”

Aina Bauza is now back in Mallorca busy preparing Redó for the Mini Fastnet this summer.

She was able to make an early start on the preparations after her sponsors, Peters & May, shipped the Mini 6.5m back to Palma from Florida, following Aina’s transatlantic crossing. Aina delivered the boat from San Salvador to Miami alongside American sailor, Stacey Barnes.

A boat with a red hull and white sail out at sea

The 6.5m Redó is a Vector, with its distinctive round bow design. Credit: Peters & May

But Aina Bauza’s ultimate goal is to circumnavigate the world, solo.

” In the long term, I want to go around the world alone; I want to do the Vendée Globe for 2032. First of all, I want to do the Mini  racing and then the boat will be up for sale. I will then be looking at competing in the Class 40 next year. I am hoping this record will help get sponsorship as I have been able to prove to people that I am a good sailor, and I have had a lot of media coverage in Spain. So maybe, maybe not; we will see.”

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