Golden Globe Race Starts July 1

In last year’s September issue, we printed an article on the upcoming Golden Globe Race 2018, set to start July 1 (originally set for June 1). The race is being held on the 50th anniversary of the original Golden Globe held in 1968, which was a non-stop, around-the-world race from west to east, sailing around the five main capes in the Southern Ocean. There no rules and no fees, just a trophy for the first to accomplish such a feat. Anyone could enter, whether they were experienced or not. There was a window to start—June 1 thru October 31 of 1968. Entrants could start in France or the UK. Nine entered and only one finished, Robin Knox-Johnston (read more on the race in Back Issues, September 2017, at SouthWindsMagazine.com).

The 2018 version has rules. In general, the skippers, boats and equipment must be somewhat equal to the conditions that Robin Knox-Johnston had in his 1968 trip. And the main one is you must meet a certain level of experience—at least 8000 ocean sailing miles, along with another 2000 miles solo.

The boat must be of an approved design—and designed prior to 1988—and be 32-36 feet long, and it can be of fiberglass construction. Many production designs are approved. Plus, there are numerous restrictions on sails, propellers, keel (must be full keel), rigging and miscellaneous other items.

Electronic Navigation Aids Not Allowed

No electronic navigation aids are allowed. All entrants must use similar methods available to Knox-Johnston, who used a sextant and tables. There are features that allow for safety, such as a GPS Chartplotter—that will be in a sealed box—that will allow skippers to open in an emergency. Satellite tracking devices will be on all boats, but not available for viewing by the skippers. They will also be able to carry two satellite phones for one-a-week checking-in communication with race headquarters. There will also be a “two-way satellite short text paging unit (to race headquarters only) for twice daily 100-character text reports.”

The race is a non-stop race, but if anyone needs to make an emergency stop, they can, although they will be entered into the “Chichester Class.” The original Golden Globe was inspired by Sir Francis Chichester’s solo sail around the world in 1966 by the five great capes of the southern ocean (read more in the September issue). But Chichester made one stop for repairs. This new class is in honor of Chichester. Those who are put into it can continue to race and will receive a plaque acknowledging their voyage (only one stop is allowed). If someone breaks the seal and opens the emergency GPS chart plotter, they will also be put in that class. This too is limited to one instance to stay in the Chichester Class.

The Entrants

In October, the race—originally scheduled to depart from England—moved its departure to Les Sables d’Olonne in France. The Golden Globe website had the following entrants with descriptions listed:

“The number of entrants for the Race is limited to 30. Entries closed on 1st April 2018 with 19 provisionally registered and paid-up skippers having a remarkable range of backgrounds and sailing experience. Professional sailors and adventurers dominate but they also include an engineer, foreign exchange trader, hydrographer, pilot, surveyor and tailor. All have considerable short- and single-handed sailing experience, one having logged five solo circumnavigations. They hail from Australia (2), Estonia (1), Finland (1), France (4), Ireland (1), India (1), Italy (1), Netherlands (1), Norway (1), Palestine (1), Russia (1), UK (3—includes the only woman entrant), and the USA (1). Their average age is 47. The youngest is 28; the oldest, 72.

Several more signed up, but many had to drop out, as each entrant needs to get a boat ready and find funding. As of April 1, the deadline to enter, some of the 19 were still working at getting their sailing requirements completed by the requirements deadline of April 30. All of them were still working on getting their boats ready, and probably will be to some extent, up to the race start day.

For more on the Golden Globe Race 2018 and to follow the race progress, go to www.goldengloberace.com.