Stepping back to the Golden Age of solo sailing
30 sailors…30,000 miles non-stop…Alone…With no outside assistance
To celebrate Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s historic 1968/9 world first solo non-stop circumnavigation in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Yacht Race, a new Golden Globe Race will be staged to mark the 50th Anniversary of that epic, starting from Falmouth on 16 June, 2018.
Like the original Sunday Times event,the 2018 Golden Globe Race is very simple. Depart Plamouth, England on June 30th 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Plymouth. Entrants are limited to sailing similar yachts and equipment to what was available to Sir Robin in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite based navigation aids. Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 – 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 that have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. These yachts are heavily built, strong and sturdy, similar in concept to Sir Robin’s 32ft vessel Suhaili.
In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this edition travels back to a time known as the ‘Golden Age’ of solo sailing. Suhaili was a slow, sturdy 32ft double-ended ketch based on a William Atkins ERIC design. She was heavily built of teak and carried no computers, GPS, satellite phone nor water-maker, and Robin completed the challenge with no outside assistance or aid of modern day shore-based weather routing advice. He had only a wind-up chronometer and a barograph to face the world alone, and caught rainwater to survive. But he was at one with the ocean, able to contemplate and absorb all that this epic voyage had to offer.
This anniversary edition of the Golden Globe Race is a celebration of the original event, the winner, his boat and that significant world-first achievement. Competitors in this race will be sailing simple boats using basic equipment to guarantee a satisfying and personal experience. The challenge is pure and very raw, placing adventure ahead of winning at all costs. It is for ‘those who dare’, just as it was for Sir Robin.
They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand-write their logs and determine the weather for themselves. Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow. It is now possible to race a monohull solo around the world in under 80 days, but sailors entered in this race will spend around 300 days at sea in little boats, challenging themselves and each other.
The 2018 Golden Globe Race will be a fitting tribute to the first edition and it’s winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
Don McIntyre, Race Founder and Chairman – about the 2018 Golden Globe Race
“I was first exposed to the inaugural 1982 BOC Challenge Around Alone Race during the Sydney stopover, working on Aries wind vanes used by competitors. I spent time with them all. We laughed together and I heard their stories. I met my boyhood champion, Robin Knox-Johnston and was hooked. I decided to compete in the 1986 event, but with a part built boat, I ran out of time, so had to be content in the roll of Sydney BOC Race Chairman that year. Competing in the 1990-91 BOC Challenge was one of the highlights in my life.
On reflection, I always considered myself luck as, in my opinion, it was the last of the ‘Adventure events’. Each future race became increasingly performance orientated, sailed by elite sportsmen and women in ever more extreme yachts, focused on winning at all costs. Nothing wrong with that, in fact it was and still is incredibly exciting, but it was simply a lot more of an adventure in 1990. My dream to sail solo around the world was borne of inspiration gained while following the solo voyages of Francis Chichester, Robin Knox-Johnston and Bernard Moitessier, and reading about Chay Blyth, Blondie Hasler and others from the ‘Golden Age’ of solo sailing. That was an exciting period!
In 2008, I saw Sir Robin Knox Johnston speaking on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of his record setting 1968 non-stop circumnavigation. Referring to the current space-age building materials, high tech satellite systems and computers supporting today’s solo sailors, he simply said (by comparison to his own experience back then) “This takes the spice out of it!” Well the 2018 Golden Globe Race very definitely puts the spice back into it and by world standards, offers a very unique and demanding challenge to any sailor who’s up for it.
That same year, Robin was asked: “What would you say to sailors thinking of circumnavigating?” His response: “My advice to them would be quite simply this. If you’ve got the idea, and you want to do it, then do it. Don’t let ANYTHING get in the way. Far too many people sit in yacht clubs talking about it but then never do it. DO IT! You’ll never regret it.” He’s right of course. I am looking forward to stepping back and doing it again myself, the “Spicy” way, in the 2022 Golden Globe Race. Over the years I have personally supported many young solo sailors, men and women, to achieve their dreams. I hope this event will let many more and maybe you achieve yours! I look forward to meeting you at the start” Don McIntyre
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
- To create a unique ‘RETRO’ non-stop solo around the world yacht race, in the image of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe that draws sailors back to the Golden Age of ‘one sailor, one boat’ facing the great oceans of the world.
- To organise a race where adventure takes precedence over winning at all costs.
- To professionally manage an event where the sailors skill and traditional seamanship alone, rather than modern technology or support crews, gets them home and where the achievement truly belongs to the skipper.
- To give sailors of all ages an opportunity to race solo around the world safely, in a fleet of similar and affordable yachts in the spirit of Suhaili.
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