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2 months to start – a frenzy of activity

Skippers are working feverishly to complete their preparations

Dateline May 2 2018 – Les Sables d’Olonne, France 

  • American Istvan Kopar sets out on transatlantic crossing; 5 more yachts launched and 4 more are imminent.
  • Entries: 19 sailors from 13 countries – France 4, Britain 3, Australia 2, and one each from Estonia, Finland, Ireland, India, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Russia and USA
  • Suhaili 50 Falmouth Parade of sail celebrations take shape. Lively Lady team confirm participation. Cruising Association flotillas plan to escort Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Suhaili into Falmouth and Les Sables d’Olonne
  • Media opportunities to interview Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and join GGR skippers for the SITraN Challenge Race from Falmouth to Les Sables d’Olonne

Skipper updates

With just 2 months to the start of the Golden Globe Race from Les Sables d’Olonne on July 1st, skippers are working feverishly to complete their preparations ready to take part in the Suhaili 50 Falmouth Parade of Sail celebrations between 11-14th June. French skippers Antoine Cousot (Métier Intérim) and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (Matmut) have just had their boats baptised and are now busy sailing; Ertan Beskardes (GBR) has reached Vigo with just the Bay of Biscay to cross before reaching Falmouth during his long solo delivery voyage from Sardinia; Istvan Kopar (USA/Hungary) set sail from Oyster Bay New York on April 29 at the start of his long transatlantic voyage to the start – visit; Australian Kevin Farebrother now has his Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha sailing out of Les Sables d’Olonne and was joined last week by Philippe Péché (FRA) after making a 2-day solo passage to test his wind vane self steering system.

Suhaili 50 Falmouth Parade of Sail June 11 – 14

Plans are now well advanced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s departure from Falmouth at the start of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race back in 1968. Sir Robin, returning with his yacht Suhaili, will be joined by two other history-making yachts, Sir Francis Chichester’s Gipsy Moth IV and Sir Alec Rose’s Lively Lady and the 19-strong GGR fleet, which will be based at Falmouth Haven Marina from 11th-14th June. Visit

Lively Lady, in which Sir Alec completed a solo circumnavigation around the three great Capes with two stops back in 1968, is currently undergoing a complete refit near Portsmouth. ‘We’ve suffered some delays but are determined to join the Suhaili celebrations, even if the paint is still wet!’ says Alan Priddy who has led yacht’s restoration. Lively Lady will then return to Portsmouth to mark her own 50th anniversary of Sir Alec’s victorious return on 4th July. Visit

The 3-day Suhaili celebrations promise to be well supported with fleets of yachts from France, Netherlands and other parts of the UK joining this jamboree of sail. Included is a group of yachts representing the Cruising Association, for whom Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is Patron.

‘We are expecting around 30 yachts to gather at Plymouth Yacht Haven over the weekend 8th-10th June and some will then escort Suhaili and her crew on the final stage of her voyage to Falmouth on 11th June.’ says Trevor Taylor, the CA’s southwest area secretary. Visit

The French branch of the Cruising Association are also planning to escort Suhaili and her crew into Les Sables d’Olonne on her arrival.

GGR Programme in Les Sables d’Olonne June 16 – July 1st

The GGR Race Village will open each day from 10:00am to 8:00pm and until 02:00 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Visitors will discover the GGR yachts and skippers sailors on the Vendée Globe pontoons, and admire the historic solo yachts – Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Suhaili, Bernard Moitessier’s Joshua and Sir Francis Chichester’s Gipsy Moth IV, together with Eric Tabarly’s Pen Duick III.

There will be something for all ages: Learn to navigate with the stars and instruments of the past, attend conferences, interviews and demonstrations, participate in workshops and boat baptisms, and enjoy the conviviality of the Bar Guinguette during evening concerts.

The GGR Race Village will open each day from 10:00am to 8:00pm and until 02:00 on. Programme:

  • June 23: 16:00pm – 19:00: Parade of Sail with the GGR sailors and 02:00 on Fridays and Saturdays
  • 23:00: fireworks on the small pier of Les Sables d’Olonne
  • Start July 1st: 09.45am GGR yachts leave the marina 12:00 : Race Start – broadcast live on France 3 and L’ÉQUIPE TV. The broadcast is also free for other stations to air.

GGR Updates

The Race Office will open in Les Sables d’Olonne on May 7 and already, more than 100 volunteers have been enrolled to support the event.

The Race Village will open on Sunday June 16 with the conclusion of the SITRaN Challenge Race from Falmouth. The GGR fleet and historic yachts will remain on public display until the start on Sunday July 1.

The start timings have been revised. The GGR yachts will start leaving the dock at 09:45 and the Race will commence at Noon from a line marked by Suhaili at one end and Bernard Moitessier’s Joshua at the other. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston will fire the starting canon.

The Falklands Gate has been removed from the course on safety grounds. Don McIntyre, the Race Chairman explains: ‘After careful consideration, we have decided that changeable conditions could make it un-seamanlike to approach the coast at times. This could prove disadvantageous to some, and lead others to take unnecessary risks. The compulsory film drops off Marina Rubicon in the Canary Islands and Storm Bay, Tasmania remain’. *See revised course chart

Interview opportunity with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. The winner of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race and first man to sail solo non-stop around the Globe will be available for one-to-one media interviews via telephone, Skype or in person at Gosport, UK on 15th and 17th May.

For further information contact Barry Pickthall, on +44 (0)7768 395719 or

Media opportunities to accompany a GGR skipper on the SITRaN Challenge Race. There are a limited number of berths available for experienced sailing journalists or photographers to accompany some of the Golden Globe Race skippers on the 300 mile SITraN Challenge race from Falmouth to Les Sables d’Olonne, starting immediately after the Suhaili 50 Falmouth Parade on 14th June. ETA in Les Sables is 16th June. Applications to Barry Pickthall, +44 (0)7768 395719 or

CNN Mainsail to broadcast a preview programme the GGR

CNN MainSail looks back at the stories to come out from that first Golden Globe race back in 1968. Host Shirley Robertson meets the 1968 winner Sir Robin Knox Johnston, who explains how he and his boat Suhaili, which at 32 feet was one of the smallest in the race, survived the remarkable voyage. The race was the precursor to the current Vendée Globe, a 74-day sprint around the planet in cutting edge, high-end monohulls, but this year’s re-enactment of the Golden Globe is expected to take four times longer. In homage to the nine original entrants, the participants, including adventurers like firefighter Kevin Farebrother, who has mounted the summit of Everest three times, will depend on traditional skills of seamanship, paper charts, astro navigation, 30-year-old boats and the prospect of nearly a year alone at sea.

Robertson previews the race and catches up with some of those who will set off from Les Sables later this summer, to find out their hopes and fears, but above all, what has inspired them to take on such a grueling challenge.

  • Thursday 10th May at 1030 BST and 1730 BST
  • Saturday 12th May at 0730 BST and 1730 BST
  • Sunday 13th May at 1730 BST
  • Saturday 9th June at 1730 BST
  • Sunday 10th June at 0730 BST and 2230 BST

Sponsorship opportunities

The GGR welcomes two new supporting sponsors, Plastimo and PPL Media, which join Les Sables d’Olonne Agglomération, Presenting sponsor McIntyre Adventure, official timekeeper RALF TECH watches and Hydrovane self steering.

Plastimo has worked closely with GGR organisers over the past 12 months to develop a smaller liferaft specifically for the race that meets international safety standards. Sixteen of the GGR skippers have adopted it so far.

PPL Media is the official distributor of images during the Golden Globe Race. Other sponsors supporting individual entries include DHL Express, PRB, Matmut Insurance Group, Fugro, Altia and Métier Intérim.

For a sponsorship pack, contact Barry Pickthall: +44(0)7768 395719.

Press Registration

To register for regular press updates on on the 2018 Golden Globe Race Click Here.

Copyright free images of competitors and their yachts, and copyright reserved historic images of solo sailing pioneers and the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race are managed by PPL Photo Agency and available online to search/download in hi-res.

For further information contact: Barry Pickthall – GGR Media Coordinator. +44 (0)7768 395719.


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