I am in the Canary Islands with Jane and Christophe
We head back to the GGR Office in Les Sables D’Olonne tomorrow. So would you like to read something interesting, even fascinating? When you finish reading this, scroll down the news section and read some of the very first newsletters I wrote back in 2015. From an idea to here we are. Game on! It is happening now. Sailors are out there. For them, everything is on the line to achieve something very personal, something intensely unique and very human. A little boat, driven by pure passion and the integrity of its skipper to take on the oceans of the world in a responsible way. Real adventure, real people in real boats!
I have been so busy I have not had time to write a News letter since APRIL 4th! Three and a half months ago. It has been crazy for Jane and I, seven days a week and 14-16 hr days. We have been caught up in something very special. It is the GGR. There has never been anything like this in the world before. Not in 1968 and not now. This is a grand adventure and one of the biggest I have ever undertaken. For Jane and me it is like we are on another expedition. We never have enough money, nor time and that is true now. Expeditions always have moments of frustration, excitement, risk and pure emotion, all true today.
In these past months many things have happened, and some things have not. Sadly we still have no title sponsor, but our friends in Les Sables D’Olonne Agglomeration made the launch of the Race Village and the Vendee marina spectacular. Over 100,000 people visited the GGR Village and over 35,000 people lined the wall and beaches for that amazing start. I was on Suhaili with Sir Robin when he lit the powder. It was a moment both hard for me to believe and forever etched now in my mind. Thanks Sir Robin for everything!
Nothing beats French passion for adventure and solo sailing. Today something else happened that made me proud of my little management team that has varied over the years from four up to 15 during the Race Village (next week we will be back to six). It was a story by a friend by the name of Maggie. Not an ordinary story. She is a New York Times bestselling author. She came and spent two weeks with us at the village meeting entrants and absorbing the flavour and emotion of the GGR. She wrote this story for the 800,000 OUTSIDE Magazine Facebook followers. It is the finest written piece about the original and this GGR that I have ever enjoyed. I think you may to. Here it is:
Over 600,000 people experienced our GGR Facebook page this week and we had 190,000 Views on our live FB videos. GGR stories are popping up all over the world and we know people are being inspired. I am happy about that! I wonder what we will be saying in seven or eight months when the first GGR boats are headed to the finish. Something tells me it will be BIG. Thanks for all your support and being part of this adventure.
The train ride south with strong following northerly winds is about to come to a screaming halt for the front runners. The game of chance begins. Those in the middle group who stay to the west may do well and quickly make up ground on the front runners. On the LIVE TRACKER with wind overlay you see a trough of light winds running north south and many are skirting the edge. Anyone drifting to the east will run out of wind. Those holding west will still have good speed. Be prepared for sudden changes in position right now.
As the GGR fleet make their way to the equator they pass through the area of Doldrums where local thunder storms and small weather systems can be completely different just miles apart. There will be many frustrations in the week ahead, hot humid conditions and sleepless nights trying to make headway through to the other side and consistent trade winds. The first through this tricky area will have a HUGE break on the rest of the fleet.
The GGR is above everything else an adventure to the very end where you must finish. You must pace yourself looking after your boat and gear, but it is also a race for those who want to win at all cost. But what price are they prepared to pay? Some already have by the simple decision to NOT take headsail furling gear or to FIT all headsail furling gear? We have seen what is happening to the fleet with decisions on windvane Self-steering gear! Get it wrong and you are out! The next issue to effect sailors will be Hanked sails or Furling sails. Who got it right? And who got it wrong? We may see very soon.
Next week we start LIVE FACEBOOK updates about the adventure and sailors of the GGR. Listen to the weekly Satellite phone check ins on GGR Soundcloud and read the short text messages from all entrants every day on Twitter or the GGR website social media hub… it is all there. Sleep well tonight and think of our sailors out there spending the next eight months doing something quite special. Share the story and tell your friends. Thanks!
GGR Founder and Race Chairman