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DAY 295: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede crowned winner of the 2018 Golden Globe Race

  • Don’s speech on prize giving day
  • Thousands drawn to the open air presentation in Les Sables d’Olonne
  • Sir Robin Knox-Johnston publishes report on lessons learned from dismastings
  • 2022 GGR skippers announced

Don’s Speech on Prize Giving Day

Today is a day full of history and celebration, not only here in beautiful Les Sables d’Olonne, but in Falmouth, England and around the world!

Our international GGR family have joined us on Facebook Live and great to see you all here joining the party! Thanks for coming!

Our great friend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston 50 years ago today became an inspiration, SUHAILI became a champion and the world became a smaller place. He was the first ever solo around the world non-stop sailor. Then man went to the moon and the world began to change. Life itself became the fast lane and technology took control!

The Golden Globe Race is probably the slowest, longest, toughest, loneliest mind game on the planet! Does anything else even come close? GGR Self imposed deprivations, isolation in little boats against the great oceans, unpredictable chaotic climate change weather is extreme! Why would anyone dream of it let alone do it? and why would the people of Les sables d’Olonne ever support it?

The answer is not simple but to me it is clear. In life there are things we can control and others we cannot. Kids of the world know freedom. Every day for them is an adventure born of a vivid imagination creating beautiful dreams.

Les Sables d’Olonne dreams of a brighter future through a beautiful romance with the oceans and human endeavour. Every entrant in the 2018 Golden Globe is a dreamer driven to pure adventure on the oceans. The same human spirit that sent Sir Robin Knox-Johnston around the world and man to the moon 50 years ago is alive and well in Les Sables and is the essence of the GGR story!

295 days ago we waved 18 sailors goodbye on their epic adventure. We thought we knew what they were about to do. We actually had no idea. Now we know. It was simply incredible! The GGR stands alone in sailing and our sailors are unique! Congratulations to you all. BRAVO!

My definition of adventure is ANY ACTIVITY WITH AN UNKNOWN OUTCOME. Tapio is still sailing and will be here soon! Igor starts again later this year and Jean Luc is no longer just the old man of the sea with a dream! He is finally a winner of the GGR! What a hero he is along with every entrant here today!

Jane and I salute you all for what you have achieved and for supporting the GGR adventure. To my small management team and all our partners who joined this GGR dream, and the GGR family following it now, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Every adventure has risk! Celebrating human endevour in the face of extreme challenge is a noble thing. Together we have all made this GGR a great success. It’s on again in 2022!

Finally to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Yannick Moreau and all the people of les Sables d’Olonne, thanks for taking us to your heart from the very beginning, thanks for working hard with us and BRAVO for now being part of the legend that is the Golden Globe.

Thousands drawn to the open air presentation in Les Sables d’Olonne

Exactly 50 years to the day that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston returned to Falmouth UK after 312 days at sea to become the first man to sail solo non-stop around the globe, 73-year old Frenchman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede was crowned winner of the second Golden Globe Race in Les Sables d’Olonne, France

And all but two of Van Den Heede‘s rivals made the pilgrimage to the Race finish port to applaud his performance in besting Sir Robin‘s original circumnavigation by 100 days aboard his Rustler 36 Matmut. 5th placed Finnish skipper Tapio Lehtinen is still more than 2,000 miles from the finish, but made a live satellite call broadcast to the thousands of spectators thronged the open-air seafront presentation.

‘I’m maximising on my entry fee for this race and enjoying every minute of the race’, he joked.

Sir Robin also joined the celebrations via a live link from Falmouth to congratulate everyone, saying that their efforts have inspired so many people around the world to challenge themselves in this and other adventures.

Prize Winners

WINNER GGR 2018 Jean-Luc VDH (FRA) Matmut 211D 23H 12M 

Suhaili timber perpetual model and trophy model
RALF TECH winner’s watch
BOATSHED.COM £5000 winners purse

2nd: Mark Slats (NED) Ohpen Maverick 216D 00H 18M

Trophy model of Suhaili

3rd: Uku Randmaa (EST) One and All 254D 18H 40M

Trophy model of Suhaili

1st Corinthian (Unsponsored) entry trophy

4th: Istvan Kopar (USA/HUN) 264D 01H 38M

5th: Tapio Lehtinen (FIN)

McIntyre Adventure Spirit of GGR Trophy

Susie Goodall (GBR): Kay Kottee

Trophy for First Woman entrant in 2018 GGR

2022 GGR

Already, 20 sailors from 10 countries have signed up to compete in the next Golden Globe Race slated to start on 4th September 2022, and many more have expressed an interest to compete.

2022 GGR entrants to date:

  1. John Clarke (47) GBR – Nicholson 32 MKX
  2. Ian Herbert Jones (49) GBR – Tradewind 35
  3. Guy Waites (52) GBR
  4. Ertan Beskardes (57) GBR – Rustler 36
  5. Simon Curwen (60) GBR – Biscay 36
  6. Robin Davie (67) GBR – Rustler 36
  7. Confidenial GBR
  8. Arnaud Gaist (47) FRA Barbican 33 MKII (long keel version)
  9. Confidential FRA
  10. Guy deBoer (63) USA
  11. Doug Dean JOHNSON (53) USA – Rustler 36
  12. Matthew Wright (49) AUS
  13. Michael Date (57) AUS Aries 32
  14. Confidential AUS
  15. Michael Guggenberger (41) AUT – Endurance 35
  16. Gaurav Shinde (32) CAN
  17. Pat Lawless (62) IRE Saga 36
  18. Guido Cantini (50) ITA Vancouver 34
  19. Confidential NZL – Rustler 36
  20. Confidential NOR

Total: 10 countries (7 British, 3 Australian, 2 French, 2 American, 1 Austrian, 1 Canadian, 1 Irish, 1 Italian, 1 New Zealand, 1 Norwegian). 12 with boats already.

Lessons learned from sailing small yachts in extreme conditions

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has published his long awaited report considering the lessons learned from sailing small yachts in extreme conditions including the 5 dismastings suffered during the 2018 GGR.


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