Golden Globe 2018 – Just a Few Days to Go

With just a few days to go before the start of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, skippers are working in a frenzy of activity to complete their preparations. On July 1st they must be ready to set sail from Les Sables d’Olonne in France and complete a solo, non-stop voyage around the world, with no outside assistance, via the five Great Capes, returning to Les Sables d’Olonne. Unlike most of the modern yacht races, the entrants are limited to sailing similar yachts and equipment to that which was available on the very first Golden Globe Race in 1968, without using modern technology and satellite based navigational aids. They will be navigating with sextants on paper charts, will handwrite their logs and determine the weather for themselves. A real race for adventurers, this marks the 50th anniversary of that 1968 infamous race and will be a fitting tribute to the original race and its winner Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

In 1968 nine sailors started the race and only one finished it. This time 19 sailors are preparing for the challenge from 13 countries – France 4, Britain 3, Australia 2, and 1 each from Estonia, Finland, Ireland, India, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Russia and USA. Some of the skippers have long sails to accomplish before arriving at the start venue. Ertan Beskardes (GBR) had to travel from Sardinia on his solo delivery voyage, while Istvan Kopar (USA/Hungary) had a transatlantic sail from Oyster Bay New York.

Before the race itself, Falmouth, UK, celebrated the 50th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s departure from Falmouth at the start of the race in 1968. His yacht Suhali (the 1968 winner) was joined by two other famous yachts, Sir Francis Chichester’s Gypsy Moth IV (which completed an epic solo circumnavigation in 1966) and Sir Alec Rose’s Lively Lady (which completed a solo navigation with 2 stops in 1968), along with the GGR fleet, for a Parade of Sail which took place from June 11 – 14. From there the boats travelled to Les Sables d’Olonne for the Golden Globe 2018.

Golden Globe map

By Florian Pépellin [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

The race will commence at noon on Sunday July 1, from a line marked by Suhali at one end and Bernard Moitessier’s Joshua at the other, with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston firing the starting canon. Leading up to the start will be a full programme of events which include the Parade of Sail which took place on June 23 featuring the GGR sailors and other historic yachts, with activities for all ages, navigation workshops, conferences, interviews, demonstrations, boat baptisms, not to mention the fireworks.

Don McIntyre, Race Founder and Chairman of the 2018 GGR has commented that this unique retro race, in the image of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe, draws sailors back to the Golden Age of “one sailor, one boat” where adventure takes precedence over winning at all costs. In Robin Knox-Johnston’s words, this is the “spicy” way of doing a circumnavigation and his advice to sailors is, “if you want to do it don’t let anything get in your way. Too many people sit in yacht clubs talking about it but then never do it”.

Watch this space as the time gets closer to Race Day itself and read about the original 1968 Golden Globe Race in my article published in March 2018.

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