Please select your home edition
Edition
SOUTHERN-SPARS-OFFICIAL-SUPPLIER-52-SS 728-X-90 TOP

Damien Guillou and PRB enter the Golden Globe Race 2022

by Don McIntyre 19 Mar 09:18 PDT
Damien Guillou, PRB skipper on the 2022 Golden Globe Race (left) with Kevin Escoffier © Martin Le Roux / PolaRYSE

Damien Guillou is preparing to take up an extraordinary challenge under the colors of PRB. At 38, the Breton will live alone at sea for more than 200 days for a round the world nonstop, without assistance and without modern means of communication, the Golden Globe Race.

Faced with competitors who, like him, take up this crazy bet, Damien will make his way with the sextant! The sailor, trained in Olympic sailing (optimist, laser, 49er) and Figaro knows everything about modern monohulls. He could even draw eyes closed for the 60 'PRB with which Kevin Escoffier entered the last Vendée Globe. It was he who, as PRB's boat captain, took care of this carbon boat until the last minutes before kick-off. But today he has chosen to set off on a boat of only 11 meters and deprived of any electronic tool... Minimalist comfort, paper maps and sextant will be his companions for this competition which defies all the codes of modern navigation (no computers, no satellite navigation aid, no automatic pilot, etc.).

Damien creates the surprise because he is not necessarily the one we imagined embarking on such an epic. But it is as a true lover of the sea and passionate about competition, that he will cover these 30,000 miles through the three capes. Particularly proud to lead this adventure with PRB, Damien continues the history of the Vendée company with tours of the world.

It was during the Vendée Globe village, last October, that the project began to germinate. Then a member of the IMOCA PRB technical team, Damien Guillou talks with Jean-Jacques Laurent, President of the Vendée SME on the mythical pontoon of Sables d'Olonne. The latter lets Damien know that he wants to realign a PRB boat on the Golden Globe Race and that he is looking for a skipper. Concentrated on the preparation of the 60 feet, the Breton hears but does not project himself immediately.

"When Jean-Jacques Laurent told me that, we were in the home stretch to prepare for IMOCA so I didn't really react, even though this proposal obviously appealed to me. Following this discussion, I took the time to find out about the dates of the race and the idea gradually gained momentum. I was at this stage still in personal reflection. Afterwards I took the step to talk about it to my wife and I also discussed it with Paul Meilhat and Anthony Marchand, two childhood friends who know me well. It was only after having had their points of view that I returned to Jean-Jacques Laurent to inform him that I really wanted to embark on this project, he then replied Go!"

"I find myself fully in this ordeal!"

This is a challenge completely new Damien Guillou will tackle next year with passion and desire. "All the criteria are met for this Golden Globe Race! The racing aspect, my love of boats and the sea, my taste for technical preparation and adventure! Even if it may seem surprising, I find myself fully in this ordeal! I had carefully followed the 2018 edition, telling myself that it was both interesting and daring, but without imagining that I would one day take the start of this race. And doing it under the PRB colors really means something to me, I'm very proud of it! The story continues in a different way in a way and I'm very happy to have Kevin's support in this project too. His seamanship and his advice are very precious! " Supported in his approach by Kevin Escoffier, Damien benefits from all the energy of the "PRB family". Vincent Riou, former winner of the Vendée Globe under the PRB colors in 2004, will welcome Damien's boat in its structure to prepare it. The Rustler 36 bought last month in Italy will reach Port-La-Forêt at the end of April.

A total refit project

The monohull which perfectly meets the strict criteria of the Golden Globe Race was built on plans drawn before 1988 (1980). The sailboat will be under construction for about two months as indicated by Damien: "We are still awaiting the Italian authorizations for the exceptional transport which will be done by road. The health context complicates things a bit, but this should unblock soon. As soon as we have received the boat, it will go into the yard for a total refit. For the moment, it is in cruise configuration. The objective will be to put it in race mode and that requires significant changes. We are planning a relaunch at the end of June so that I will sail all summer to take it in hand and start qualifying for 2000 miles at the beginning of September."

First step: learning to use a sextant

While waiting, Damien Guillou has started learning the sextant... An essential first step for this Golden Globe Race. "I went for two days for training in Toulouse with a person passionate about sextant who has made it his job. This allowed me to acquire the basics and since then I have been doing arithmetic exercises almost every day. When it's sunny, I also go to the edge of the coast to do some surveys. The sextant can be frightening at first, but it's not overwhelming! In no time, I managed to get by! I can't wait to put it all into practice on the boat this summer! " Says Damien already fully launched in his project.

For Jean-Jacques Laurent, it is the continuity of a beautiful meeting. "I really wanted to return to this race. We took part in the first edition with Philippe Péché. And we discovered a universe totally different from the Vendée Globe. In the Vendée Globe, we are in a technological dimension and things have to go quickly. It is exciting. We have seen the enthusiasm generated by the edition which has just ended. On the Golden Globe Race, we maintain a relationship with the long term! It's a whole different challenge, but it's just as fascinating. It's fantastic that Damien wears our colors. He was already in the PRB family. He's a great sailor. He is very enthusiastic and has a very serious approach. I think it is very respectful to be part of the history of PRB with the tours of the world. He has our full confidence and also Kevin's support, which is obviously important to us. It's a very good story that begins in view of this extremely difficult race."

Related Articles

An epic feat of human endurance
Skipper Ian Herbert-Jones prepares for sea trials ahead of the 2022 Golden Globe Race In 2022 35 sailors will race 30,000 miles non-stop, alone, around the world with no outside assistance. Posted on 11 Jun
Guy Waites prepares for Golden Globe Race
Difficult shakedown voyage from Panama for Scarborough YC member Guy Waites arrived at Scarborough on the last leg of his qualifying passage for the Golden Globe Race. The voyage was from Panama to Scarborough but damage sustained during an Atlantic storm caused the journey to take three months longer than anticipated. Posted on 29 May
World capital of single-handed ocean racing
Les Sables d'Olonne is now preparing to welcome you for the next great adventures Port Olona, with its high-quality infrastructures, the infamous channel that so many great sailors have sailed through, the South-facing bay and the Atlantic ocean landing its waves to the expansive beach... Posted on 24 Mar
Les Sables d'Olonne France official launch
28 entrants from 11 countries signed on The 1968 Golden Globe was the first ever around the world yacht race. Since then, legends like the only finisher and winner Sir Robin Knox Johnston, and Bernard Moitessier have inspired many sailors and created new Around the world races. Posted on 23 Mar
Cup news, Vendee Globe finishers, GGR 2022 update
Latest newsletter from Sail-World's David Schmidt in the USA While the America's Cup World Series and the Prada Cup delivered a chance to see AC75s lock horns on the racecourse, it also gave the world a much-needed chance to see what life looks like at the end of the coronavirus tunnel. Posted on 2 Mar
Dalton brothers take on GGR and America's Cup
The Dalton family wants it all!! One sails in the fastest, most sophisticated and prestigious sailing challenge in the world, all over in just minutes! The other is attempting the longest, loneliest, most demanding and slowest race, for any individual in any sport on the planet. Posted on 27 Feb
Melissa Payne takes helm for 2022 GGR and 2023 OGR
The Golden Globe Race currently has 28 entrants from 11 countries Following a 12 month Media blackout with respect to the Global Pandemic, The 2022 Golden Globe and 2023 Ocean Globe Races are now back in the news with a permanent office opened in Les Sables d'Olonne, France. Posted on 25 Feb
Top 10 Biggest Sailing Stories of 2020 part 2
Mark Jardine and Andy Rice chat about the top five articles The top five articles from 2020 on Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com. Mark Jardine chats with Sailjuice's Andy Rice about the stories that you've read most! Posted on 31 Dec 2020
Marlow Ropes partner with Ian Herbert Jones
As the UK Skipper prepares for the 2022 Golden Globe Race Marlow Ropes are proud to announce that they are the Official Rope Supplier for Golden Globe Race 2022 skipper Ian Herbert Jones. Posted on 27 Nov 2020
Cape Horners launch solo circumnavigators register
Those who have completed solo circumnavigations via the Three Great Capes The IACH has taken on the mantle of maintaining an official register of those who have completed solo circumnavigations via the Three Great Capes - Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn. Posted on 30 Oct 2020
Doyle Sails 2020 - Pure Brilliance 728x90 BOTTOMCoast Guard Foundation FOOTER 3Savvy Navvy 2021 SW FOOTER v2