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Looking forward to the Golden Globe Race 2022

by David Schmidt 16 Aug 08:00 PDT August 16, 2022
15 Golden Globe Race 2022 yachts on the same start line, finally! © Paco Hispán Miranda

If you've been reading this newsletter for a while, you have probably realized that Sail-World has a huge soft spot for adventure racing. Don't get us wrong, we also love windward-leewards, triangles, bay tours, and distance racing, of course, but there's something especially cool about events that shift the emphasis away from equipment and technology and instead place it on old-fashioned sailing and seamanship skills, and the experience of putting oneself out there.

While events such as The Ocean Race (née the Volvo Ocean Race) certainly fall into this category, especially when teams were racing One Design VO65s, that involved high-dollar corporate sponsorship. Strip that away, and the conversation quickly turns to events like the Race to Alaska, the Worrell 1000, and the various archipelago raids.

Then there's the Golden Globe Race 2022, which earns the distinction of being the ultimate slow-boat adventure race.

For anyone who isn't already familiar with this retro race, some backstory might be helpful. On March 17, 1968, the Sunday Times published an announcement for a nonstop, singlehanded sailboat race that would take skippers on a course around the world, a feat that (on the cusp of the moon landing) still hadn't been achieved. Some now-famous names stepped up: Bill King, Chay Blythe, John Ridgeway, Bernard Moitessier, Francis Chichester, and a young man named Robin Knox-Johnston.

Tragedy unfurled, in the form of a disturbed man named Donald Crowhurst, who transmitted false position reports from his trimaran in the hopes of pulling off a hoax, but was instead lost at sea. Legends were minted, for example when Joshua supposedly told Moitessier that if he gave her wind, she would give him miles.

And a young man, soon to be called "Sir Robin", returned home a hero.

Flash forward 50 years, and the race's spirit was resurrected in the form of the Golden Globe Race 2018. Its founder and race chairman, Australian adventurer and circumnavigator Don McIntyre, wanted to create a race that leveraged seamanship, adventure sailing, and old-fashioned nautical bronze, rather than creating another contest for high-tech boats.

To that end, he included some interesting provisions in the rules, namely that sailors would be restricted to the kinds of technologies that were available during the original Golden Globe Race. This means no electronic navigation, and it means racing aboard production-series yachts that were designed prior to 1988, measure between 32 and 36 feet, LOA, and carry full keels.

As the race's motto proclaims, "sailing like it's 1968".

While plenty in the sailing world were quick to dismiss the GGR 2018 as a nostalgia cruise, the race drew many qualified sailors and plenty of drama ensued, including multiple dismastings and rescues.

While the fastest Vendée Globe sailors have circumnavigated the planet in just over 74 days using IMOCA 60 monohulls, the winner of the GGR 2018, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, won with a finishing time of 211 days, 23 hours, 12 minutes and 19 seconds. Impressively, Mark Slats, who finished one spot astern of Van Den Heede, posted a corrected finishing time (which included a 36-hour penalty) of 216 days, 18 minutes and 30 seconds.

The final finisher, Mark Sinclair, finished the race on May 28, 2022 (you read that right). That's a hell of an adventure!

The next edition of the Golden Globe Race is set to begin on September 4, 2022. North American interests are being represented by Guy de Boer (USA), Elliott Smith (USA), Doug Dean (USA), Gaurav Shinde (CAN), and Edward Walentynowicz (CAN). In total, 32 skippers will be on the September 4 starting line.

While the GGR 2022 doesn't officially begin for a couple of weeks, the wheels of motion are already turning. The fleet assembled in Gijon, Spain, in early August for the SITraN Challenge, which is a friendly, no-rules 240-nautical mile race to Sables d'Olonne, France, that began on Sunday, August 14. Once in France, skippers will have roughly two and a half weeks to get ready for a slow-but-high-stakes race around the planet.

Sail-World wishes all GGR 2022 entrants good luck in the SITraN Challenge, in their build up to the start of the GGR 2022, and with their upcoming circumnavigation adventure.

May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt

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