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Golden Globe and Whitbread races to return

Aug 29, 2019
The start of the first Whitbread Race in 1973 with Chay Blyth’s Great Britain II lined up against Eric Tabarly’s Pen Duick IV.

The start of the first Whitbread Race in 1973 with Chay Blyth’s Great Britain II lined up against Eric Tabarly’s Pen Duick IV.

Bob Fisher/PPL via Don McIntyre

The solo nonstop around-the-world Golden Globe Race will return in 2022 after a grueling 2018-19 contest in which just five competitors finished.

Race founder Don McIntyre announced in early July that the 2022 contest will once again start and end from Les Sables d’Olonne, France. The race begins Sept. 4, 2022. McIntyre also suggested the next contest will be larger, with a revamped race village and new media plans.

“As organizers, it is exciting to have a concrete plan so early, with solid logistic support and technical partners who know the game so well,” McIntyre said in a statement that also praised the French people’s sense of adventure.

McIntyre organized the 2018-19 Golden Globe Race, won by Jean-Luc Van Den Heede of France, in homage to the original 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. The 18 modern participants had strict limits on communication and also used vessels similar to the 32-foot ketch Suhaili used by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the lone finisher of the original race.

Much like the original contest, the 2018 race had its share of carnage. Multiple sailors required rescues at sea, including Abhilash Tomy and Susie Goodall, both of whom were hurt while transiting the Southern Ocean. The yacht Hanley Energy Endurance operated by Irishman Gregor McGuckin is still afloat in the Indian Ocean and still transmitting signals. McGuckin retired after being dismasted.

McIntyre said there are already 22 entrants for the 2022 race, including two Americans. The race will have a Suhaili class and a Joshua class. The latter is based on the yacht used by French sailor Bernard Moitessier in the 1968 event.

Other changes to the 2022 event include approval of HF radio weatherfax units that will give participants better weather data and the ability to print weather maps while the yachts are underway. Sailors will be allowed two media interviews per week, and sponsor signage on the hull will be bigger.

The number of entries in the Suhaili class will increase from 20 to 23, while the Joshua class will be limited to seven entries. Details can be found at www.goldengloberace.com.

Don McIntyre, founder of the 2018 Golden Globe Race and the 2023 Ocean Globe Race.

Courtesy Don McIntyre

The organizer of the Golden Globe Race is also resurrecting the Whitbread Race, another classic around-the-world contest. Don McIntyre announced that the renamed race, now called the Ocean Globe Race, will kick off in September 2023 from an undisclosed European port.

The race format will allow fully crewed fiberglass production yachts that are designed before 1988 and between 47 and 66 feet long. Technology also will be limited to what was available in 1973.

“That means no high-tech materials, computers, satellite systems (including phones and GPS), as well as mobile phones,” race organizers announced in a news release on July 1. “Navigation will be limited to sextant plots on paper charts, communications via SSB and VHF radios, and music will be played on cassette tapes.”

The course itself has not been finalized. However, it will trace the classic four-leg route from Europe to Africa to Australasia and back around Cape Horn. It will run 27,000 miles and pass under the three Great Capes, according to the news release.

“For the first time in three decades, ordinary sailors and yacht owners have an opportunity to experience racing around the world in an affordable, safe and fun way,” McIntyre said in a statement. “You don’t need to be an elite sportsman nor require a huge support team.”

You also shouldn’t expect to complete the race on a shoestring budget. A sample spending plan released by McIntyre suggests it will cost $325,000 to compete, a figure that includes the $25,000 entry fee.

More details on the race will reportedly be released during the next year.

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