In 1968, Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper sponsored the Golden Globe Race—the world’s first nonstop solo race around the world, something many people believed to be an impossible undertaking at the time.
Sailing historians know the legends that were forged in that first race—of Bernard Moitessier, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and, tragically, Donald Crowhurst. But it’s likely many modern sailors no longer fully appreciate just how “out there” this race was, given the then crude state of marine electronics and the fact there was little hope of rescue in the Southern Ocean. Knox-Johnston won on his 32ft wooden cutter, Suhaili, after 312 days at sea. Compare that to Francois Gabart’s recently set Vendée Globe record of 78 days. The time difference alone speaks volumes.
Now Australian adventurer Don McIntyre wants to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1968 race with the 2018 Golden Globe Race, in which he promises would-be participants the opportunity to step “back to the Golden Age of solo sailing” as they set out from Falmouth, England, and sail around the world via the great Capes.
Competitors will be restricted to using boats and equipment of the types that were available 50 years ago. This means fixed-keel production boats between 32ft and 36ft that were designed prior to 1988. Satellite-based navigation or communication tools will be banned (aside from emergency use) as will sails made from exotic fibers. Skippers will be free to call friends and family ashore, but only by radio—VHF, SSB or ham. No sat phones allowed.
Entry in the 2018 Golden Globe Race will be restricted to 20 skippers, each of whom will gain admittance via an application and invitation process. There will also be a sizeable cash purse and a perpetual trophy. Racing is set to begin within a five-day window of June 14, 2018. For more information, check out mcintyreadventure.com.