Follow the build-up to the 2022 Golden Globe Race as the skippers prepare to race solo around the world without the use of modern technology

What is the 2022 Golden Globe Race?

The 2022 Golden Globe Race is a solo, nonstop yacht race around the world with no assistance and without the use of modern technology.

This means the skippers can’t use GPS, chartplotters, electric winches, autopilots, mobile phones, iPads or use synthetic materials like Spectra, Kevlar or Vectron.

Their only means of communication is via registered, licensed maritime-approved HF Single Side Band (SSB) Radio, with discussions generally limited to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) weather. They are allowed to listen to HAM radio, but are not allowed to transmit.

A man using a sextant to navigate on the deck of a boat

All of the Golden Globe Race skippers must use paper charts and sextants to navigate. Modern technology, like GPS and chartplotters, are banned. Credit: GGR

Each skipper is allowed a weather fax to receive weather charts.

They can only navigate using paper charts and a sextant, which is used to determine the angle between the horizon and a celestial body, such as the sun, moon or a star, to determine the boat’s longitude and latitude. All their calculations and celestial navigation notes need to be kept for inspection after the race. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.

When does it start?

The 2022 Golden Globe Race will start on 4 September 2022 from the port of Les Sables d’Olonne on France‘s Atlantic coast.

How many skippers are taking part?

To enter the 2022 Golden Globe Race, skippers must be over 18 and have at least 8,000 miles ocean sailing experience, another 2,000 miles singlehanded, in any boat, as well as an additional 2,000 miles solo in their Golden Globe Race boat.

There are 14 skippers who are confirmed for the start. Four of them are from the UK including professional skipper Guy Waites, 54, Mini Transat veteran, Simon Curwen, 62, and Clipper Round the World Race sailor, Ian Herbert-Jones, 52.

The UK has by far the most entries in the race. Pat Lawless, 65, is Ireland’s only entrant.

Kirsten Neuschäfer’s longest solo passage to date is a 67-day trip from Portugal to South Africa, with only windvane self-steering

Kirsten Neuschäfer has Southern Ocean experience, having worked for Skip Novak. Credit: Kirsten Neuschäfer

Kirsten Neuschafer, 39, will be representing South Africa, and is the only woman taking part in the race.

Guy deBoer, 66, from the USA, and Austria’s Michael Guggenberger, 44, have previous race experience, as does France’s Damien Guillou, 39,

Others like Arnaud Gaist, 50, from France, and Edward Walentynowicz, 68, are long term cruisers.

The youngest skipper is Elliot Smith, 27, (USA) still has to qualify for the race, as does Jeremy Bagshaw, 59, (South Africa).

A sailor on the deck of his boat before the 2022 Golden Globe Race. Credit: GGR/Ertan Beskardes

2018 skipper Ertan Beskardes will be on the start line for the 2022 Golden Globe Race. Credit: GGR/Ertan Beskardes

Some of the skippers who took part in the 2018 event are also back to race again – UK skipper Ertan Beskardes, 60, Finnish sailor Tapio Lehtinen, 64, who came fifth in 2018, Australian Mark Sinclair, 63, and Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy, 43, who was left with a broken back after his boat dismasted in the Southern Indian Ocean.

What boats will be raced during the event?

Skippers were allowed to choose from a range of pre-1988 yachts, with hull lengths from 32-36ft and full length keels with rudders attached to the trailing edge.

They include the Westsail 32, Tradewind 35, Saga 34, Saltram Saga 36, Vancouver 32, OE 32, Eric (sister ship to Suhaili), Aries 32, Baba 35, Biscay 36, Bowman 36, Cape Dory 36, Nicholson 32 MKX-XI, Rustler 36, Endurance 35, Gaia 36, Hans Christian 33T, Tashiba 36, Cabo Rico 34, Hinckley Pilot 35, Lello 34 and Gale Force 34.

The Rustler 36, which won the 2018 Golden Globe Race, is the most popular, with four taking part.

A Rustler 36 which is taking part in the 2022 Golden Globe race

Four Rustler 36s will be taking part in the 2022 Golden Globe Race – the most popular boat chosen for the race. Credit: Yann Riou – polaRYSE / PRB

There are also two Biscay 36s and two Tradewind 35s.

Other yachts in the race include the Lello 34, Gaia 36, Cape George Cutter CG36, Tashiba 36, Barbican 33 Mk2 and Saltram Saga 36.

The suitability of the boats to survive the Golden Globe Race lies with the skippers.

All the boats have to undergo refits and survey to make sure they can stand up to the rigours of sailing offshore and ocean passages.

Ian Herbert-Jones

Most of the skippers in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, like Ian Herbert-Jones, have done much of the refit work on their boats themselves. Credit: Ian Herbert-Jones

The refit must stay true to the original design; mast height, boom length, bowsprits and ballast are not allowed to exceed original design specifications.

Owners are allowed to strengthen the vessel and have extra standing rigging.

What is the 2022 Golden Globe Race route?

The Golden Globe Race course for 2022. For this edition there will be four gates. Credit: Ocean Frontiers OGR/ GGR/CG580

The skippers will leave from Les Sables d’Olonne in France and have to sail around the world, returning to the French port.

During their circumnavigation, they will have to sail around four compulsory rounding marks: Lanzarote, Cape Town in South Africa, Hobart in Australia and Punta del Este in Uruguay.

They will also have to keep the island of Trinidade to port as they sail down the South Atlantic.

This follows the Clipper route taken by Bernard Moitessier in the first Golden Globe Race in 1968-69.

Continues below…

How do you sail non-stop for 9 months?

All the skippers will be relying heavily on their windvane steering, which is a non-electric device mounted on the transom which steers the boat.

The vane is directed into the wind, and as the wind hits the vane, it tips, transferring this action through the mechanism below to either a rudder or a servo pendulum which acts on the main rudder, altering the boat’s course.

Although windvane self-steering cannot hold a boat on a compass course, it does mean the skipper isn’t having to helm 24/7, giving them time to eat, sleep, prepare sails, make repairs, write up their log or just relax.

What happens in the case of an emergency?

All the skippers must carry a race pack on board which can be used in case of an emergency.

Inside is a stand-alone satellite tracking system, which the skippers can’t see, for web tracking updates, a two-way satellite short text paging unit which connects only to race headquarters, two handheld satellite phones for up to four short messages per day and a sealed box with two portable GPS chart plotters for emergency use only.

People wearing lifejackets while holding onto a liferaft

All skippers who enter the 2022 Golden Globe Race have to complete an approval survival training course. Credit: Paul Quaglian

All entrants will be tracked 24/7 by satellite, and will be able to use this information in an emergency by breaking open a sealed safety box containing a GPS and satellite phone. By doing this, they will be deemed to have retired from the race.

Prior to the start, all entrants must complete an approved survival course and be deemed medically fit to enter the race.

If a skipper is approaching a dangerous weather situation or drifting ice, then the race HQ will provide all the necessary information so the dangerous areas can be avoided.

How do you follow the 2022 Golden Globe Race?

The 2022 Golden Globe Race can be followed at www.yachtingmonthly.com/goldengloberace

All the boats will be fitted with three YB3 trackers so their positions can be followed.

What is the history of the Golden Globe Race?

Believed to be a ‘voyage for madmen’ when it was first announced, the first edition of the Golden Globe Race was held in 1968-69 and was sponsored by the Sunday Times, Initially, it was thought to be an impossible feat.

Nine set out including then novice sailor Chay Blyth, his former Atlantic rowing partner John Ridgway, British Navy submarine commander Bill King, Royal Navy officer Nigel Tetley, French sailor Bernard Moitessier, who famously kept sailing ‘to save my soul’, eventually sailing one and a half times around the world before stopping in Tahiti, and the ill-fated ‘weekend sailor’ Donald Crowhurst, who gave his life while trying to achieve what no-one had done before.

It was later found out that Donald Crowhurst had not left the Atlantic during the 243 days he was at sea. Credit: Getty

It was later found out that Donald Crowhurst had not left the Atlantic during the 243 days he was at sea. Credit: Getty

Robin Knox-Johnston was the only skipper to finish, arriving in Falmouth 313 days after leaving the Cornish port aboard his 32ft ketch, Suhaili.

It earned him fame, but the race had its own legacy.

Together with Blondie Hasler’s OSTAR, which started in 1960, yacht racing had captured the public’s imagination, with many going on to achieve their own offshore sailing adventures.

It nurtured the likes of the Whitbread Round the World Race, BOC Challenge and the Vendée Globe.

The 2022 Golden Globe Race will celebrate French sailor Bernard Moitessier, who took part in the 1968-69 Golden Globe Race. Credit: Getty

The 2022 Golden Globe Race will celebrate French sailor Bernard Moitessier, who took part in the 1968-69 Golden Globe Race. Credit: Getty

Two years after the 1968-69 Golden Globe Race, Blyth solo circumnavigated the world nonstop against the prevailing winds and currents, a feat repeated by Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, the winner of the 2018-19 Golden Globe Race, the second edition of this round the world solo yacht race.

Australian sailor Don McIntyre was responsible for founding the 2018 Golden Globe Race, which was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1968-69 race.

The 2022 Golden Globe Race is being held in celebration of Bernard Moitessier.

What happened in the 2018 race?

Only 18 skippers started the 2018 Golden Globe Race on 1 July 2018, with just five finishing.

French sailor, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede aboard his Rustler 36, Matmut was an early leader in the race and was the first entrant to round the Cape of Good Hope off South Africa, 53 days after the start. By this time, six skippers has retired from the race, either due to equipment failure or lack of experience to continue.

As the fleet headed down the Atlantic into the Southern Indian Ocean there were further casualties.

Norwegian sailor Are Wiig was dismasted 400 miles south west of Cape Town, and was forced to sail to port under jury rig.

Four skippers needed rescuing during the 2018 Golden Globe Race, including Abhilash Tomy, who broke his back after his boat dismasted in the Southern Indian Ocean. Credit: Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Four skippers needed rescuing during the 2018 Golden Globe Race, including Abhilash Tomy, who broke his back after his boat dismasted in the Southern Indian Ocean. Credit: Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Irish skipper, Gregor McGuckin and Indian Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy were both caught in the same southern Indian Ocean storm. Both of their boats were dismasted, with Tomy breaking his back in several places. Both were rescued by the French patrol vessel, Osiris.

French sailor Loïc Lepage’s Nicholson 32 Mk X was dismasted 600 miles south-west of Perth, Australia, and was rescued by the crew of the bulk carrier Shiosai after the yacht began sinking.

British sailor Susie Goodall was one of only six 2018 skippers to make it to the Hobart gate in Australia.

Her Rustler 36 was later pitchpoled and dismasted in a Southern Ocean storm, around 2,000 miles west of Cape Horn.

She set up a jury rig, but lost this in heavy weather, and had to be rescued by the crew of the Hong Kong-registered cargo ship, Tian Fu.

Jean Luc Van Den Heede celebrating after winning the 2018 Golden Globe Race

A triumphant Jean-Luc Van Dan Heede after coming first in the 2018 Golden Globe Race. Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

The 2018 Golden Globe Race was won Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, who finished after 211 days at sea. At 73, he also claimed the record for being the oldest person to complete a solo round the world yacht race.

Second place went to Dutch skipper Mark Slats, who finished in 216 days in his Rustler 36, and had been Van Den Heede’s greatest rival in the race.

Estonia’s Uku Radmaa crossed the finish line after 254 days at sea, having almost ran out of food during the race which left him 2okg lighter.

Istvan Kopar from the USA finished fourth, in 264 days.

The final skipper to cross the line was Tapio Lehtinen from Finland, who took even longer than Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in the original 1968-69 race.

Barnacle growth on the hull of his Gaia 36 meant he sailed around the world in 322 days; Sir Robin had done it in 313 days.

2018 Race Results

1 Jean- Luc VDH (FRA) Rustler 36 Matmut
2 Mark Slats (NED) Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick
3 Uku Randmaa (EST) Rustler 36 One and All
4 Istvan Kopar (USA) Tradewind 35 Puffin
5 Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria

6 Mark Sinclair (AUS) Lello 34, Coconut (Chichester Class)


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