Golden Globe Race
Stepping back to the Golden Age of solo sailing
To celebrate Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s historic 1968/9 world first solo non-stop circumnavigation in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Yacht Race, a new Golden Globe Race will be staged to mark the 50th Anniversary of that epic, starting from Falmouth on June 14th, 2018.
Suhaili Falmouth Parade of Sail
The entire GGR fleet of traditional long-keeled yachts and their skippers will participate in a special Suhaili Parade of Sail in Falmouth, Cornwall on Thursday June 14 to mark the day that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, set out to win the original Golden Globe Race 50 years before.
One of nine entrants, Sir Robin was the solo finisher. Frenchman Bernard Moitessier sailing Joshua, rounded Cape Horn 17 days behind Knox-Johnston, and having the bigger yacht, might have overtaken his English rival. But instead of heading back up the Atlantic in hot pursuit, Moitessier turned east to make a second circumnavigation of the Southern Ocean to ‘Save my soul’ as he put it.
This Parade of Sail, organised by the Falmouth Town Team and Royal Cornwall Yacht Club (where Sir Robin stepped ashore upon his return), promises to be quite a spectacle. Sir Robin, sailing aboard his famous yacht Suhaili, will lead Bernhard Moitessier’s yacht Joshua, Sir Francis Chichester’s Gipsy Moth IV and Sir Alec Rose’s Lively Lady in a Parade of Sail around Falmouth Harbour saluted by the Golden Globe Race skippers and many other vessels on the day.
SITraN Challenge Race from Falmouth to Les Sables d’Olonne, France
Then at 13:45, the time Sir Robin slipped his mooring to start 50 years before, he will fire a cannon from the deck of Suhaili to start the GGR SITraN Challenge charity race to Les Sables d’Olonne with Joshua marking the leeward end of the line. Suhaili and Joshua will also compete with other famous yachts and their arrival in Les Sables d’Olonne with the GGR fleet will mark the opening of the 2018 Golden Globe Race Village two weeks before the start.
Like the original Sunday Times event,the 2018 Golden Globe Race is very simple. Depart Les Sables-d’Olonne, France on July 1st, 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Les Sables-d’Olonne.
Entrants are limited to sailing similar yachts and equipment to what was available to Sir Robin in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite based navigation aids. Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 – 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 that have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. These yachts are heavily built, strong and sturdy, similar in concept to Sir Robin’s 32ft vessel Suhaili.
In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this edition travels back to a time known as the ‘Golden Age’ of solo sailing. Suhaili was a slow, sturdy 32ft double-ended ketch based on a William Atkins ERIC design. She was heavily built of teak and carried no computers, GPS, satellite phone nor water-maker, and Robin completed the challenge with no outside assistance or aid of modern day shore-based weather routing advice. He had only a wind-up chronometer and a barograph to face the world alone, and caught rainwater to survive. But he was at one with the ocean, able to contemplate and absorb all that this epic voyage had to offer.
This anniversary edition of the Golden Globe Race is a celebration of the original event, the winner, his boat and that significant world-first achievement. Competitors in this race will be sailing simple boats using basic equipment to guarantee a satisfying and personal experience. The challenge is pure and very raw, placing adventure ahead of winning at all costs. It is for ‘those who dare’, just as it was for Sir Robin. They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand-write their logs and determine the weather for themselves. Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow. It is now possible to race a monohull solo around the world in under 80 days, but sailors entered in this race will spend around 300 days at sea in little boats, challenging themselves and each other.
The 2018 Golden Globe Race will be a fitting tribute to the first edition and it’s winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.