About the GGR
To celebrate Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s historic 1968/69 world first solo nonstop 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 event, starting from Falmouth on June 14th, 2018. 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, nonstop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Les Sables-d’Olonne.
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History of the GGR
In August 1966, British yachtsman Francis Chichester set out from England to sail solo around the world to Australia and back via the five great Capes in the 16m Gipsy Moth IV in a bid to beat the Clipper ship records. He completed the circumnavigation in 226 days (274 days including the stopover in Sydney) to set a record for the fastest voyage around the world in a small boat.
A diverse adventurer and excellent navigator, Chichester attracted huge interest thanks to the exclusive coverage provided by The Sunday Times newspaper. Returning triumphant on 28th May 1967, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and became not only a British hero but an inspiration to many more who would follow in his wake. There was now just one last challenge left to man: To sail solo nonstop around the globe, and a number of sailors began to plan.
In March 1968, the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race was announced – the first ever attempt to sail solo nonstop around the world. There was no entry fee, virtually no rules nor qualification requirements because most of those who become entrants were already well on the way with their planning to attempt this challenge anyway. By offering a trophy for the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world via the five great capes and another £5,000 UK Pounds for the fastest time, the Paper created an instant race and a great story to increase circulation.
Nine colourful characters with varying sailing skills headed off at various times in a strange collection of yachts. There was only one finisher—Robin Knox-Johnston and his 9.75m traditional ketch-rigged double-ended yacht Suhaili who, at the start, was considered the most unlikely boat and given no chance.
The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race quickly became legend to sailors and non-sailors alike with its triumph and tragedies and epic human endeavour in facing the unknown. It remains so today. Later, the Race would inspire the formation of the BOC Challenge Around Alone and Vendee Globe solo round the world races. For more about the history of the race, visit the Golden Globe Race website at goldengloberace.com/history/.
The Unique GGR Rules
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 32-36ft overall (9.75–10.97m), designed prior to 1988, and which 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, navigating with sextant on paper charts, and without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will handwrite 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.