Six Months to Fifty Years Later

Published on December 8th, 2017

The 2018 Golden Globe Race will start from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday July 1, 2018. The event marks the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world Race in 1968/9 when rules then allowed competitors to start from ports in northern France or UK between June 1st and October 31st.

In that race, nine started including Frenchmen Bernard Moitessier and Loïc Fourgeron. But there was only one finisher – Robin Knox-Johnston and his yacht Suhaili. Moitessier, sailing the larger and faster Joshua might have won (he rounded Cape Horn 17 days behind Suhaili) but instead of chasing Knox-Johnston back up the Atlantic, Moitessier turned east to start a second circumnavigation – “To save my soul” as he put it.

A notable twist to 2018 Golden Globe Race format is how entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were available in that first race, with the premise being to keep the race within financial reach of every dreamer.

With 6 months to go before the start, 23 entrants are at advance stages for the start with 6 others hopeful of finding a boat and sponsor in time. Five French skippers continue to dominate the entry list. Two new skippers have announced their entry and the return of another who had previously retired, replace five entrants that have withdrawn from the Race.

The new faces are Ertan Beskardes, a Turkish born British national who has bought a Rustler 36, Commander Abhilash Tomy, KC (38) fromIndia who has built a Suhaili replica,and Tapio Lehtinen (59) from Finland who is campaigning a Sparkman & Stephens designedBenello Gaia 36. The entry list also shows a welcome return of Italian entrant Francesco Cappelletti with his Endurance 35.

Those to have withdrawn for personal or financial reasons are Izabel Pimentel from Brazil, British farmer Ian Reid, and two Frenchman, Lionel Regnier who is now assisting fellow Frenchman Jean-Luc van den Heede, andArsène Ledertheil, together with Swiss entrant Nérée Cornuz.

Australian boatbuilder Mike Smith simply ran out of time building his replica of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s 1968/9 winning yacht Suhaili and has now set his sights on entering the next GGR in 2022.

Don McIntyre, the Race Chairman says, “The closer to the start, the more the financial and personal pressures mount, and it was inevitable that some entrants would drop out. That leaves 23 strong entries all busy preparing their boats for the start in Les Sables d’Olonne on July 1st next year.

“There remain 7 places up for grabs and it so happens that we have that number talking to us about the possibilities of becoming late entrants in the Race. Given that there is just 6 months left, that will be a tall order for some who have to buy a boat and refit it, then complete their 2,000-mile proving voyage. Time will tell how many of these will make it to the start.”

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