Strong Demand for the Past

Published on June 15th, 2015

It was in 1968 when Sir Robin Knox-Johnston departed from Falmouth UK, soon to become the first person to sail singlehanded non-stop around the world. Of the nine starters in that Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, Robin and his 32ft ketch rigged yacht Suhaili were the sole finishers.

A second Golden Globe race is being planned to mark the 50th anniversary of that remarkable feat, with race organisers having now received 50 serious expressions of interest from sailors in 17 countries – Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Brazil, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, USA and Russia.

“The response has been remarkable” says Don McIntyre. “The concept for a retro race in long-keeled monohulls like Suhaili and sailing round the world with nothing more than the equipment that was available to Robin five decades ago, has obviously hit a chord with many people.”

McIntyre has received a further 150 letters from people asking for more information. The Race is limited to 30 competitors and the first names will be published on August 1st. Entries close on 31st December 2015.

The 2018 Golden Globe Race is very simple. Depart Falmouth, England on 14th June 2018, sail solo, non-stop around the world via the five Great Capes and return to Falmouth. But it is the restrictions, not the route, that sets this race apart from other similar contests.

Entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were 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 with a traditional full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge, similar in concept to Knox-Johnston’s Suhaili.

The Pre-Notice of Race has now been published (click here) and lists the 32-36ft long-keeled production boats approved for the race with the addition of Suhaili replicas known as ‘ERIC’ designs built in wood, steel or fibreglass. The course has also been amended to include additional ‘gates’ in the Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands and Falkland Islands for competitors to drop off film, and a southern boundary of 47°S in the Southern Ocean has been set after Kerguelen Island to keep the fleet clear of icebergs.

In addition, prior to the Race, entrants are now required to sail for one day under jury rig made up of two spinnaker poles and an emergency rudder system, and carry all this equipment during the race.

While no digital or satellite technology is allowed, for safety reasons, competitors will be issued with a satellite phone, and tracking system through which they can send two 100 character text messages a day directly to the race organisers. All other communications have to be made via HF radio, just as Sir Robin Knox-Johnston used during the 1968/9 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.

For further information go to

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