Shrinking field for Golden Globe Race

Published on July 14th, 2022

It is odd to think of the 2022-23 Golden Globe Race as the third edition, considering the first occurred in 1968-69 and the rebirth was in 2018-19. But what makes the recent event unique is they permit only equipment used in the inaugural race. Old boats, dated technology.

While initially viewed with curiosity, this single-handed, non-stop round-the-world race has been widely embraced as an affordable option, and while the upcoming race once had 30 entrants, the herd has thinned to 18 competitors for the September 4 start in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

While this is the same participation as the last race, the goal now is to keep it from dipping further as competitors scramble to fulfill final requirements.

Among those is Guy deBoer who left Florida in late June and his “Spirit” is currently making good progress in the North Atlantic with another 2000 miles to Gijón in time for the Prologue on August 8 and completing his survival course.

Another American, 27-year-old Elliott Smith left Boston on his Gale Force 34 on July 10 – a month behind schedule. He will miss the entire Prologue, sailing direct to Les Sables d’Olonne instead. He must then undertake the compulsory eight-day World Sailing Survival Course and STCW Medical Care course prior to the start. This looks unlikely, as he has the whole Atlantic to cross.

Canadian Gaurav Shinde had motored his Baba 35 from Toronto to New York, ready for his transatlantic crossing, but dislocated his shoulder while putting the mast up. Already running late, he is now using his two-week recovery time to do his STCW Medical Care course. Scheduled to depart July 20, he will not make the Gijón Prologue after his 3000-mile qualifier on an untested boat fresh out of refit. Will he make the start?

In addition to the GGR compulsory survival and medical courses, there are mandatory safety briefings in both Gijón and Les Sables d’Olonne. Missing any of these will activate time and financial penalties which is highly likely.

To save time, Finnish entrant Tapio Lehtinen “Captain Barnacle” is shipping his yacht Asteria to Bilbao, Spain. During the 2018 GGR, he was plagued by barnacles that meant he was the last finisher after 322 days at sea. For 2022 he has new antifouling and is out to win.

Meanwhile, New Zealander Graham Dalton, who recently rescinded his entry, is now hoping to rejoin the event. This will not be considered until he completes his 2000 mile qualifying voyage and all other safety requirements before entering Gijón on August 6.

Doing better is Canadian Edward Walentynowicz who is completing his return crossing from Nova Scotia after departing on June 20 on his Rustler 36 Noah’s Jest. He left Les Sables d’Olonne a year ago, sailing home to complete his refit and is expected back in Vendée this week.

South African Jeremy Bagshaw ends his 6000-mile journey from South Africa after a short stop in Horta to sort engine issues. He expects to make landfall in Falmouth this week.

Kirsten Neuschäfer, is well into her trip from Cape Town to Europe, started mid-May. Including her 7000 nm trip from Prince Edward’s Island to South Africa after refit, she now has sailed an impressive total of 13000 miles solo on Minnehaha. She is well prepared.

Gijón is gearing up to welcome the sailors and their team managers, who will meet for the first time during the Prologue August 6-14 for safety briefings and a final chance to relax in the Asturian port city.

Starting August 8, the 280 nm Prologue will lead them from the Spanish port of Gijón to Sables d’Olonne. The GGR is a race of attrition rather than performance, a journey to the finish that in many ways has already begun, and this year is no exception.

2022 GGR entrants to date:
1. Abhilash Tomy (43) / India / Rustler 36
2. Aleix Selles Vidal (34) / Spain / Rustler 36
3. Arnaud Gaist (50) / France / BARBICAN 33 MKII (long keel version)
4. Damien Guillou (39) / France / Rustler 36
5. Edward Walentynowicz (68) / Canada / Rustler 36
6. Elliott Smith (27) / USA / Gale Force 34
7. Ertan Beskardes (60) / UK / Rustler 36
8. Gaurav Shinde (35) / Canada / Baba 35
9. Guy deBoer (66) / USA / Tashiba 36
10. Guy Waites (54) / UK / Tradewind 35
11. Ian Herbert Jones (52) / UK / Tradewind 35
12. Jeremy Bagshaw (59) / South Africa / OE32
13. Kirsten Neuschäfer (39) / South Africa / Cape George 36
14. Mark Sinclair (63) / Australia / Lello 34
15. Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36
16. Pat Lawless (66) / Ireland / Saga 36
17. Simon Curwen (63) / UK / Biscay 36
18. Tapio Lehtinen (64) / Finland / Gaia 36 Masthead sloop

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About the 2022 Golden Globe Race
On September 4, 2022, the third edition of the Golden Globe Race will start from Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Twenty-three sailors from 13 countries will face eight months of isolation sailing 30,000 miles across five oceans solo non-stop and unassisted.

In 1968, while man was preparing to take his first steps on the moon, a mild mannered and modest young man was setting out on his own record breaking voyage of discovery. He had entered the original Golden Globe. Nine men started that first solo non-stop sailing race around the World. Only one finished. He was 29 year old Sir Robin Knox Johnston. History was made. Navigating only with a sextant, paper charts and an accurate and reliable time piece, Sir Robin navigated around the world.

In 2018, to celebrate 50 years since that first record breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It instantly gained traction with adventurers, captivated by the spirit and opportunity. Eighteen started with five finishers. To embrace the original race, boat types were restricted and sailors used only sextants, paper charts, wind up clocks, and cassette tapes for music.

Source: GGR

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