Sweet sixteen for Golden Globe 2022-23
Published on September 4th, 2022
Les Sables d’Olonne, France (September 4, 2022) – Family and friends bid farewell to 16 skippers competing in the Golden Globe Race, a solo non-stop voyage sailing small 32-36 ft old fashion yachts without technology and no assistance. Following years of intense preparations and safety checks, the competitors would now endure nine months of total isolation with only high frequency radios to speak.
The people of Sables d’Olonne provided their iconic support as thousands lined the wall along the harbor channel where classic and historic yachts, competitors of the Golden Globe Race, traditional Olonnois yachts and local yachts paraded towards the startline.
“We couldn’t have wished for a better home port for the GGR than Les Sables d’Olonne,” said Don McIntyre, President and Founder of the race. “To watch the sailors depart the marina was both humbling, exciting, and electric. We were all swept up in the emotion and human spirit on display. Trying to imagine the hardships and joy these sailors and dreamers will experience in the months ahead was hard.”
It was Britain’s Simon Curwen who crossed the line first, followed shortly by France’s Damien Guillou on PRB, later joined by Kirsten Neuschäfer. The trio who led the previous Gijon prologue quickly took the lead of the fleet towards Cape Finisterre, 350 miles south-west of Les Sables d’Olonne, which they are expected to reach in 3 to 4 days.
Popular local French sailor Arnaud Gaist crossed the start line early by about one minute and was asked by the official starter to recross the line. He failed to do so which will be addressed later, but as he sails the smallest yachts in the fleet, it is not expected to have a significant impact.
Christian Dumard, the meteorologist for legendary races such as the Vendée Globe, the Volvo Ocean Race and the Mini Transat, anticipates the conditions for the first few days of the race are going to be tough. “After a start in good conditions, the low-pressure system to the west of the Celtic Sea will bring strong south westerly winds,” said Dumard.
“It will be followed at the end of next week by the remains of cyclone Danielle, which formed in the middle of the Atlantic. It is therefore in a prevailing SW to W flow that the competitors will sail to Cape Finisterre, then probably to the latitude of Lisbon.
“The sea will be rough with waves of up to 4 metres. They will then be able to hit the Portuguese trade winds, the famous northerly winds that will enable them to sail downwind towards the Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Archipelago.”
There are two options in the immediate future: westwards towards heavy weather for the skippers who will want to make the difference during the first 24 hours, and a route favoring milder but more uncertain winds along the Asturian and Galician coastline. This choice, early in the race, could well lead to the first split of the fleet into two groups.
The Spaniard Aleix Selles, still waiting for his mast, chose to sail alongside the fleet and test his jury rig on his Rustler 36 Onsoro. According to the Notice of Race, he may have one more week to rejoin the Race and cross the start line south of Nouch, and benefit from good weather conditions. He is determined and could well add another twist to this 2022 edition.
2022 GGR competitors:
1. Abhilash Tomy (43) / India / Rustler 36
2. Arnaud Gaist (50) / France / BARBICAN 33 MKII (long keel version)
3. Damien Guillou (39) / France / Rustler 36
4. Edward Walentynowicz (68) / Canada / Rustler 36
5. Elliott Smith (27) / USA / Gale Force 34
6. Ertan Beskardes (60) / UK / Rustler 36
7. Guy deBoer (66) / USA / Tashiba 36
8. Guy Waites (54) / UK / Tradewind 35
9. Ian Herbert Jones (52) / UK / Tradewind 35
10. Jeremy Bagshaw (59) / South Africa / OE32
11. Kirsten Neuschäfer (39) / South Africa / Cape George 36
12. Mark Sinclair (63) / Australia / Lello 34
13. Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36
14. Pat Lawless (66) / Ireland / Saga 36
15. Simon Curwen (63) / UK / Biscay 36
16. Tapio Lehtinen (64) / Finland / Gaia 36 Masthead sloop
About the 2022 Golden Globe Race
On September 4, 2022, the third edition of the Golden Globe Race started from Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Sixteen skippers 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, competitors must sail in production boats between 32 and 36 feet overall and designed prior to 1988 that have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. Additionally, sailors have limited communication equipment and can use only sextants, paper charts, wind up clocks, and cassette tapes for music.