Ocean Globe Race returns to the UK
Published on April 5th, 2023
When Don McIntyre decided in 2015 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ever Whitbread crewed race around the world, it had to start in the United Kingdom. That’s where the Whitbread story began, and so must the 2023-24 Ocean Globe Race.
He did the same thing when deciding to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race which also started from the UK. Sadly, no support came from British ports so the 2018 GGR went to Les Sables d’Olonne in France (home of the Vendee Globe) where it there was interest and investment that generated US$185m in media returns.
The second edition of the Golden Globe Race is due to finish there in a few weeks, and for some time it looked like the Ocean Globe Race was going the same way. Until now.
In an October 2022, the stopover ports were confirmed but it was proving difficult to source a start and finish location in the UK. As a result, final discussions were underway with European ports for the hosting rights.
But that statement was picked up by a large corporate entity with UK connections which also felt strongly the OGR should stay in the UK. At the same time, MDL Marinas wanted to save the event for the UK as a celebration of their own 50th anniversary.
They were passionate about bringing this iconic sailing race back to Southampton and their Ocean Village Marina, the home of so many previous Whitbread races. A deal was struck with both parties and now Ocean Village Southampton is the home of the OGR. This is a huge win for the UK that has seen other significant events move to Europe.
“I am absolutely thrilled to have an anonymous partner and MDL onboard for the 2023 Ocean Globe Race and starting from Ocean Village in Southampton is a personal dream for me,” shared Don McIntyre, Ocean Globe Race Founder & Owner of McIntyre Adventure. “Now, in September, the UK public and sailors everywhere will be able to celebrate an important part of their maritime culture with a true recreation of those first amateur sailors racing into the unknown!”
On September 10, over 160 sailors will depart Ocean Village onboard the 15 yachts to complete the four leg, 30,000 mile race around the world via the three great capes; Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, and South America’s notorious Cape Horn.
Onboard the privately-owned, pre-1988 classic sailing boats, the international, mixed-gender crews will have no GPS, no high-tech equipment, and no computers. They will navigate using only a sextant, paper charts and the stars with all communications by HF SSB radios. They will return in April 2024.
Six of the yachts competing have taken part in one or more of the Whitbread races (including the first French yacht to ever win the Whitbread) to which they are now paying homage. One of the most notable is Tracy Edwards’ Farr 58 Maiden.
In 1990, Tracy triumphantly brought home the first ever all-female Whitbread crew onboard Maiden to Ocean Village Marina. At the time, it was estimated that almost 50,000 people came to witness this momentous event, which helped to turn the tide on women’s participation in sailing.
“This is very good news indeed!” said Sir Chay Blyth, OGR Patron and Official Starter. “I am delighted to hear that the 50th anniversary celebration of the first Whitbread is starting out of Ocean Village. This OGR will be a great race and huge adventure and tribute to all those original Whitbread sailors.”
The 2023-24 Ocean Globe Race (OGR) is a fully crewed, retro race, in the spirit of the 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race, marking the 50th Anniversary of the original event. Starting in Southampton (UK) on September 10, the OGR is a 27,000-mile sprint around the Globe, divided into four legs that passes south of the three great Capes. The fleet is divided in three classes with stop-overs in Cape Town, South Africa; Auckland, New Zealand; and Punta del Este, Uruguay before returning to Southhampton in April 2024.