Ocean Globe Race: chasing dreams
Published on August 10th, 2023
As 14 teams sail their yachts toward MDL’s Ocean Village Marina in Southampton, England, it’s time to step back 50 years. Dust off those denim flares, buckle up your platforms and get those cassette players rocking. The 2023 Ocean Globe Race is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic Whitbread Race the best way possible, by sailing around the world like it’s 1973. Get ready to follow the adventure.
At 13:00hr, on September 10, the yachts will set sail from the Royal Yacht Squadron start line, Cowes, UK to circumnavigate the globe. The Ocean Globe Race is like no other as it’s a race in keeping with the spirit of the original Whitbread races. ‘Ordinary’ sailors compete with sextants and paper charts, but without phenomenal budgets, foils and computers. Amateurs young and old are chasing dreams.
A return to slower times without satellites, non-GPS days with ordinary people sailing classic yachts on life defining adventures around Cape Horn. A simple display of what courage, passion and the human spirit can achieve.
Fourteen yachts, hailing from eight different countries, including seven former Whitbread yachts, have accepted the challenge with 22 nations represented. They’ll sail on production yachts, or ex-Whitbread yachts, split into three classes. Adventure Class 46-55ft, Sayula Class 56-65ft and Flyer Class, comprising ex-Whitbread yachts from the first three editions.
Split into four legs and sailing around the three great Capes, Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, and South America’s notorious Cape Horn, it’s an epic challenge.
Leg 1: September 10th – UK to Cape Town, South Africa.
Leg 2: November 5th – Cape Town to Auckland.
Leg 3: January 14th – Auckland to Punta Del Este
Leg 4: March 5th – Punta Del Este to UK
Finish: April 5th – 15th
Adventure Class: 47ft – 56ft
Triana FR (66) – Swan 53. Well-known media entrepreneur, skipper Jean d’Arthuys is fulfilling his childhood dream of sailing around the world. His first mate Sébastien Audigane is well known in the professional French sailing community, having already completed six passages of Cape Horn.
GodSpeed USA (01) – Swan 51. The only American entrant, Godspeed is the smallest yacht in the race. Skipper, navy veteran Taylor Grieger, and his Skeleton Crew sail with the mission of providing adventure therapy to military service members suffering from PTSD.
Sterna SA (42) – Swan 53. Sterna and her AllSpice Yachting crew will sail home to South Africa on leg one where they have been providing adventure sailing expeditions. It was the 2018 Golden Globe Race that inspired co-founder Dr Gerrit Louw to take on the challenge of the OGR.
Galiana WithSecure FI (66) – Swan 55. One of the two Finnish entries, Galiana WithSecure is skippered by well-known Golden Globe sailor Tapio Lehtinen. He assembled a young crew in honor of the opportunity he was given at the age of 23 when he took part in the 1982 Whitbread Race onboard Skopbank of Finland.
Outlaw AU (08) – Baltic 55. Skippered by Australian sailor Campbell Mackie, this will be Outlaw’s second time around. Formerly known as Equity and Law, she competed in the 1985/86 Whitbread race. Out of the water for over 10 years, she’s been lovingly brought back to life by her passionate crew of former Clipper Round the World Race sailors.
Sayula Class: 56ft-66ft
Explorer AU (28) – Swan 57. Owned by Don McIntyre of McIntyre Adventure, sponsor of the OGR, Explorer is the race’s second Australian entrant. The classic Swan 57 was originally designed for the Whitbread race and is skippered by well-known Golden Globe solo sailor Mark Sinclair, AKA Captain Coconut, with a paying crew seeking adventure.
Spirit of Helsinki FI (71) – Swan 651. Under the name “Fazer Finland” she raced in the 1985/86 Whitbread. Hotel entrepreneur Jussi Paavoseppä purchased her in 2019 for the OGR and completely rebuilt her to follow his lifelong dream.
Evrika FR (07) – Swan 65. Skipper Dominique Dubois is clearly determined to complete the OGR. His first entry Futuro was written off when it fell from its cradle during storm Gérard. Dominique then acquired Evrika to continue his dream. Evrika is well known in the Caribbean as Pink Floyd’s Rick Wright home for 25 years. Now 25 alternating crews will race her around the world.
White Shadow SP (17) – Swan 57. Skipper Jean-Christophe Petit is very proud of his young, international team, 22 crew members from eight different countries leading the only Spanish entrant in the race. He sees communication and passion for the OGR as a key to success.
Flyer Class: ex-Whitbread yachts from the first three editions.
Maiden UK (03) – 58FT Bruce Farr Design. Maiden, the only UK entry, is a familiar name to many. Tracy Edward MBE skippered the first all-female crew in the 1989 Whitbread. Now the OGR continues the legend. The Maiden Factor’s mission includes raising awareness of the 130 million girls worldwide who are currently unable to access an education. Their program involves fundraising for and supporting community programs that enable girls into education.
Translated 9 IT (09) – Swan 65. Previously raced as ADC Accutrac by British skipper Clare Francis MBE, the first ever female skipper, coming fifth place in the 1977 Whitbread. The Swan has now been rebuilt and transformed into Translated 9. As the only Italian entrant their diverse crew was selected from over 1 200 applicants.
Pen Duick V1 FR (14) – 73ft Bermudan Ketch. Skippered by Marie Tabarly, Pen Duick VI is the flagship of The Elemen’Terre Project, raising public awareness of the major environmental and social issues. She believes the values of this association bind the team together in a way that goes beyond mere competition. The yacht has a long and even controversial history with the Whitbread, designed specifically for the 1973 race and sailed by Marie’s father, the revered Éric Tabarly, who was forced to abandon the race after two dismastings.
Neptune FR (56) – Aluminum Sloop 60. One of the five French entrants, Neptune sailed in the 1977 Whitbread. Following an extensive restoration, she has a new mission. Crew member Bertrand Delhom is an experienced sailor who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. He’s racing to deliver a message of hope for the seven million Parkinson’s patients in the world, including 200,000 in France.
L’Esprit d’Équipe FR (85) – Export 33. L’Esprit d’Équipe is no stranger to the race, having entered three previous Whitbread races and winning in 1985! She has been lovingly restored to her former glory by her dedicated crew and skipper Lionel Regnier with the hope of repeating their previous successes.
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.