Some 30 sailors have signed up for the retro Golden Globe Race 2018, an event that spurns modern technology and yacht design


While many races have struggled to raise fleet numbers in the last few years, one very old-fashioned and potentially slow race has already garnered 30 entries for its start in 2018, and another 150 have expressed interest in taking part. The Golden Globe Race goes entirely against the grain of most professional events, a non-stop round the world race for smaller, long-keeled yachts stripped of almost all modern technology.

The race will be a modern-day re-run and a 50th anniversary celebration of the legend-making Golden Globe Race of 1968, the first ever non-stop sailing race round the world. A race of utmost human endurance, it was famously won by a young Robin Knox-Johnston, while Bernard Moitessier decided to sail on. It was also tragically marked by the assumed suicide of Donald Crowhurst.

This new race, run by Australian solo sailor and adventurer Don McIntyre will start on 14 June 2018. There will be a prize fund of £75,000 to be split between the first four finishers.

It is open to a very narrow spectrum of yachts: they must be series production glassfibre boats of 32-36ft to designs drawn before 1988, have a minimum displacement of 6,200kg and a long keel and rudder hung from the trailing edge of the keel.

The field is a mix of adventurers seeking to prove themselves in an extreme fashion and reflects an unusually broad international appeal. Skippers include Susie Bundegaard Goodall (26),  Tim Newson (35) and Graham Applin (52) from the UK, Francesco Cappelletti (37) from Italy, Carl Huber (54) from the US and Estonian sailor Uka Randmaa (52), who has already made a solo circumnavigation. There are also skippers from Brazil, Switzerland, Australia, Norway, Ireland, Russia, Palestine and Austria.

Among several French sailors entered are some veteran round the world racers: Eric Loizeau (66), began ocean sailing crewing for Eric Tabarly, sailed in the 1977/78 Whitbread Race and set a solo transatlantic record in 1986. Up against him will be one of France’s best-loved solo round the world sailors, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (70), pictured above, who has twice raced in the BOC Challenge, done two Vendée Globes and is still holder of what some see as the most gruelling of all records, non-stop round the world westabout.

‘VDH’ as he is known, has cannily chosen a Rustler 36, which is at the upper end of the boat length allowed, decently canvassed and strongly built.

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede will sail a Rustler 36 in the Golden Globe Race 2018

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede will sail a Rustler 36 in the Golden Globe Race 2018


“Back in 1968, I was 23 and fascinated by the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. I would have loved to have competed in the race myself, but being a student, I was too young at that time without experience or money. Now, I have the experience and I find it easy to forget that I am one of the older entrants in this Race.”

The race will hark back to the Sixties in almost every way. The race rules allow builds, but only to original designs, with no modification to interior, mast height or boom length, or any light weight fittings or components. No electronic autopilots or instruments will be allowed so skippers will have to navigate using a sextant and paper charts, they will have to handwrite their logs and will be able to communicate only by long-range HF radio.

Read more about the background to the race here.

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