FranceSailing Adventures

Golden Globe Race 2018: Four Months to the Start

With 4 months to the start of the Golden Globe Race 2018 from Les Sables d’Olonne, France on July 1, the number of entrants now stands at 20, representing 13 countries.

These skippers have a remarkable range of backgrounds. Professional sailors and adventurers dominate, but they also include an engineer, foreign exchange trader, hydrographer, pilot, tailor and university lecturer. All have considerable short – and single-handed sailing experience, one having logged five solo circumnavigations.

They hail from Australia (2), Estonia (1), Finland (1), France (4), Ireland (1), India (1), Italy (1), Netherlands (1), Norway (1), Palestine (1), Russia (1), UK (3), and the USA (2). Their average age is 47. The youngest, Britain’s Susie Goodall is 28; the oldest, French solo veteran Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is 72.

golden globe race 2018
Irish skipper Gregor McGuckin enjoying some heavy weather downwind sailing in big seas during a delivery voyage

Three skippers have withdrawn: Gustavo Pacheco (58) from Brazil, American Roy Hubbard (28) and French veteran Patrick Phelipon (64). For Pacheco, retirement is a bitter disappointment. He had devoted the past two years to preparing his Lello 34 Double Helix in South Africa and had recently completed a proving trial across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro, but with no sign of sponsorship, he didn’t have the money to complete preparations as he wished.

Hubbard, one of the youngest entrants, who recently competed on two legs of the Clipper Round the World Race to gain experience in the Southern Ocean, says that he has learned the need to extend his sailing resume before attempting a solo circumnavigation and has deferred his entry to the next GGR in 2022. He is now planning a voyage to Greenland and back aboard his Babe 35 Duke during the summer of 2019.

Golden Globe Race 2018 founder Don McIntyre says: “18 of the original 34 skippers to sign up for this 50th Anniversary Race have been forced by circumstances to either retire or defer their entry to the next GGR. We all knew from the outset that the hardest part of this challenge was simply getting to start line in a race-ready state“.

golden globe race 2018
British skipper Susie Goodall joins Race Founder Don McIntyre to present the GGR at the Sail Spain festival in Bilbao 3-4th March

“It is a measure of their professionalism and the strict safety measures prescribed within the race rules that none have felt pressured to press on against all the odds as Donald Crowhurst and others did in the first Sunday Times Golden Globe Race back in 1968. Those that remain have a very high chance of completing the Race, and those that have made the decision to abstain this time round, will be welcomed as entrants in the next GGR.

Read also our interview with Susie Goodall.


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