Simple premise proves popular

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The premise of the inaugural Golden Globe Race in 2018 was simple, which was to limit equipment to that which was available 50 years ago, with the premise being to keep the race within financial reach of every dreamer.

Seventeen solo skippers stared July 1, and now with the top two competitors having crossed the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, chairman and CEO Don McIntyre shares some thoughts with Tip & Shaft:

The 73 year old veteran Jean Luc Van Den Heede’s winning finish was reminiscent of a big Vendée Globe finish. How did that compare to your original vision of the race?

It was twice what we could have ever dreamed of, thousands and thousands of people out and hundreds of boats out. It all went like a dream and Jean-Luc, what a great ambassador he is and an incredible achievement.

Has it exceeded your own original vision?

I have to say so yes. The original reason the race was started was because I wanted to sail in it. Back then people would say, “but the boats will just sail over the horizon and never be seen again.” But the reality is different with the mix of daily tweets, the soundcloud phone calls and the tracker, and it all just stayed alive all the time. So many people have told me that our event is more alive, more real because people can dream. I always said it had to be a very human race.

With only five boats competing, what about the number of abandons, the attrition rate? It is high.

That was a surprise to many. I have to concede there are less finishers than what I even thought. I expected around half to finish. There are lessons to be learned. I don’t want to hide behind the words bad luck but some of the rigs were built by the best in the world and they knew what they were building for and they lost them. We had well prepared boats, top sailors and they came unstuck but I think it will be a different story in 2022. Everyone who is entering for 2022 has already learned a lot.

What do you see as some of the reasons?

It is about planning, preparation and execution. We lost eight sailors going down the Atlantic and some of them can be about one simple wrong decision that knocks you out the race. Planning is key, you need to sit down and look at everything that you have had before and the experience of others, pick the right equipment and set your boat up the right way.

The critical element, as an organizer, is risk minimization and mitigation. That is where the Notice of Race comes in and we are really strict in saying what goes on. This event will never have everyone finishing. We had some people suggesting that some of the entrants who entered the GGR were not ready to go, they should not have been allowed to start. And I came back and said that is not what the GGR is. Primarily it is an adventure.

Background:
The 2018 Golden Globe Race started for 17 skippers from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday July 1, 2018, with the inaugural solo non-stop around the world yacht race expected to take 9-10 months to complete.

The event marks the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world race in 1968-69 when rules then allowed competitors to start from ports in northern France or UK between June 1st and October 31st.

A notable twist to the 2018 Golden Globe Race format is how entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were available in that first race, with the premise being to keep the race within financial reach of every dreamer.

The rules allow for one breach of the strict solo, non-stop un-assisted circumnavigation without the aid of modern electronic navigation aids regulations that make this Race unique. However, those that do move down to the Chichester Class as if, like Sir Francis Chichester in 1966-67, they have made one stop during their solo circumnavigation.

Those who breach the rules for a second time are deemed to have retired from the GGR Event and the organisers have no responsibility or obligation to them.

Source: GGR / sailingscuttlebutt

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