Golden Globe Race

The 2018 Golden Globe Race
19 sailors … 30,000 miles … non-stop … alone … no outside assistance

Many congratulations to Jean-Luc Van Den Heede for winning the second edition of the Golden Globe Race. He got round the world a lot quicker than Robin Know-Johnston, but with the advantage of a newer, faster boat of course! However, not much difference in terms of technology, so a fantastic achievement to this experienced ocean sailor.

And congratulations to Mark Slats as well, for a very creditable second place. He had pulled back a 200nm deficit to just 40nm, before Jean-Luc managed to slip through to the fish line in Les Sables.

The other three remaining competitors are now all in the Atlantic, with Uku and Istvan north of the equator, navigating through the doldrums. Tapio is finally out of the Southern Ocean (much to everyone’s relief), heading up the coast of South America. His progress is rather slow as he’s bringing a significant population of barnacles with him! He’s sill ahead of Suhaili though!

And not to forget all the others, who have had to retire due to broken bodies or broken boats, or both! Susie, Abhilash, Gregor and Loic were all rescued in the Southern Ocean, involving some outstanding seamanship from Captains and crew of the rescuing vessels.

We wish the remaining three competitors fair winds and calm seas to the finish in Ls Sables.


Like the original Sunday Times event,the 2018 Golden Globe Race is very simple. Depart Les Sables-d’Olonne, France on July 1st, 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Les Sables-d’Olonne.
Entrants are limited to sailing similar yachts and equipment to what was available to Sir Robin in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite based navigation aids. Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 – 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 that have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. These yachts are heavily built, strong and sturdy, similar in concept to Sir Robin’s 32ft vessel Suhaili.

In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this edition travels back to a time known as the ‘Golden Age’ of solo sailing. Suhaili was a slow, sturdy 32ft double-ended ketch based on a William Atkins ERIC design. She was heavily built of teak and carried no computers, GPS, satellite phone nor water-maker, and Robin completed the challenge with no outside assistance or aid of modern day shore-based weather routing advice. He had only a wind-up chronometer and a barograph to face the world alone, and caught rainwater to survive. But he was at one with the ocean, able to contemplate and absorb all that this epic voyage had to offer.

This anniversary edition of the Golden Globe Race is a celebration of the original event, the winner, his boat and that significant world-first achievement. Competitors in this race will be sailing simple boats using basic equipment to guarantee a satisfying and personal experience. The challenge is pure and very raw, placing adventure ahead of winning at all costs. It is for ‘those who dare’, just as it was for Sir Robin. They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand-write their logs and determine the weather for themselves. Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow. It is now possible to race a monohull solo around the world in under 80 days, but sailors entered in this race will spend around 300 days at sea in little boats, challenging themselves and each other.

The 2018 Golden Globe Race will be a fitting tribute to the first edition and it’s winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Spike Briggs