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Les Sables d’Olonne confirmed as host start/finish port for the 2022 GGR

Les Sables d’Olonne confirmed as host start/finish port for the 2022 Golden Globe Race

22 skippers from 10 Countries now entered
Start date: 4th September 2022

Dateline: Tonga – 10th July 2019

Following the success of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, the Vendée City of Les Sables d’Olonne and its 3-town Agglomeration have voted unanimously to host the next Golden Globe Race in 2022. At a meeting on July 5, the City’s leaders also took out options to repeat the event in 2026 and 2030. The next start is scheduled for Sept 4th 2022 preceded by a two week Race Village in the Vendée Globe Marina to celebrate the history of singlehanded sailing.

The Race will once again be run under the auspices of the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club in Tonga.
Don McIntyre, the Australian Race Founder and head of the Race Organisation Ocean Frontiers PTY Ltd said today: “We are truly excited about this on-going relationship. The support given by the Les Sables d’Olonne Agglomeration during the 2018/19 Race was strong, professional and based on trust – the perfect foundation for a long term commitment. Les Sables d’Olonne gained significant International brand awareness from the 2018 GGR, and their investment and belief in the retro concept of our race paid off handsomely in terms of destination marketing and visitors to the City.”

Being a retro race celebrating the pioneering spirit of those sailors like Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Bernard Moitessier who set out to become the first to sail solo non-stop around the Globe back in 1968, the concept of back-to-basic human endeavour in small traditional yachts, fits well alongside the professionally sailed Vendée Globe state-of-the-art flying foilers, Timing of the GGR in 2022/3 fits perfectly in the middle of the Vendée Globe four-year cycle, covers both ends of the spectrum for any audience and gives Les Sables d’Olonne one of the two biggest solo around the world races every two years.

The support package provided by Les Sables d’Olonne will be significantly larger than in 2018. The Village will be bigger, more entertaining and media plans and coverage for the GGR will be upgraded. Sponsor interest in backing the GGR has also increased, with potential partners now knocking on the door.

“As organisers it is exciting to have a concrete plan so early, with solid logistic support and technical partners who know the game so well.” Says Don McIntyre, adding: “The French people have a great sense for adventure– And thanks to events like the Golden Globe and Vendée Globe races, social media is spreading this passion like wildfire, inspiring millions more around the world to follow these sailors.”

UK PROLOGUE- SITraN Challenge Race

GGR organisers are inviting sailing ports in the UK to become involved by hosting the 2022 Race fleet for one week from August 8 -14 prior to the start of the SITraN Challenge charity race to Les Sables d’Olonne. “We are hoping a UK port will embrace this opportunity to host the GGR and a small historic fleet of associated yachts and be part of something much bigger.” Says McIntyre, adding: “It is a great opportunity to celebrate the history of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race back in 1968/9 which saw competitors starting from the Channel ports of Cowes, Hamble, Falmouth, Plymouth and Teignmouth. The event is not only a great destination marketing vehicle but an opportunity to entertain and inspire local communities.”

Rule changes

The official GGR 2022 Notice of Race will be released on Sept. 4th 2019, three years before the start. Significant additions to the Rules include the approval of HF radio weather facsimile units that will allow entrants to receive current and future forecast weather maps direct on-board, Sponsor signage allowance on hull has been doubled in size and maximum of two direct sat phone media interviews per week will be allowed.

Entries in the SUHAILI CLASS have been increased from 20 to 23 , with the maximum number of JOSHUA CLASS entries has been dropped from 10 to 7. Full digital (Non GPS) cameras and drones will be allowed and any entrants under 21 years of age at the start of the GGR will have 100% of their entry refunded when they sail past the Canaries film drop.


Entries for the 2022 GGR now stand at 22 from Austria (1), Australia (5), Canada (1), France (2), Ireland (1), Italy (1), New Zealand (1), Norway (1), UK (7) and USA (2), four of which remain confidential.

Click here to review 2022 GGR skipper profiles


Igor Zaretskiy the last remaining entrant in the 2018 GGR who was forced to stop in Albany Western Australia and has since undergone heart surgery back in his native Russia, is recuperating well and plans to return to his yacht Esmeralda in later October. If everything goes to plan, he will set sail in November in the Chichester Class (for those making one stop) with the aim of returning to Les Sables d’Olonne in the Spring of 2020.

No further news on the salvage of Gregor McGuckin’s Irish yacht Hanley Energy Endurance, but she is still transmitting a tracking signal from her position in the Indian Ocean, with the hope that someone will mount a salvage operation to recoup the barrel of Irish whiskey onboard as well as the boat.

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Ocean Globe Race is good for GGR!

You have subscribed to the GGR Newsletter which delivers the Press Releases and special THOUGHTS section for the event direct to you. As you know we now have a sister event, another Retro fully crewed Race Around the world called the OCEAN GLOBE RACE ( OGR). It is closely connected to the GGR in Philosophy and Concept, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the original 1973 Whitbread Race. While it is a stand alone event we thought you may be interested in this first Official Press Release. This is the only time we will share an official OGR release with you here. If you would like to follow the first ever Retro fully crewed race around the world PLEASE go to the website NOW and register to receive all the Press Releases and my Thoughts in the years ahead. It is going to be one hell of a Race! THANKS from Jane and me!


The spirit of the Whitbread Round the World Race is back with the announcement of the 2023 OCEAN GLOBE RACE, a retro event starting from a European port on September 10th 2023 celebrating the 50th anniversary of this major milestone in adventure sailing.

In a world now dominated by professional sailors, foiling yachts and eye-watering budgets. This retro Race reopens once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for ordinary sailors and adventurous yacht owners to follow in the wake of Tabarly, Blake, van Rietschoten, Blyth, Knox-Johnston and of course Mexican Ramon Carlin, winner of the first Whitbread fully crewed global challenge in 1973 with his production Swan 65 Sayula II

Organised by Australian adventurer Don McIntyre along similar lines to the highly successful 2018 Golden Globe Race, which he also founded, the 2023 Ocean Globe Race (OGR) will follow the original Clipper ship sailing route around the Globe, just as the Whitbread Race did in 1973. The course traces the classic four-leg route from Europe to Africa and on to Australasia, then back via a South American port: 27,000 miles and seven months passing under the three great Capes with Cape Horn the prize for most.

Just like the 2018 GGR, this new fully-crewed challenge is equally retro, sailing similar well proven yachts to those entered in the first Whitbread and with technology limited to what was available to those pioneers back in 1973. That means no high tech materials, computers, satellite systems (including phones and GPS), as well as mobile phones. Navigation will be limited to sextant plots on paper charts, communications to SSB and VHF radios, and music will be played on cassette tapes.

Entries are limited to ‘approved’ fibreglass production yachts designed prior to 1988, from 47ft (14.32m) to 66ft (20.11m) LOA segregated into two groups: ADVENTURE (47-56ft 14.32-17.06m) & SAYULA (56-66ft 17.07-20.11m) classes. In addition, original entries from the first three Whitbread Races (1973/4, 1977/8 and 1981/2) together with ‘Class surveyed’ production sail training yachts up to 68ft (20.73m) make up a third FLYER Class.

Nautor Swan production yachts that fall within the age/length parameters are currently approved, and similar well-proven production yachts will be considered on application. The fleet is limited to a maximum of 30 yachts and the Race will be sailed under the International Collision Regulations.

Race founder Don McIntyre says: “For the first time in 3 decades, ordinary sailors and yacht owners have an opportunity to experience racing around the world in an affordable, safe and fun way. You don’t need to be an elite sportsman nor require a huge support team. And as far as budgets go, the cost of a campaign need not cost any more than one half of one foil on an IMOCA 60.” (See breakdown budget).

So many sailors harbour dreams of circling the Globe and racing around Cape Horn. The Ocean Globe Race now makes these ambitions possible once more.“

Best practice safety and security arrangements recognized by maritime agencies around the world have been adopted for the Race and strict minimum crew standards and numbers are specified for each class. Each yacht must also include at least one woman and youth crew aged under 24 at the start of the Race.

McIntyre went on to say that the experience of running the 2018 Golden Globe Race has shown up a strong appetite for simple adventurous sailing around the world and has created a great platform to launch the Ocean Globe Race. “The GGR was a huge success for competitors and attracted a large passionate following around the world. The Race achieved everything we set out to do on a very limited budget. We learned important things about what works and why, and now have a unique formula that provides strong point of difference to any other event.”

The 2023 Ocean Globe Race will be run under the auspices of by the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club in the Kingdom of Tonga and is underwritten by McIntyre Adventure Ltd.

Applications for an invitation compete will be available from Sept. 10th, 2019, four years ahead of the start.

Budgets: What will it cost to enter and campaign a competitive entry in the ORG?
A competitive ADVENTURE CLASS entry with 8-9 crew might start with a good NAUTOR SWAN 55 example on brokerage: 180,000 Euro.
Refit using crew labour 100,000 Euro.
Entry fees 25,000 Euro.
Insurance and misc. costs 20,000 Euro.
Total Capital outlay 325,000 Euro.

Your crew should contribute total operating cost around the world, food and maintenance. At the conclusion sell your SWAN for 200,000 Euros. The experience has cost 125,000 Euros. (You could do it for less with a smaller entry) A set of foils and handling gear on an IMOCA 60 is $500-600,000 EUR.

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It’s not over, but it is!

It’s not over, but it is!

Each of us who have been living the GGR these past few years have experienced it. Some more so than others. None more so than entrants. Pushing to extremes to make the start, then heading for the finish, then for whatever reason you’re out of the GGR is hard. You can read between the lines on all those entrants and each has suffered with the transition back to the “ordinary” world. For some it was and still is nothing short of shocking.

Our slow boat to Finland and deserved winner of the Spirit of the GGR Award Tapio has arrived home to a hero’s welcome. We are still waiting for IGOR, but Tapio for me was an end for sure. Over time we all experienced this unlikely hero in a personal way. To see his honor fleet of Optimist dingys and kids out sailing the last mile alongside was poignant for me. I know it would have been extremely emotional for him. Inspiring kids is everything and part of what the GGR means to Jane and me. There is an amazing back story to this man, as is the case for most GGR sailors.

Mark and Susie sailing together on the last leg of the AZAB are about to enter a storm before reaching Falmouth. It will be the first storm Susie has seen since her last in the Southern Ocean and while not as severe, I am sure they will have some interesting and maybe cleansing conversations. It has been hard for Susie. Ertan sails the same AZAB as training for 2022.

Abhilash is the family man with a GGR baby boy and life is full. Full includes dream time 2022. Gregor lives his life over the horizon, still tracking and wondering about his boat. For now it still gives a pulse. Are Wiig dreams of another GGR without rushing. His money BOX is empty but filling. Loic enjoys life like only a Frenchman can. Family, food and fun with a burning ambition to find a sponsor when the rest will fall into place. Philippe has moved on and now struggles to find a balance selling PRB and Antoine has new plans not far off which could mean a return!
Nabil went bush, extreme hair and beard, trimmed for trophies! Is he 2022? Capt. Coconut is back at work, then retiring around 2022? Istvan retired from the GGR for sure and Kevin was not dreaming of boats while waiting in the Que to top Everest. Francesco’s boat remains for sale with a new 2022 entrant just now looking to buy!

UKU loves playing DAD! and husband looking back on life and forward with excitement, while JL VDH now captains a club racer. He takes continuous bookings to tell his story and what a story it is, still ongoing with plans a plenty!

All our friends in Les Sables are enjoying a Hot summer, Celine is still organizing, Christophe is still shooting, Caroline still translating for me and Jesse and Tina still cutting the GGR Doco in Australia. Barry has officially retired!!!! but he hasn’t, as you will soon see. Yannick and Aida are doing a fantastic job of working hard in and for Les Sables being Yannick and Aida and all the LSO team Nathalie, Matthew , Lionel and Eric etc and our fantastic volunteers are busy with continuous events at Le Sands! We miss them all.

Jane and I are in the Tonga GGR Office on our boat EXPLORER on the land. Work is slow prepping for a re-launch, so arrival and kids Optimist sailing is delayed at the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club till then. Yes, it has been hard for Jane and me too. More than once we catch each other staring at the ceiling. I have not been able to write my usual “Thoughts Column” for months, even when I knew I must, and people were asking. It was impossible, as our strong emotions with entrant arrivals were high and often hidden.

Yes, GGR has been a HUGE high in our lives! Some said it would never happen. It did thanks to many. After all my expeditions it is the same. You are emotionally drained. When you stop the routine, it starts a reaction. You need to stop and dream again.

WE wait now for the Global media summary, but we know it was a success because it was! We prepare and discuss with GGR 2022 sponsors and 23 new entrants. The fun continues and it is now one year since Sir Robin Knox Johnston fired the cannon that began a journey like no other. Three years to go! There is a lot to write about. The book is underway. There is a lot to see and the Documentary will expose incredible stories, energy and emotion that will forever make this 2nd edition live on.

And now there is the Ocean Globe Race! It has been a long-held secret, but part of the original plan from 2014 when the GGR was conceived. Somehow, I have become an event organizer by default and not the sailor I intended. When I see all these characters, the fun and joy, the intense emotion up and down and very strong heartfelt friendships that will last a lifetime, I have no regrets. Jane is the same. She feels immensely proud that together, all of us, including you have created something from nothing. It will happen again and the OGR and GGR are perfect sisters.

Thanks to all of you the GGR family. What an incredible adventure it is, was and continues to be. WOW! Here we go again…. Life hey!


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“Barnacles: I knew my race was over.” Tapio Lehtinen

“Barnacles: When I first saw them on the bottom before reaching Hobart, I knew my race was over.” Tapio Lehtinen

Final GGR finisher takes 5th place
Circumnavigation time: 322 days 8 hours 21 minutes

Dateline: 20/05/2019, Les Sables d’Olonne, France

Barnacle growth was the root cause of Finnish skipper Tapio Lehtinen’s slow solo circumnavigation but the 110 day difference between his and Race winner Jean-Luc Van Den Heede’s time was definitely enjoyable.

“I have certainly got my money’s worth from the entry fee.” Tapio had joked with Race organiser Don MacIntyre before his return to Les Sables d’Olonne at 20:21hrs on Sunday. “This is the best organised race I have ever taken part in…And the most selfish thing I have ever done… It is the fulfilment of a life-long dream…I’m not enrolling myself just yet, but yes, absolutely, I would do it again!” the 61 year old from Helsinki said at his press conference today.

“Yet asked what was the lowest moment in the race, the answer appeared to cover several months. “I had been sailing neck-and-neck with Istvan Kopar across the Indian Ocean when suddenly he started to get away. I thought there must be something wrong – perhaps a fishing line caught in the propellor – and dived overside during a calm spell before the Hobart film drop to investigate. It was not a rope or net, but barnacles growing all over the hull. When I first saw them on the bottom, I knew my race was over.”

Other skippers had taken the opportunity to clean their hulls during their compulsorary 24 hour stop in Tasmania, but by the time Tapio and his Gaia 36 Asteria reached Storm Bay Australian authorities had put a stop to it. Careening hulls had to be undertaken beyond the 200 mile territorial waters.

Tapio readily admits to an aversion to sharks, so when he prepared to dive overside during a calm period after leaving Tasmania he recalled “I was tying my improvised boarding ladder to the boat in preparation of diving overboard and spotted this huge shark swim alongside the boat – and that was the worst day of my life.”

Tapio was accompanied the last 10 miles to the finish by Bernard Moitessier‘s famous yacht JOSHUA a French entry in the original Golden Globe Race 50 years before. “I sense the smell of Tahiti in Les Sables” Tapio shouted across in reference to Moitessier‘s decision to foresake the success of finishing by continuing towards a second circumnavigation ‘to save my soul’ as he put it, before finally dropping anchor off the Pacific island.

Susie Goodall’s SITraN Teddy saved

Susie Goodhall has said very little about her harrowing experience when forced to abandon her yacht DHL Starlight after being rolled and dismasted in the Pasific but here is one piece of good news. Among the few things she carried with her in a small backpack when craned on to the cargo ship that came to rescue her, was her SITraN teddy bear she was carrying around the globe as a fundraiser and awareness opportunity for the great work of SITraN. Rather than accept the return of her bear it was decided that Susie should keep him for future expeditions and adventures so he sails on… That’s one special Teddy!

It is still possible to secure one of the remaining entrant SITraN Teddy bears (from Abhilash Tomy, Istvan Kopar, and Tapio Lehtinen) Check in to GGR Facebook page to bid for the remaining Teddies and help great research that SITraN does to combat Motor Neurone Disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Prize winners

WINNER GGR 2018 Jean-Luc VDH (FRA) Matmut 211D 23H 12M

Suhaili timber perpetual model and trophy model
RALF TECH Winners’ watch
BOATSHED.COM £5000 winners purse

2nd: Mark Slats (NED) Ohpen Maverick 216D 00H 18M
Trophy model of Suhaili

3rd: Uku Randmaa (EST) One and All 254D 18H 40M
Trophy model of Suhaili

1st Corinthian (Unsponsored) entry trophy

4th: Istvan Kopar (USA/HUN) 264D 01H 38M

5th: Tapio Lehtinen (FIN): McIntyre Adventure Spirit of GGR Trophy

Susie Goodall (GBR): Kay Kottee Trophy for First Woman entrant in 2018 GGR

2022 GGR

Already, 20 sailors from 10 Countries have signed up to compete in the next Golden Globe Race slated to start on 4th September 2022, and many more have expressed an interest to compete.

2022 GGR entrants to date:

  1. John Clarke (47) GBR – Nicholson 32 MKX
  2. Ian Herbert Jones (49) GBR – Tradewind 35
  3. Guy Waites (52) GBR
  4. Ertan Beskardes (57) GBR – Rustler 36
  5. Simon Curwen (60) GBR – Biscay 36
  6. Robin Davie (67) GBR – Rustler 36
  7. Confidenial GBR
  8. Arnaud Gaist (47) FRA Barbican 33 MKII (long keel version)
  9. Confidential FRA
  10. Guy deBoer (63) USA
  11. Doug Dean JOHNSON (53) USA – Rustler 36
  12. Matthew Wright (49) AUS
  13. Michael Date (57) AUS Aries 32
  14. Confidential AUS
  15. Michael Guggenberger (41) AUT – Endurance 35
  16. Gaurav Shinde (32) CAN
  17. Pat Lawless (62) IRE Saga 36
  18. Guido Cantini (50) ITA Vancouver 34
  19. Confidential NZL – Rustler 36
  20. Confidential NOR

Total: 10 Countries, 7 British, 3 Australian, 2 France, 2 American, 1 Austria, 1 Canada, 1 Irish, 1 Italy, 1 New Zealand, 1 Norway.

12 with Boats already.

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DAY 312: Tapio Lehtinen sighted off the Azores

DAY 312: Tapio Lehtinen sighted off the Azores

Now 1,100miles from the finish line
ETA 23-26th May

Dateline: 9/05/2019, Les Sables d’Olonne, France

Tapio Lehtinen, the 5th and final placed Finnish skipper competing in the Golden Globe Race enjoyed an unexpected rendezvous off Faial Island in the Azores yesterday with the local representative of his Windpilot self-steering sponsor.

Sailing his Gaia 36 Asteria with spinnaker set in glorious weather, Tapio was clearly enjoying his lengthy solo circumnavigation extended by barnacle growth on the hull. “It is light and peaceful and I’m making good progress towards Les Sables d’Olonne.” He quipped.

The 61 year-old from Helsinki also said he was gaining weight, despite running out of cooking gas three weeks ago. “Tesco gave me a lot of good food and I’ve now got used to cold porridge in the mornings and a cold dinner at night.” Ironically, the gas ran out just as he caught a flying fish and he has been eating smorgasbord ever since.

Overnight the winds picked up to gale force, which led to a 122 mile run during the past 24 hours – twice his average daily run since rounding Cape Horn more than 2 months ago. Tapio reported overnight: “You have to respect the North Atlantic, the SW has been howling & gusting over 50 knots through the night. Had #4 reef, 1/4 Yankee & 1/3 Staysail, but should have taken the main down as it hit the waves so badly that the vang broke. Should be able to fix it one more time with my Makita as the wind drops. Making great speed!”

The bad news is that in Tapio’s virtual race against Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s race winning time 50 years before, the gap between Asteria and Suhaili, has now extended to 678 miles, so the Finn will finish well outside Sir Robin’s 312 day benchmark circumnavigation in 1968/9.

Looking ahead, Tapio is approaching the Bay of Biscay at a good time of the year when the winds are generally stable and from a favourable direction. The Race tracker is predicting May 23, based on his average of 3.2knots since the start, but race organisers expect the barnacle growth will slow Asteria whenever conditions are light, and Tapio may not complete his quest until May 26.

GGR organisers are preparing a warm welcome for Tapio on his return.

Lessons learned from sailing small yachts in extreme conditions

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has published his long awaited Report considering the lessons learned from sailing small yachts in extreme conditions including the 5 dismastings suffered during the 2018 GGR.

Click here to download the Report

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