A new Golden Globe Race is set to start from Falmouth, UK on June 14, 2018 – the same day that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston set out on his epic voyage 50 years before.

The new race will mark the 50th anniversary of the first solo non-stop circumnavigation under sail achieved by Sir Robin during the 1968/9 Sunday Times Golden Globe Yacht Race.

Today’s announcement comes on the 46th anniversary of Sir Robin’s victorious return to Falmouth in 1969, as the sole finisher in the original Sunday Times event.

Robin Knox-Johnston aboard Suhaili at the finish of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race- Photo Bill Rowntree:PPL

Robin Knox-Johnston aboard Suhaili at the finish of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race- Photo Bill Rowntree:PPL

The 2018 Golden Globe Race will see competitors depart Falmouth, England to sail solo, non-stop around the world via the five Great Capes and return to Falmouth.

Entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were 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 with a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge, similar in concept to Sir Robin’s Suhaili.

Australian adventurer Don McIntyre, founder of this 2018 Race said: ‘The overriding aim is for a race where adventure takes precedence over winning at all costs; one where sailing skill and traditional seamanship, rather than modern technology and outside support, gets you round, and where the achievement truly belongs to the skipper.’

McIntyre who completed his first solo circumnavigation in 1991 and more recently retraced Capt. Bligh’s Bounty Boat voyage from Tonga to Kupang, West  Timor in a similar open boat with minimal rations.

He intends to compete in the race with his Tradewind 35 Betty, one of 13 traditional production yacht types approved for this race.

Tradewind 35, one of 13 traditional long keeled production yacts, type approved for the race

Tradewind 35, one of 13 traditional long keeled production yacts, type approved for the race

Another entrant is British yachtsman and adventurer Chris Jacks from Liverpool. Last Autumn, he climbed the summits of 92 Wainwright mountains within 40 days – equivalent to climbing Mount Everest twice.

Two more sailors, one from Australia, the other from Germany, have so far expressed keen interest to compete and are currently finalising their plans.  The 2018 Race is limited to a maximum of 20 entrants.

The challenge is pure and very raw for those who ‘dare’, just as it was for Sir Robin, navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots.

Sir Robin said: ‘I’m a great believer in the freedom of the individual. I think this race is a great idea, giving an opportunity for those who want to do something special with their lives.

‘You can enter this race in an ordinary seaworthy boat and know that success will be down to personal drive and determination, and not to the biggest budget.

‘I intend to be at the start with Suhaili to celebrate this anniversary and expect to be joined by two other yachts that competed in the original Sunday Times Race.’

A prize purse of £75,000 has been budgeted for the 2018 Golden Globe Race, and all who finish before 15:25hrs on 22nd April 2019 (the anniversary of Sir Robin’s finish) will receive a Suhaili trophy and a refund of their entry fee.

  • Fosdyke

    Why restrict the entries to production boats? Any participant will have heavily modified the boat’s production specification. Suhaili wasn’t a production boat.

    I’ve no problem with the long keel restriction, but it seems a shame to rule out wooden boats.