The 2018 Golden Globe Race marking the 50th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s victory in the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world Race will start from Plymouth on Saturday June 30, 2018, following a Parade of Sail from Falmouth.


The Golden Globe Race is all about anniversaries. Today, Saturday 22 April, marks the 48th year since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston won the Sunday Times Race and became the first man to sail solo non-stop around the Globe.

Suhaili Parade of Sail

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

Thursday June 14 2018 will be the 50th anniversary of Sir Robin’s start in that race from Falmouth aboard his 32ft yacht Suhaili. The 30 skippers competing in the 2018 Golden Globe Race will join hundreds of other yachts in Falmouth Harbour with a sail-past salute to Sir Robin.

Other historic yachts joining the commemoration include Sir Francis Chichester’s famous Gipsy Moth IV, Sir Alec Rose’s Lively Lady, a replica of Sir Chay Blyth’s original Golden Globe race yacht Dytiscus III and Joshua, which Frenchman Bernard Moitessier sailed in the original Sunday Times Race.

That night, the Royal Cornwall YC will host a Suhaili gala dinner where Sir Robin will be guest of honour.

SITraN Challenge charity race to Plymouth

Friday 15 June 2018 will see the Golden Globe yachts and historic fleet take part in the SITraN Challenge charity race from Falmouth to Plymouth, timed to finish in Queen Anne’s Battery Marina early that evening. SITraN (Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience) is the nominated charity for the GGR and is one of the world leading centres for research into Motor Neurone Disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.

From basic neuroscience research to novel therapies and clinical trials – their aim is to improve the lives of patients with neurodegenerative disorders and their families worldwide. These diseases are affecting more and more people. See

Richard Gates, Falmouth Town Manager said: ‘Falmouth looks forward to hosting the Parade of Sail recognising Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s significant achievement 50 years ago, in partnership with the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club and the Golden Globe Race. Next year promises to be a great spectacle out on the water.’

Plymouth host city for the 2018 Golden Globe Race start and finish

An aerial view of Plymouth ©Trevor Burrows

An aerial view of Plymouth ©Trevor Burrows

Plymouth has strong historic links not just with single-handed sailing, but the original Golden Globe Race. The City hosted the first Observer single-handed transatlantic race (won by Francis Chichester) in 1960, was the start and finish port for Chichester’s successful one-stop solo circumnavigation via Sydney, Australia in 1966/7, and also hosted four of the nine competitors in the Sunday Times race – French competitors Bernard Moitessier (Joshua) and Loic Fougeron (Captain Browne), Commander Bill King (Galway Blazer II) and Lieutenant Commander Nigel Tetley (Victress) when they set out on this 30,000 mile odyssey around the five Great Capes.

The race village will open on Saturday 15 June with a parade of sail led by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Suhaili followed by Joshua, Dytiscus III, Lively Lady and Gipsy Moth IV, Entry to the race village will be free and the attraction will be open to visitors from June 15 to the start on Saturday June 30.

Gipsy Moth IV

Gipsy Moth IV

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the skippers, look down on their yachts, take a sail aboard Gipsy Moth IV, Joshua and Lively Lady, and view Suhaili and Dytiscus III on display in the marina. In addition, the Royal Western YC is to host an exhibition on the history of single-handed sailing, and the National Marine Aquarium, which will form part of the race village, is planning special interactive exhibits for children, focused on climate change and the effect this is having on Coral reef health and marine bio-diversity.

Councillor Ian Bowyer, leader of Plymouth City Council said: ‘We are delighted that Plymouth has been chosen as the host city for the Golden Globe race. This is a true adventure of a lifetime and I am really proud that Plymouth will be able to provide a spectacular backdrop to this event. The City has a proud and illustrious past in ocean racing which we are continuing to support and celebrate.’

John Lewis, the Royal Western Yacht Club’s oceanic race director said: ‘This is great news for Plymouth and the club which is the home of single-handed oceanic racing. We very much look forward to welcoming the competitors, their families and friends, before they start their epic voyage around the world. Plymouth continues to build on its enviable reputation to host major international sailing events.’

Education programme.

Climate change and sustainment of the planet’s marine ecology are subjects close to the hearts of all the competitors and form a major part of a school education programme that will involve the National Maritime Aquarium, the McIntyre Adventure Marine Discovery Centre and the Open University.

As part of this, each skipper will nominate a school in their region of the world to partner with a school in Plymouth and will host classes from these schools at the race village prior to the start.

Nicola Murray, head of discovery and learning said: ‘The National Marine Aquarium is a charity created to support and promote healthy oceans. Our world-class education programme facilitates curriculum based learning for 30,000 students annually, linking an array of subjects to the marine world. We work with Pre School to PhD students. The Golden Globe Race is an incredible event and our team are really excited about developing the learning programme and the opportunities it offers Britain’s Ocean City and students around the globe.’

Don McIntyre, the Australian founder of the 2018 Golden Globe Race

Don McIntyre, the Australian founder of the 2018 Golden Globe Race

Other attractions

During the 15-day build-up to the start from Plymouth, the Golden Globe Race will be holding a series of lectures presented by famous sailors, and host an Ocean Adventure Film Festival (Now open for international entries) which will include little seen historic footage, recording the pioneering days of sail together with a short film competition shot on Kodak Super8 film – the same stock that the Golden Globe Race fleet will be shooting on.

In addition, Plymouth City Council will be holding its famous Plymouth Jazz and Blues festival in the Race Village, playing the best music from the Swinging Sixties.

Start day – Saturday June 30, 2018  coincides with Plymouth Armed Forces Day so there will be plenty to keep visitors occupied once the race has started. Plymouth Armed Forces Day has a spectacular and exciting programme of entertainment, with air displays, parades, demonstrations, competitions and activities for the whole family.

Don McIntyre, the Golden Globe Race chairman said: ‘Plymouth’s enthusiasm for the 2018 Golden Globe Race is fantastic. We are all excited to be partnering with this vibrant Ocean City and with so many new and exciting elements coming together for the Race Village and start day, we are looking forward to attracting spectators from across the UK, Europe and the world. June 30t will see 30 heroes embark on a voyage the likes of which the world has never seen.’


Shane Freeman about to tackle the climb up the 50 metre rope ladder. Credit: Freeman Sailing

Shane Freeman rescue. Credit: Freeman Sailing

This past winter has seen some entrants inevitably drop out but their places were eagerly filled by those on the Wait List. One of the fallers is Australian Shane Freeman who was forced to abandon his Tradewind 35 yacht Muska after being capsized and dismasted in fearsome seas some 600 miles west of Cape Horn. Mercifully, Freeman was rescued by a passing ship, and though no longer a competitor, he hopes to have a role to play supporting other competitors and the Race.

This has left a very strong list of 25 entrants including new names Izabel Pimentel from Brazil, Mark Slats from the Netherlands and Mike Smith from Australia. It also gives the opportunity for five more to fulfil lifelong dreams of sailing around the world.

‘The race is limited to 30 entrants, and since we have received more than 150 tentative enquires, I don’t think it will be long before our list is full again.’ Added Don McIntyre, the GGR Chairman. ‘I know a few sailors around the world who are losing sleep this week deciding whether to join the GGR Family and change their lives for ever. It is a case of first-come, first served.’

For further details, go to

The race in numbers

  • The course: 30,000 miles with 4 rendezvous gates
  • 25 entrants (Max entry list is 30)
  • Competitors represent 11 countries
  • America (3) Australia (3) Brazil (2) Britain (3) Estonia (1) France (7) Ireland (1) Italy (1) Netherlands (1) Norway (1) Palestine (1) Russia (1)
  • Oldest competitor: Jean-Luc van den Heede (FRA) 72.
  • Youngest competitors: aged 27: Roy Hubbard (USA) Susie Goodall (GBR) and Neree Cornuz (Italy/Switzerland)

Selection of yachts to date:

  • Rustler 36 (6)
  • Belliure Endurance 35 (3)
  • Ta Shing Baba 35 (2)
  • Tradewind 35 (2)
  • Suhaili ERIC design replica (1)
  • Nicholson 32 Mk 10 (1)
  • Biscay 36 (3)
  • OE 32 (1)
  • Lello 34 (3)