PBO's resident YouTube aficionado Kass Schmitt gives insight into the drama we can expect from the Ocean Globe Race adventurers

The inaugural Ocean Globe Race is underway and the first onboard videos have started appearing on the OGR YouTube channel. The Ocean Globe Race is another ‘retro’ round-the-world yacht race founded by Don McIntyre.

As his 2018 Golden Globe Race celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times Golden Globe race, so the OGR will celebrate 50 years since the first Whitbread Round the World Race, which saw 17 fully-crewed yachts from seven nations depart Portsmouth to race 27,000 miles around the world with three stops.

With the increasing commercialisation of ocean racing, participation in the event, which evolved into the Volvo Ocean Race and later The Ocean Race, became further out of reach for Corinthian sailors and private owners. McIntyre’s OGR promises to take us back to a golden age of round the world racing, with 14 yachts representing eight countries.

No more than a third of each crew can be professional sailors, and each team is required to include at least one woman and one crew under 24, as well as a dedicated onboard photographer/videographer.

Excellent stories are bound to come out of the Flyer class, which has five boats that took part in at least one Whitbread race. Maiden will be competing once again with an all female crew skippered by 26-year-old Heather Thomas.

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Will they be able to get revenge on L’Esprit d’Équipe, who in 1990 pipped them to the class win by two days? And will L’Esprit d’Équipe and Neptune be able to improve against Translated 9, who came 5th overall in 1978 as ADC Accutrac with Clare Francis in charge? And will Marie Tabarly be able to skipper her legendary father’s Pen Duick VI to the Whitbread glory that cruelly evaded him?

There are sure to be inspiring human stories as well. The young crew on Galiana WithSecure have already had a masterclass in seamanship and resilience from their skipper Tapio Lehtinen.

The two-times GGR skipper, who lost his boat in the Indian Ocean on the last edition, barely seems to have broken a sweat when dismasted on the first night of the Rolex Fastnet Race, just 50 days before the start of the OGR.

The sole American entry Godspeed is skippered by Taylor Grieger, the founder of Skeleton Crew Adventures (see Channel Hopping, July 2019) and the team will be entirely made up of military veterans. I expect their videos will also make compelling viewing.