How the Golden Globe Race has evolved between two editions – Tip & Shaft

16 sailors set off on Sunday in Les Sables d’Olonne for the second edition of the Golden Globe Racean “old-fashioned” solo round-the-world race, the first of which, in 2018-2019, was won by Jean-Luc Van den Heede. Tip & Shaft tells you more about this “GGR”.

They will be 16, including 4 repeat offendersto set off on Sunday for a race around the world launched four years ago by the Australian adventurer Don McIntyreeager to return to the sources of the mythical Golden Globe of 1968. Two less than during the first edition. “If the Covid did not exist, we would have had about 26 participants. Travel restrictions have played a big role, but we are very happy with this number and many sailors are already positioning themselves for 2026″explains Don McIntyre.

Who has made some changes to the rules compared to the previous edition: “The most important was postpone the departure date by two months, to have less difficult conditions in the South Seas. Then we added a 2000 mile solo qualification on the race boat, which means that participants will have sailed at least 8,000 miles offshore, plus 4,000 single-handed, but in reality most have done much more.” Another notable change, ban on amateur radio : “Last time, it gave participants access to information they shouldn’t have had access to”specifies the race director, the Frenchman Sebastien Delasnerie.

The ambitions of Les Sables d’Olonne

As four years ago, the race benefits from the support of the city and the agglomeration of Sables d’Olonne, main partners of the event. “For us, it was obvious,justifies Yannick Moreau, head of the two communities. The popular and media success of the first edition was there, we judged that for the image of Les Sables d’Olonne, it was A good price-performance ratio.” That is to say ? “The media impact for the Les Sables d’Olonne brand was estimated at 4 million euros for an investment of around 800,000 for all the partners we had brought together.”

For this second edition, the contribution of local partners, who take care of everything that is official village and animations, is on the rise: “We are going on a budget of 1.3 millionconfirms Yannick Moreau. The Vendée department, the Pays de la Loire region and a pool of private partners are helping us with 500,000 euros, the net cost for the city and the agglo is 800,000 euros, compared to 400,000 last time .”

With the Vendée Globe, the Golden Globe Race and the Mini Transat, the city of Les Sables – which also hosts the Solo Maître CoQ, Les Sables-Les Açores-Les Açores (Mini and Class40), the 1000 Milles des Sables, the Vendée Arctic and New York-Vendée – is positioned according to its mayor as the capital of round the world sailing and single-handed ocean racing.” And it does not intend to stop there: a year ago it launched a strategic development plan targeting three supports, the Optimist, the Mini and the Imoca, with in particular the ambition to accommodate some 60 feet at the ‘year. “We are neither Port-la-Forêt nor Lorient, but we will play our card. We mobilized 10 hectares around the port to extend the space on land, we imagine being able to welcome six Imoca teams in good conditions in Les Sables d’Olonne.

“Jean-Luc’s record seems safe”

The total budget of the second edition of the “GGR” increases slightly – “2.5 to 3 million euros” (against 2.4 million in 2018) according to Don McIntyre, who however regrets not having “failed to find a title partner for 2 million euros.” For sailors, the budget varies according to the profiles. “On the last edition, Tapio Lehtinen had a budget close to 400,000 euros, there, for those who have boats prepared at least, we are between 120 and 150,000”, believes Sébastien Delasnerie. With the possibility of reselling boats whose rating has increased thanks to the race.

Arnaud Gaistone of the two Frenchmen at the start, talks about “100,000 euros, without the boat, a Barbican 33, which I bought for 30,000.” Budget that he finances from his savings – he worked for six years as an independent trainer for eco-built houses -, crowfunding and small partnerships, in particular with the town of La Tranche-sur-Mer. On his side, Damien Guillou (see his interview on our website)evoked “a big Figaro budget” (around 300,000 euros), which includes his Rustler 36, unearthed in Venice for 80,000 euros.

A Damien Guillou who, with the support of PRB, will be one of the favorites of this second Golden Globe Race, just like, according to the race director, the Briton Simon Curwen, the South African Kirsten Neuschäfer, the only woman in the race, and two repeat offenders, the Indian Abhilash Tomy (retired in 2018) and the Finn Tapio Lehtinen (4th) . And Sébastien Delasnerie to add: “The level of preparation has really gone up a notch compared to 2018, we think we will have more boats in Bonne-Espéranceand probably upon arrival in Les Sables.” Will the 212 days of Jean-Luc Van den Heede be beaten? “I don’t think so, we added a mark off Brazil which lengthens the course, we bet more on 220 days for the first. Jean-Luc’s record seems safe.” See you next April to have confirmation…

A race still not recognized by the FFVoile. As four years ago, the French Sailing Federation, but also World Sailing, refused to give their approval to the Golden Globe Race. “We are aware that Don McIntyre and his team have gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of sailors. They don’t do anything, but they do not follow OSR rules 0 which apply to single-handed ocean racing”, explains Corinne Migraine, vice-president of the FFVoile. If Don had called it Golden Globe Route or Rally, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but there, even if Don tells us that it’s not really a race, they always refer to a classification. The latter responds: “We are studying with the federation the issues related to the OSR 0 rules, but they are impossible for us to respectwe are completely different.”

Photo: Christophe Favreau

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How the Golden Globe Race has evolved between two editions – Tip & Shaft