16 sailors set off from Sables-d’Olonne on September 4 for the GGR, the Golden Globe Race, a solo sailing trip around the world without electronics, which should last more than 200 days. A look back at three weeks of racing.
“It’s the experience of a lifetime. Firstly because it’s the longest race, but also because we are starting with an almost total breakdown in communication during several months. Even astronauts don’t have that opportunity.” rejoiced Damien Guillou, the skipper of PRB, on the eve of the start of the GGR.
In the line of sight of the sixteen sailors at the start, 30,000 nautical miles, or more than 55,000 km, to be covered on a vintage sailboat, without modern means of navigation.
Sixteen sailors aged 27 to 69, Austrian, American or Irish who during this crazy race must pass through the 3 reference capes: Good Hope, Leeuwin, Horn, on sailboats built before 1988 and not exceeding 11 meters in length.
With a 2022 start made difficult by heavy weather and heavy seas, the skippers experienced mixed fortunes at the start of the race.
Damien Guillou had to turn back to Les Sables d’Olonne for a problem of runfastening of his speed regulator. He was able to start again on time but took six days in sight.
Ertan Beskardes suffered an electrical short and was knocked unconscious when falling into the cockpit.
Guy deBoer nearly collided with a fishing boat and nicked his leg, his boat eventually ran aground on the reefs of the north coast of Fuerteventura, in Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands. The skipper is unharmed.
“If I hit the rocks, it was because the wind speed dropped considerably and the boat got closer to the island, which I didn’t realize until the boat hit the rocks. rocks. I should have gone to the east side and avoided having a leeward side” explained the skipper to the race organizers.
It was a bad decision by the skipper and I’m paying the price today
Edward Walentynowicz decided to give up, “envisaging a more serene participation in 2026”.
They are therefore now 14 still in the race.
Damien Guillou, in full comeback, is now ahead of Arnaud Gaist and Mark Sinclair.
Simon Curwen is currently leading the fleet ahead of Tapio Lehtinen and Pat Lawless. The latter is closely followed by Kirsten Neuschäfer and Abhilash Tomy, the Indian sailor who was rescued after 83 days during the previous edition.
His boat, a replica of the 32-foot wooden yacht on which Englishman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston had won the first edition of the GGR, had dismasted in the southern Indian Ocean. Abilash Tomy had fallen heavily, seriously injuring his back.
Unable to move; he was eventually rescued by the French government fisheries patrol vessel OSIRIS.
It was Sablais sailor Jean-Luc van den Heede who won the 2018-2019 edition, after 211 days, 23 hours and 12 minutes spent at sea. Three times the Vendée Globe record set by Armel Le Cléac’ h in 2016/2017 (74 days 3 hours 35 minutes 46 seconds).
In addition to water and food, most of the sailors took on board a fishing kit and above all something to hold during the many moments of solitude during their long crossing.
“If it gets really hard, I read a novel so I can escape my own thoughts and get into someone else’s,” explained before the start the South African Kirsten Neuschäfer, 40 years old and the only woman to participate.
In addition to the books, the American Guy Deboer took 200 cigars, the Briton Simon Curwen dozens of audio cassettes and the Vendéen Arnaud Gaist around thirty sausages.
“I don’t know the tricks of the other competitors, but I don’t take anything potentially depressing. I have lots of little gifts and family photos that give me courage”, detailed Neuschäfer.
Because courage is needed to reach the end of such a challenge. When Golden Globe Race 2018, Only 6 of the 27 competitors had finished the race.
And during a first mythical edition between 1968 and 1969, the Briton Robin Knox-Johnston was the only one of the 9 sailors lined up at the start to complete his trip, becoming at the same time the first man to have sailed alone around the globe non-stop. .
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Golden Globe Race 2022: retirements, comebacks and sausages, the point on the race