No sooner than Enda O'Coineen makes an Irish debut in the Vendee Globe race than another Irish short–handed sailor Gregor McGuckin (30) declares for 2018's Golden Globe Race. As previously reported by Afloat.ie, McGuckin declared his interest in the non-stop round the world race, a distance of approximately 30,000 miles, a year ago.
McGuckin (30) swapped his hiking and climbing boots for sailing gear at the age of 18 and never looked back. For many years he combined both skills teaching at outdoor adventure centres at home and abroad before gaining his Ocean Yachtmaster ticket. Since then he has made several Atlantic and Indian Ocean crossings. Now with more than 35,000 sea miles under his belt, McGuckin is currently skippering a 62ft–yacht in the Caribbean.
McGuckin was in the Salon Nautique de Paris this week for the announcement of the race that now has 30 skippers confirmed. Nine French skippers head the 30-strong entry for the 2018 Golden Globe Race starting from England in June 2018. The 30,000 mile solo, non-stop round the world race is being staged to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race back in 1968/9 which led to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston becoming the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world.
Professional sailors and adventurers dominate the entry list but competitors also include a farmer, furniture maker, foreign exchange trader, engineer and two teachers who represent 12 Countries: Australia (4), Brazil (1), Estonia (1), France (9), Ireland (1), Italy (2), Norway (1), Palestine (1), Russia (1), Switzerland (1), UK (5), and the USA (3). Their average age is 48. The youngest are 27 (one British woman, an American and a Swiss entrant). The oldest is 71 year-old Jean-Luc van den Heede. All have considerable short and single-handed sailing experience.
The French entrants are:
Jean-Luc van den Heede (71), five-time circumnavigator who holds the record for the fastest solo west-about non-stop circumnavigation against the prevailing winds and currents
Eric Loizeau (66) A veteran of two Whitbread round the world races, and a former French Yachtsman of the Year
Lionel Regnier (55) who has made 23 Atlantic crossings
Antoine Cousot (45) who has sailed the equivalent of three circumnavigations delivering yachts to all corners of the globe
Phillipe Peche (54) a two-time holder of the Jules Verne trophy for the fastest non-stop sailing circumnavigation
Patrick Phelipon (63), who like Loizeau, is one of legendary French yachtsman Eric Tabarly’s sailing disciples.
Loïc Lepage (60) who has more than 20,000 miles of solo sailing under his belt including three trans-Biscay and four transatlantic crossings
Arsène Ledertheil (58) currently No 2 on the Wait list
Francois Gouin (56) currently No 3