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Irish Sailor Enters Golden Globe Round the World Race

3rd December 2015
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Gregor McGuckian will race the 2018 Golden Globe

Ireland will have an entry in the 2018 Golden Globe Race, the solo, non-stop around the world race. 

Irish sailor Gregor McGuckin has declared his interest in the race that will have 25 entrants. 

The 24 men and 1 woman – Britain’s Susie Bundegaard Goodall –  have each paid an initial A$3,000 entry fee, though some names remain confidential until sponsorship announcements are made later this month. Other entrants hail from America, Austria, Brazil, Italy, Norway, Palestine, Russia and Switzerland

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.

Background to the Golden Globe Race - Stepping back to the golden age of solo sailing

As Afloat reported previously, just like the original Sunday Times event, the 2018 Golden Globe Race is very simple. Depart Falmouth, England on June 14th 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Falmouth. Entrants are limited to use the same type of yachts and equipment that were available to Robin Knox-Johnston in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite based navigation aids. Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 - 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 and having a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. These yachts will be heavily built, strong and steady, similar in concept to Robin's 32ft vessel Suhaili

In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this edition travels back to a time known as the 'Golden Age' of solo sailing. Suhaili was a slow and steady 32ft double-ended ketch based on a William Atkins ERIC design. She is heavily built of teak and carried no computers, GPS, satellite phone nor water-maker, and Robin completed the challenge without the aid of modern day shore-based weather routing advice. He had only a wind-up chronometer and a barograph to face the world alone, and caught rainwater to survive, but was at one with the ocean, able to contemplate and absorb all that this epic voyage had to offer. 

This anniversary edition of the Golden Globe Race is a celebration of the original event, the winner, his boat and that significant world-first achievement. Competitors in this race will be sailing simple boats using basic equipment to guarantee a satisfying and personal experience. The challenge is pure and very raw, placing the adventure ahead of winning at all costs. It is for 'those who dare', just as it was for Knox-Johnston. They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand-write their logs and determine the weather for themselves. Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow.

It is now possible to race a monohull solo around the world in under 80 days, but sailors entered in this race will spend around 300 days at sea, challenging themselves and each other. The 2018 Golden Globe Race will be a fitting tribute to the first edition and it's winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Safety

The yachts will be tracked 24/7 by satellite, but competitors will not be able to interrogate this information unless an emergency arises and they break open their sealed safety box containing a GPS and satellite phone. Doing this however, has consequences. By breaking the seal, competitors will be deemed to have retired from the Golden Globe Race, and instead will be relegated to the Chichester Class as if they had made a stop.

Provisional entry

For these 25 sailors, this marks the initial stage towards completing all the entry requirements, which include gaining further sailing experience and preparing their boat to meet all the qualifications. Only when these hoops have been jumped will the provisional entrant become an official entry in the Race. Just prior to the start when final scrutineering and certification has been completed, will the sailor and boat together become an official competitor. Then and only then are they absolutely assured of starting in the Golden Globe Race.

Published in Solo Sailing
Afloat.ie Team

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