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Gregor McGuckin Departs on Round the World Golden Globe Voyage

1st July 2018
McGuckin starts the longest single sporting challenge on the planet – a non-stop sailing circumnavigation on a 36ft yacht McGuckin starts the longest single sporting challenge on the planet – a non-stop sailing circumnavigation on a 36ft yacht

Sunday 1 July, at 12:00 local time in Les Sables d’Olonne France, Irishman Gregor McGuckin crossed the starting line of the Golden Globe Race onboard his very ordinary looking 33-year-old yacht, Hanley Energy Endurance. All going to plan, Gregor will not step foot on dry land again for eight to nine months.

Gregor departsGregor is wished bon voyage before his eight month solo non stop voyage round the world

The Golden Globe Race is being held to mark the 50 years that have passed since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston achieved what was once thought to be impossible. Modern round the world races embrace technology and skippers can now conduct live Skype calls, talk to anyone in the world 24/7 through satellite phones and receive detailed weather routing to steer them away from the worst of the weather. Gregor and the 17 other competitors are setting off with no GPS, no freely available satellite phone, no internet and no weather information other than what they can pick up over the radio.

Golden globe crowdsAn estimated 100,000 people came out to see the fleet off and over 50 Irish people travelled to France to wish Gregor well

McGuckin is now sailing alone, out into the Bay of Biscay, he will then turn south, sail down the Atlantic, around the Cape of Good Hope, lap the Southern Ocean before rounding the infamous Cape Horn, turning left, sailing back up the Atlantic and into Les Sables d’Olonne. The completion of this epic voyage will put Gregor and his yacht, Hanley Energy Endurance, in the history books as the first Irish person to sail alone non-stop around the planet.

Speaking before he left the dock, McGuckin said: “If the race is as hard as the road to the starting line I’m in for a rough ride!"

An estimated 100,000 people came out to see the fleet off and over 50 Irish people travelled to France to wish Gregor well. McGuckin’s father, Randal McGuckin, added:

“Of course, I’ll worry about Gregor but I have every confidence in him and the boat. The team that got him here, along with the amazing support will see him through. It’s fantastic to know that primary school children across Ireland will be following the adventure as well. We’re all extremely proud of Gregor.”

When asked what Gregor will miss most, he said:

“If I start thinking about what I’m going to miss it’ll be a long 8 months. I rather focus on the amazing sailing, wildlife, oceans, weather and challenges that lie ahead. So other than missing friends, family, and loved ones, I’ll be doing my best to enjoy every moment of the voyage.”

The fleet includes 18 competitors in total. Ranging from a 73-year-old French sailing legend that has sailed around the world numerous times, to an Australian from Manchester who is a relative newcomer to sailing but has summited Everest three times.

Gregor’s campaign is part of a wider professional sailing team under the ‘Team Ireland’ brand that saw Enda O’Coineen compete in the Vendee Globe. The Golden Globe Race yachts can be tracked online throughout the race at Goldengloberace.com

Published in Golden Globe Race
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About the Golden Globe Race

The Golden Globe Race is the original round the world yacht race. In 1968, while man was preparing to take his first steps on the moon, a mild mannered and modest young man was setting out on his own record breaking voyage of discovery. Off shore yacht racing changed forever with adventurers and sailors, inspired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, following in his pioneering wake. Nine men started the first solo non-stop sailing race around the World. Only one finished. History was made. Navigating with a sextant, paper charts and an accurate and reliable time piece, Sir Robin navigated around the world. In 2018, to celebrate 50 years since that first record breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It instantly caught the attention of the worlds media as well as adventures, captivated by the spirit and opportunity. The original race is back.

The Golden Globe Race: Stepping back to the golden age of solo sailing

Like the original Sunday Times event back in 1968/9, the 2018 Golden Globe Race was very simple. Depart Les Sables d'Olonne, France on July 1st 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Les Sables d'Olonne. 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 was a fitting tribute to the first edition and it's winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Background on Don McIntyre (61) Race Founder

Don is an inveterate sailor and recognised as one of Australia s greatest explorers. Passionate about all forms of adventure and inspiring others, his desire is to recreate the Golden Age of solo sailing. Don finished 2nd in class in the 1990-91 BOC Challenge solo around the world yacht race. In 2010, he led the 4-man Talisker Bounty Boat challenge to re-enact the Mutiny on the Bounty voyage from Tonga to West Timor, in a simil

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