About GGR

35 sailors…

30,000 miles non-stop…

Alone…With no outside assistance.

To celebrate Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s historic 1968/9 world first solo non-stop circumnavigation in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Yacht Race, a new Golden Globe Race was staged to mark the 50th Anniversary of that epic, starting from Falmouth June 14th 1968. 

Like the original Sunday Times event, the 2018 Golden Globe Race is 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 sailing similar yachts and equipment to what was available to 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 that have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge.
These yachts are heavily built, strong and sturdy, similar in concept to Knox-Johnston’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.

In August 1966, British yachtsman Francis Chichester set out from England to sail solo around the world to Australia and back via the five great Capes in the 16m Gipsy Moth IV in a bid to beat the Clipper ship records. 

He completed the circumnavigation in 226 days (274 days including the stopover in Sydney) to set a record for the fastest voyage around the world in a small boat.
A diverse adventurer and excellent navigator, Chichester attracted huge interest thanks to the exclusive coverage provided by The Sunday Times newspaper . Returning triumphant on 28th May 1967, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and became not only a British hero but an inspiration to many more who would follow in his wake. 

There was now just one last challenge left to man: To sail solo non-stop around the globe, and a number of sailors began to plan.

In March 1968, the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race was announced – the first ever attempt to sail solo non-stop around the world. There was no entry fee, virtually no rules nor qualification requirements because most of those who become entrants were already well on the way with their planning to attempt this challenge anyway. 

By offering a trophy for the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world via the five great capes and another £5000 for the fastest time, the Paper created an instant race and a great story to increase circulation. 

Nine colourful characters with varying sailing skills headed off at various times in a strange collection of yachts. 

There was only one finisher – Robin Knox-Johnston  – in his 9.75m traditional ketch rigged double ended yacht Suhaili who at the start, was considered the most unlikely boat and given no chance. The rest either sank, retired or committed suicide.

Entrants must arrive at the Race venue no later than 1600hrs on August 14th 2022. Safety inspections will be carried out prior to the event. 
The Race clock starts with the start gun on September 4th, 2022. If an entrant does not start within five days of the start, he or she is deemed to have withdrawn from the Race.
Entrants may seek shelter and anchor (using the engine if needed) to make repairs, but may not enter port and no person may give any materiel assistance at any time during the Race.
At the end of the Race, ships logs and celestial navigation notes will be scrutinized for compliance and further declarations signed by the entrant, confirming rule compliance during the Race.

Race Route

The race course is an east-about circumnavigation starting and finishing in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France. Competitors will sail down the Atlantic from North to South leaving:

  • An inshore Canary Island mark (TBA) to starboard- a chance to interview the skippers as they sail past without stopping and for them to pass over films and letters.
  • Trinadade to port
  • Cape Town film drop
  • Cape of Good Hope to port
  • Prince Edward Island to starboard
  • Crozet Islands to starboard
  • Kergulen Islands to starboard
  • 45°S latitude to starboard. An imaginary line the entrants must not cross or face a time penalty. Race Control follows the satellite tracker.
  • Cape Leeuwin to port
  • To a Gate (TBA) in Storm Bay Tasmania. Entrants sail over a line and must drop sails and drift, or anchor for 90 minutes. Media, family and friends may then interview and chat without touching them and films and letters passed off the boats, but nothing goes onto the boats. Only after 90 minutes may they recross the line and continue on to Cape Horn. The clock does not stop.
  • Snares Islands to starboard.
  • Bounty Islands to starboard.
  • Waypoint 46°S, 174°W to starboard. An imaginary rounding mark.
  • 46°S latitude to starboard until east of 115°W longitude. An imaginary line the entrants must not cross or face a time penalty. Race Control follows the satellite tracker.
  • Cape Horn to port
  • Sail up the Atlantic from South to North. Then to the Finish line (TBA).

Entrants must show prior ocean sailing experience of at least 8,000 miles and another 2000 miles solo, in any boat, 

The 2022 Golden Globe Race will require all entrants to use only the same type, or similar equipment and technology that was carried on board Robin Knox-Johnston’s 1968/69 race winning yacht Suhaili. 

Entry is by invitation only, for sailors aged 18 years and older at the start on June 16, 2018. 

Entrants must show prior ocean sailing experience of at least 8,000 miles and another 2000 miles solo in any boat, by 30th April 2018. This is an around the world solo race that is totally unique and OPEN to all. Yes, there are yacht design limitations, unlike the first Golden Globe, as this is also a salute to Suhaili, but if there were not, it would become just another competition to see who can get the best sponsorship. This race has created something that the average sailing person worldwide (with commitment) can compete in. It is therefore truly an Open Race as it is not open in class, but truly Open to All. 

Entrants currently include young, old, experienced, amateur, professional, coastal, offshore, cruising and adventurous sailors from 15 countries. This is a non-stop one-class race, so any entrant forced to make one stopover, or break the seal on their portable GPS chart plotter, will not be eligible for any official Golden Globe trophies, refund of entry fee or completion plaques, but can remain in the event, being moved to the ‘Chichester Class’. They will receive a ‘Chichester’ finishing plaque, provided they finish no later than 1500hrs on 22nd April 2019. Any entrant making two stops is disqualified. Each entrant will be supplied a standard Race Pack by the event organisers. The technology may change, but it will include, but not be limited to:

A stand-alone satellite tracking system (the skippers cannot see) for web tracking updates.

A two-way satellite short text paging unit. (to race headquarters only) for twice daily 100-character text reports.

Two hand held satellite phones (for important calls to Race headquarters only) for one a week safety check in only.

A sealed box with a portable GPS chart plotter (for emergency use only)

All Entrants 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. Approval for Production yacht types for entry into the Golden Globe Race has now been restricted to the following 22 yachts with the following general specifications:

Of fibre reinforced plastic construction.

Designed prior to 1988 and have a minimum series of 20 yachts built from one mould.

Have a hull length of between 32ft and 36ft. Bowsprits, wind vanes and outboard rudders, boomkins, pushpits and pulpits are not measured.

Have full-length keels with rudders attached to the trailing edge.

A minimum design displacement is 6,200kg.

Sailing like it’s 1968.

In the world of ocean racing, money and sponsorship have created and continue to support spectacular professional ocean racing events.

These elite skippers and modern day ocean gladiators are champions, the best of the best and rightly so who become pilots of amazing technology. But has something human been lost? The integrity fades for ordinary sailors watching as high tech wins ahead of the sailor. How can these ordinary sailors, inspired by the action, dream of ever participating? Often sailors lose that dream, knowing it is just for the few. The dream fades and does not happen.

The Retro nature of the 1960’s rules and conditions of entry into the Golden Globe Race have opened a fresh new page. It has created great enthusiasm, comment and opinion in sailing circles around the world. They say this Retro style is the right idea at the right time and may well begin a movement toward RETRO SAILING. We hope it does. The plain idea of racing in simple strong boats, using no technology and combining the traditional seamanship skills of the sailor with his ingenuity, passion and determination to drive him across the finish line first, is both simple to understand and intensely satisfying. It is also a very affordable adventure and challenge for all! The dream is back!

You sail refitted older proven production boats of a similar style, length and type, with no high tech anything allowed, no satellite gear and your costs are controlled. All entrants face the same challenges and more money will not necessarily help you to the podium. There is no rating system, so the person in the lead is winning and wow, you have a great production family boat and when you want to sell, you do not lose your shirt!

As a RETRO Race, for the Golden Globe, generally speaking only equipment that was available to Robin Knox Johnston on Suhaili in 1968 may be used. That means NO GPS, Chart plotters, electronic wind instruments, electric autopilots, electronic log, iPhone, satellite phones, digital cameras, computers, cd players, pocket calculators electronic clocks and watches, water makers, carbon fibre, Kevlar, spectra etc… so it is back to film cameras, cassette tapes, sextants, wind up clocks, trailing logs and Dacron sails, wind vanes and typewriters.

There is a place for all types of sailing races in the world and just maybe, RETRO sailing is the new kid on the block!

  • To create a unique ‘RETRO’ non-stop solo around the world yacht race, in the image of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe that draws sailors back to the Golden Age of ‘one sailor, one boat’ facing the great oceans of the world.
  • To organise a race where adventure takes precedence over winning at all costs.
  • To professionally manage an event where the sailors skill and traditional seamanship alone, rather than modern technology or support crews, gets them home and where the achievement truly belongs to the skipper.
  • To give sailors of all ages an opportunity to race solo around the world safely, in a fleet of similar and affordable yachts in the spirit of Suhaili.

Saltram Saga on a test run to the Azores