"Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester when asked why he carried so much alcohol on his solo sail around the world.

Sunday, December 23, 2018


Below is an interesting article written by Don McIntrye about some concern as to whether or not the traditional full keel boats being raced in the Golden Globe Race are safe for a single-handed around the world race. I'm amazed at this sentiment when not to many years ago popular thought was that full keel boats were the only boats considered safe for an around the world journey. I've never believed that, nor do I believe that fin keel boats are unsafe for such a journey. Enjoy.

Stage Photo: Alain Delord sailing his ARCHAMBAULT 35 ” TCHOUK TCHOULK NOUGAT” solo around the world. By VoilesetVoiliers Photo@ALESSANDRO GUI
The Southern Ocean is tough on GGR boats as it is for all who venture south. It’s a place of extreme beauty, a true wilderness that captures the imagination of sailors and reminds them of their insignificance. Nowhere else on earth is like it. It’s power is unquestioned and unchallenged. You never beat it, just move and bend with it in deep respect. You venture south at your own risk with an open mind in the knowledge that you may not return. The allure of the Great Southern Ocean is steeped in history and folklore. For many the attraction is to successfully round Cape Horn, a moment mixed with pride, excitement, awe and most often great relief.

To succeed you must believe in yourself and your ability, TRUST YOUR BOAT and prepare for the worst.
JEAN LUC VAN DEN HEEDE first coined the fun phrase Petit Escargot (little snail) describing the 36ft full displacement yachts of the GGR when he joined the Race in 2015. He has sailed five times solo around the Globe in larger boats up to 80 ft long including his BOC and VENDEE GLOBE yachts. He knew the challenge was tough, indeed very tough but stakes his life on his Rustler 36 MATMUT as a safe ocean-going yacht, up to the demands of the Southern Ocean and right for this simple yet serious adventure.

The essence of the Golden Globe Race rests with strong honest boats, basic reliable sailing systems, no computers, world class safety gear and full risk minimization. It’s a UNIQUE challenge, accessible and affordable to any man or woman with the passion and desire to do it.

The choice of boats for the GGR is defined within well-conceived parameters specifically relative to the event. At 32-36 ft they are proven ocean voyaging yachts conceived by respected designers. The keels, rudders and hulls are over engineered by modern standards. These designs are not prone to damage from hitting underwater objects and their long keels track well under windvane self-steering even in heavy weather.

Only six of the original 17 starters in the GGR are still sailing and there have been five Southern Ocean dismasting. Some may think this is because the boats are too small, too slow and cannot outrun Southern Ocean storms. History does not support this assumption. Many ordinary well-prepared yachts from 22ft to 38ft have safely solo circumnavigated via the Great Capes and continue to do so. Speed may sometimes help in the Southern Ocean, but many modern fast yachts are still overcome. My 50ft 1990 BOC Challenge yacht Buttercup and another entrant Kanga Birtles in his 60ft yacht could not outrun the same storm and we both rolled 360. (Both rigs survived) Watch the video here

Typical racing sailors would never use these Petit Escargot for normal racing and have trouble coming to terms with their features and ocean-going ability. Most have never sailed them, nor been in the Southern Ocean and have not used windvane self-steering. They feel more modern designs with fin keels and outboard rudders may be safer. Again, history does not support this assumption. Modern fin keel lightweight surfing boats often need electric Auto pilots to steer, require constant human input and effort to control these sometimes-unforgiving designs in heavy weather. These designs simply have less ability to look after themselves. GGR style boats are much more forgiving in heavy weather and sail well under wind vanes without the need for electrical power.

A few years ago, I was involved in the RESCUE of French solo sailor ALAIN DELORD, sailing a fast, light modern fin keel 35ft yacht solo around the globe. He was unable to control his boat in a storm and then was dismasted 440 miles south of Hobart in Tasmania, spending four days in a life raft before we were able to recover him.

Watch the Video here .
Read the story here.
Read the FRENCH story here

Collectively I have spent 3.5years of my life in the Southern Ocean over 22 years on yachts and small expedition ships and have 48 years sailing experience. I have seen her moods. I know that the better prepared you are the more luck you have, but I also know that sometimes, you can have the best prepared boat with the best skipper, yet that GUARANTEES NOTHING.

History makes this very clear . Last year’s OSTAR solo transatlantic race saw FIVE finishers from 15 starters. The early Vendee Globe races saw on average only HALF the fleet finish. In 1996-97 only SIX of 16 starters finished and in the 2008-9 Vendee Globe 18 of the 29 starters FAILED TO FINISH. The retirement statistics of problems (3 keels, 3 steering and 7 mast issues) make interesting reading.

Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environment) day 85: lost keel.
Jean Le Cam (VM Matériaux) day 58: lost keel bulb, capsized
Jonny Malbon (Artemis) day 56: delaminated mainsail
Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2) day 53: lost port rudder
Derek Hatfield (Algimouss Spirit of Canada) day 50: broken spreaders
Sébastien Josse (BT) day 50: broken rudder system
Yann Eliès (Generali) day 40: fractured femur
Mike Golding (Ecover 3) day 38: dismasted
Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty (Groupe Maisonneuve) day 37: faulty halyards, broken auto-pilot
Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) day 36: dismasted
Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) day 36: ran aground
Dominique Wavre (Temenos) day 35: damaged keel box
Unai Basurko (Pakea Bizkaia) day 28: faulty starboard rudder box
Jérémie Beyou (Delta Dore) day 17: damaged rig
Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) day 6: cracked hull
Yannick Bestaven (Energies Autour du Monde) day 4: dismasted
Marc Thiercelin (DCNS) day 4: dismasted
Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel) day 4: dismasted

The 2018 Golden Globe Race is re-creating and making history. It is new, innovative and different in many ways. It is seen as a Cultural Renaissance in sailing. There is no such thing as the PERFECT BOAT in any ocean or situation. The GGR Petit Escargots are RIGHT FOR THE SOUTHERN OCEAN and what is quickly becoming known as the TOUGHEST RACE IN THE WORLD.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


A personal view about the inspirational ethos of adventure by Golden Globe Race Founder, Don McIntyre.
The latest rescue of British yachtswoman Susie Goodall from her dismasted yacht DHL Starlight after being pitch poled during a storm some 2,000 miles west of Cape Horn earlier this week has led some to wonder if the event safe? Should the Golden Globe Race be stopped after five boats dismasted and three rescues?

This forgoes the simplest fact that the master of any vessel at any time can return to any port and give up on any voyage. HE/SHE CONTROLS THEIR OWN DESTINY. Whatever the organizers of the Golden Globe should do, I can assure you that it will not impact on any sailors currently at sea. They would carry on. They love it. Without exception, every GGR skipper is a very experienced mariner aboard a well-prepared yacht who volunteered for this challenge with spirit and enthusiasm.

They are not there for the money, nor the fame. They are there to challenge themselves and seek adventure. Adventure has risk and has by its very nature an unknown outcome. Without Adventure, or those who are prepared to push themselves, the world is worse off. The issue is one of responsible adventure and the 2018 Golden Globe Races is very definitely just that.

Consider Susie Goodall. She is a highly qualified professional skipper with vast ocean experience. She is sailing a yacht built and prepared by a boat builder considered one of the best in the World. Her mast and rigging were designed and built by one of the biggest and best in the world, with full understanding of the challenges and expectation of knockdowns and rollovers. This is part of the reality. Susie’s safety gear, training and risk minimization process carried out under the GGR Notice of Race is exceptional and to the highest standard. The French Maritime Administration even declared that the GGR Notice of Race was THE BEST they have seen for ANY yachting event in all of France.

The challenge is very simple and pure. To sail solo around the world in a small seaworthy boat. People have been doing it for over 50 years. Young and old like David Dix, Jon Saunders, Jesse Martin, Jessica Watson, Vito Dumas, Minoru Saito, Kay Cottee, and of course, Sir Robin Knox Johnston, the first to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation 50 years ago.

Ordinary sailors around the world with ordinary boats who sail oceans for the very same reasons, are watching, listening and learning from the GGR like it has never been done before. So too are future entrants in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, and there are many! So too are the organizers of the Golden Globe.

Sir Robin Knox Johnston is currently undertaking a comprehensive investigation into all issues surrounding the storm tactics of GGR entrants, rig designs and the events that have led to dismasting’s and three rescues in the Race. This very thorough report is widely anticipated and will be released at the conclusion of the Golden Globe Race.

As Founder of the GGR, I too am surprised at the outcome of some of these storms and dismasting that have resulted. It is an incredible challenge. Some may ask what is the point of continuing? The answer is very simple. No one should ever and can never kill off the human Spirit of Adventure. Adventure is inherent in our makeup. How often do you see the word ADVENTURE on TV, the side of a bus, and advertising billboards? Adventure is the very essence of a full life.

There may be some who do not understand the ethos, or the facts behind this amazing cultural renascence in sailing that is the Golden Globe. Some may say it is unsafe because these GGR skippers are not competing in fast foiling 60ft yachts and multihulls. You need only look at the results of the recent Route du Rum solo transatlantic race where 35% of the fleet was knocked out after just one storm to see that they are missing the point. Modern designs, latest composite construction, and satellite technology did not stop these boats from breaking up, being dismasted or being rescued.
There is nothing wrong with slower well-found yachts, traditional navigation techniques and high safety standards that ARE the Golden Globe Race.

The GGR is real life with real sailors in real boats. Boats, masts, sailors have been lost in all around the world races including the Volvo, Vendee Globe, Clipper, Whitbread and BOC Challenge races. These events are all adventures with young and old, men and women living their dreams that inspire others to follow in their wake. By any definition, the Golden Globe is tough, if not the TOUGHEST of them all.

Whilst we are all saddened by Susie having to abandon her boat and her ambition, and very appreciative and humbled by the efforts that many people, agencies and companies are making to bring her safely home, the GGR will continue. The support from ordinary sailors around the world is HUGE, passionate and growing every day! It is still a long way to the finish. Anything can happen. Only one boat finished in the first Sunday Times Golden Globe race 50 years ago. That is what adventure is all about. The 2018 Golden Globe Race is a very responsible one. The 2022 edition will be even more so.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

5 Reasons Why I Love Sailing Singlehanded And 5 Reasons Why I Need A Crew

Most of my sailing is single-handed, it's something that I truly love and enjoy, but I also enjoy sailing with some good friends. Below is a short article that explains the difference: sailing alone vs sailing with crew. I don't agree with everything, especially about knowing everything about your boat and being a master of the sea. I'm not sure that anyone truly knows everything about their boat. I also don't think that anyone is a master of the sea, mother nature will always win the battle and will find yours and the boat's weakness. Enjoy.

If you’re considering heading out to sea, then you need to think about whether you’re going to go it alone or if you’re going to select a crew.
Some like the solitude of sailing without another person for miles, but others tend to like the comfort of knowing someone is close by. There’s pros and cons to both of these decisions and we’ve rounded up the top pros of each.

Sailing alone

It may seem daunting at first but many say this is one of the most rewarding experiences they’ve had. Giving people time to be themselves, doing exactly what they want without a care in the world while they sail off into the sunset.

Robin-Knox-Johnston sailing 
Robin Knox-Johnston in 1969 he became the first person to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.

1. Confidence

Sailing alone will undoubtedly leave you will a sense of satisfaction and confidence. It’s become a highly competitive sport in recent years, so if you’re good enough, why not try your hand?

2. Rules

One of the major things to remember if you decide to go it alone is that you’ll have to be strict on yourself. Making sure you stick to the rules and the routines of the sail is one of the key safety factors in sailing, and one slip up could see you in serious trouble.

3. Complete competence

If you’re sailing alone it means you know everything there is to know about your boat, and sailing in general. And so you can then take great pride in the fact that you’ve not only conquered the sea and successfully completed your journey, but you are master-at-sea.

4. Speed

Less people means less weight, simple as that. If you only have yourself on board then you’ll be free to go as fast as you like (or the wind will take you). More people can add complications along with extra weight which means you won’t be getting anywhere fast.

5. Self-sufficiency

If you’re a lone sailor then you are one of the few people who can really claim to self-sufficient. You have everything you need to survive on board and you only have yourself to be responsible for… what could be better?

Taking a crew

Having a few people around you can mean you’ll be sure to have a great time while out at sea, with jokes and conversation your days won’t seem half as long.

Photo Italia Yachts 12.98

1. Company

This is the main reason why people chose to pick a crew before they head out to sea. You have to think about your mental state, especially if it’s a long sailing trip that you’re embarking on. Having people to bounce ideas off is invaluable when you find yourself in a highly pressured situation or even when you’re going through a lengthy quiet stretch of sea.

2. Time

All the jobs that need doing on-board will take half the time, and if you find which jobs you each like doing you may find that there’s no need for you to spend your time doing the things that you don’t enjoy.

3. Improvement

With other people on-board you’ll find that you naturally pick up more tips and tricks to sailing. Meaning you’ll dock with a few more handy skills than you set off with.

4. Teamwork

With a crew you’ll find that a unique bonding will occur, that can only be formed when you’ve been there for each other in difficult or hectic times.

5. Fun

Finally, having more people on the boat means you’ll tend to have more fun times rather than quiet contemplation. With the beautiful scenery and the feeling of freedom, how could it go wrong?