There is now something of a racing boom all over the world: six new professional competitions that will make sailing affordable.
Ever dreamed of being part of a sailing race? Did you want to go to Cape Horn or ride on the slope of the incoming wave in the depths of the Southern Ocean? Did you imagine yourself at the wheel of a yacht racing under a spinnaker taut like a snare drum? There are several seagulls near the boat, the sea breeze caresses your face ...
The real state of affairs
Many new round-the-world events are set to kick off in 2022. They will open up great opportunities for ocean racing and travel at a price that matches the cost of owning a private yacht.
There are races with a partner, single races; races with stops and without stops; across the tropics and deep into the Southern Ocean.
Some races combine professionals with experienced amateurs and offer the opportunity to compete against the pros. It is possible to hire professionals who will race with you.
For example, at the Vendée Globe or Ocean Race, yachts cost from 10-15 million euros. Now the range of prices for such events is very large.
Second Golden Globe
The second race will take place next year "Golden Globe". The retro style singles race is hosted by Australian sailor and adventurer Don McIntyre. By the way, initially the race was considered as a one-time celebration of the 50th anniversary of the famous 1968/69 race.
But, as it turned out, “Globe” became a world hit, gaining a huge audience. In addition, a whole line of sailors has formed, wishing to take part.
The Golden Globe originates in Les Sables d'Olonne (by the way, in the same place as the equally famous "Vendée Globe"). Along with other races, "Globe" has become an integral part of the racing calendar.
Although “Globus” does not attract professionals, it is a relatively affordable race.
So, there is already a strong line-up for the 2022 race. "The [next] lineup will be different," McIntyre says. “Those who get into this know what to expect and there are three distinct groups.
The first is those who are passionate about winning. The second - with a friendly attitude to business, focused on business. And the third group just wants to participate.
Of all the races that will take place around the world in the next two years, the Ocean Globe Race in 2023 is causing the most excitement.
The largest of Don McIntyre's retro races in terms of boat size and likely fleet size.
For example, OGR has become a beacon of light in the imaginations of sailors from all walks of life. A typical example of a pay-to-play race.
The OGR has its origins in the Whitbread circumnavigation of the 1970s and 1980s, when amateurs and professionals competed together.
McIntyre argues that he also resists the obsolescence of modern racing. By the way, he does this giving new life to old boats. In this case, mainly fiberglass yachts in lengths of 47-68 feet, produced before 1988.
The route is very simple and follows the Whitbread Races in four stages. There are stops in South Africa, Australia or New Zealand, and then sailors go around Cape Horn. The home stretch is already in Europe.
McIntyre says: “The race is already full of participants - 35 boats. We knew that the competition would be large-scale. "
There are several classes: the Adventure class for the Swan 47, 48 designed by S&S and the Frers Swan 55, 46, 51 and 53. Applications for this class are now closed.
There is also the Sayula class for 56-66 feet yachts, with a range of Swans and Nicholson 55 suitable.
Flyer class which can include any yacht of any length. Condition - participation in the 1973-81 Whitbreads or a historically significant yacht (or training sailing).
Another classic test is the approved 1985 Maxis Whitbread and Whitbread / Volvo from the 60s.
The Adventure, Sayula and Flyer classes share the "back to the roots" concept of the Golden Globe race.
On the other hand, the Classic Challenge at Whitbread / VO60s leverages technology from its era and will possibly run on a different course or class.
Classic Whitbread yachts are already on display, such as L'Esprit d'équipe / Export 33, Maiden, ADC Accutrac and King's Legend.
“Dominique Dubois, who owns the Multiplast shipyard, just went out and bought a Swan 651. He now has 25 friends and a chef on board,” says McIntyre. "Some of the big names, Formula 1 sailors, want to sail with him."
Another who wants to get involved is Andrew Pindar, longtime sponsor of Vendée for the voyages and sailors. He has two matching VO60s, the former Assa Abloy and News Corp, both from 2000.
“It's about reusing and repurposing boats around the world [away from] the arms race. People must return to the achievement of what was created almost half a century ago, ”he says.
Andrew considers it a good experience when the team consists of professionals and amateurs.
“I would like to go back to the era when sailors eventually became coaches. They had at least one more race in reserve.
Legends such as Brad Jackson or Guillermo Altadill could be combined in one team with their peers (50-55 years old), with the difference that their peers were not experienced sailors. For example, with accountants and lawyers.
They are also professionals, but in a different field. These people, by the way, could never have been at sea, under sail. On the other hand, they will never get a seat in the Ocean Race or Ultime and will not want to participate in the 40th class. "
What do racing professionals say?
Pindar believes that VO60 will be a strong class. Provided that the team will be divided into professional seafarers and people who simply “buy” new life experience for themselves.
Alternatively, "a bunch of legends and half of the mentees from something like the Magenta Project [a program designed to help women become professional racers]."
On the other hand, this combination of private owners and their friends, professional seafarers and a crew that pays for their stay on the ship has made OGR consistently popular.
Andy Schell plans to race in his Swan 59, Icebear, with three other professionals and seven paid teams. He says the seats he has to offer have already sold out at prices ranging from $ 32,000 to $ 40,000 per person and $ 100,000 for all four stages.
Around the world in miniature
The third race, scheduled by Don McIntyre for 2024, is a new event called the Mini Globe. This is a race on 19ft plywood yachts of the same design.
The route may start from Northern Europe via the Canary Islands, Panama, Marquesas Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Indonesia, Mauritius, Cape Town and Cape Verde.
This concept resonates with some of the iconic microyacht travelers. They followed John Guzzwell's circumnavigation of the 21ft Trekka in the 1950s and Shane Acton's circumnavigation of the 18ft Shrimpy in the 1970s.
This voyage around the world will pass through the tropics at latitudes above 40 ° and will last for about 13-14 months. The schedule is based on the pursuit format, with each start date only set after 15% riders have finished in the previous leg.
The single 5.80 m high design for this event was developed by Polish designer Janusz Maderski. In fact, it is smaller than the Mini 6.50 class that crosses the Atlantic in the Mini Transat.
An assembly package is available as a kit or separately. A builder kit with equipment is also available from Plastimo and one-piece mast kits from Sparcraft and Seldén. The budget to be prepared for the planned transoceanic races for this class, the Globe 5.80 Transat and the Mini Globe Race, is around € 45-50,000, including all safety equipment.
McIntyre is about to launch Hull 1, Trekka II, for himself. “It is being built in Poland and I will be participating in the first event of this class [Globe 5.80 Transat from Portugal to the Caribbean, November 2021],” he says.
Another “affordable” event is the new Global Solo Challenge round the world. It is a non-stop pursuit race.
Started by Italian solo yachtsman Marco Nannini. The Global Solo Challenge will have a continuous series of starts over eight weeks from September to October 2023.
Nannini began his solo races in the Sigma 36 at the 2009 OSTAR and continued in Class 40 at Josh Hall's Global Ocean Race in 2011/12. He says the experience was tough and he wanted to move away from "a format where you either have the fastest boat or have no other way to win - it was like a Ferrari and a bicycle competition."
“I would never want to feel it again; it was a terrible feeling that you were part of the race ... but basically no "
Its race is open to approved yachts ranging from 33 to 55 feet with a maximum IRC rating of 1.25. "Therefore, the most recent class 40 yachts are not participating."
Nannini says his pursuit race will feel like "the tortoise and the hare, David and Goliath." It is very easy for the public to understand: the one who comes first wins. "
Nannini already has several experienced riders with suitable yachts and the line-up is similar to that of the Golden Globe Race or OSTAR.
For serious riders, the staggered start format is as intriguing as the permission to use the engine within 500 miles of the finish line.
The Global Solo Challenge is perhaps best viewed in the organizers' terminology as a “fantastic personal adventure”. It was created for those who really want to accomplish the feat of circumnavigating the world without stopping, with comfort and safety.
While there will be so many new races on the market over the next few years, all of the above have bids and, more importantly, include sailors who are not sponsored or otherwise self-funded. Many of them already have their own yachts.
Their existence testifies to an increase in demand among middle-aged or retired seafarers who are eager not to miss their chance. Anyway, pandemic sharpened this desire.
These races, for example, are heavily dependent on the participating owners rather than sponsors. The formula, which, for example, is being carried out by ARC, has also proven its reliability, independence from the economic climate.
It seems that decade after decade there is no shortage of private sailors with an insatiable appetite - and the means - to tackle complex challenges.
Risk, however, is a different matter, and some professionals have expressed concern about the potential for serious problems.
Among them is the complexity of rescue operations in the Southern Ocean, however, which may jeopardize the regulation of already established events.
The more yachts sailing on the high seas, the higher the likelihood of multiple failures and problems.
This boom, played out in such a short period of time, raises well-founded concerns.
However, many may simply underestimate the abilities of seafarers that they simply haven't heard of. The value of years of experience of senior seafarers is usually underestimated.
Most of these amateur or professional races are based on well-established conservative races. This in itself can reduce the risk.
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