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Latest news on 2018 Golden Globe solo round the world race

by Barry Pickthall 30 Aug 2016 19:49 BST 30 August 2016
Nabil Amra and Antoine Cousot with their Biscay 36 yachts, ahead of the 2018 Golden Globe solo round the world race © Simon Burt / PPL

French yachtsman Antoine Cousot and Nabil Amra, an American based Palestinian, have launched their campaigns to win the 2018 Golden Globe Race, a 27,000 mile retro non-stop solo circumnavigation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's major achievement in becoming the first to sail solo non-stop around the world from Falmouth.

They will be among a fleet of 30 international yachtsmen and women, all sailing long-keeled traditional yachts who will set out on 16th June 2018, 50 years after Sir Robin started from Falmouth in 1968. He returned 312 days later as the sole finisher in the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.

Antoine Cousot (45) is a French professional sailor from Noirmoutier, France, married with three children who has sailed the equivalent of 3 circumnavigations delivering sailing boats and skippering large luxury yachts to all corners of the Globe. See www.antoinecousot.com

Nabil Amra (41) is a foreign exchange trader based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who has sailed throughout the Caribbean and Great Lakes. He has been working diligently on his seamanship skills and feels ready to give a strong account of the tenacity and resoluteness of a Palestinian at sea. See www.sailingwithnabil.com

This retro race is limited to production yachts between 32 and 36ft long, designed prior to 1988 with traditional long keels and stern hung rudders. The BISCAY 36 fits the bill perfectly. Designed by Alan Hill as a sturdy ocean cruising yacht back in 1973, 29 of these classic yachts were built by the Falmouth Boat Construction Company in Flushing.

Ironically, Cousot has bought VISCAYA, the first of these production yachts, launched in 1975, and Amra has ELE MAY, the last to be built back in 1990. Both sailors have brought their yachts back to the Falmouth Boat Company in Flushing, now headed by Jonathan Fielding, to have them extensively refitted for the marathon ahead.

Loïc Lepage (59) from France has been promoted from the wait-list, taking the place of Fabrizio Ladi Bucciolini from Italy who withdrew from the GGR last week after suffering recurring back problems during a 3,500 mile trial sail. Lepage has a Nicholson 32 Mk X yacht named LAALAND and is planning to start her refit in early 2017 prior to making a solo voyage to the Azores and back.

Loïc has more than 20,000 miles of solo sailing under his belt including three trans-Biscay and four transatlantic crossings. "I'm very happy to be part of this legendary race. It's very stimulating to compete against other entrants in similar boats."

The 2016 GGR Skipper/Press Conference will be held in Paris on Monday and Tuesday 5/6th December to coincide with the Paris Boat Show. Race founder Don McIntyre says: "With French skippers dominating the entry list, we thought it appropriate to hold this year's Conference during the Paris Show. This will be 18 months from the race start from Falmouth on June 16, 2018 and there will be a lot that skippers will want to discuss and confirm. We are expecting a high turnout."

The Race will take around 300 days. For details go to www.goldengloberace.com

Popular choice of yachts:

Rustler 36 (7 skippers)
Belliure Endurance 35 (4 skippers)
Ta Shing Babe 35 (3 skippers)
Tradewind 35 (3 skippers)
Suhaili Eric design replica (3 skippers)
Nicholson 32 Mk 10 (2 skippers)
Biscay 36 (2 skippers)
OE 32 (1 skipper)
Lello 34 (1 skipper)
Westsail 32 (1 skipper)
Gaia Benello 36 (1 skipper)
Saga 36 (1 skipper)