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Aussie sailor to sail half way round the world - simply to start solo circumnavigation

by Barry Pickthall 13 Dec 2016 06:39 GMT 11 December 2016
Fair winds for the start: Shane Freeman aboard his yacht MUSHKA heading out into the Tasman Sea © Golden Globe Race

Lone Australian yachtsman Shane Freeman set out from Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne today bound for Cape Horn on a 14,500 mile voyage to England in order to compete in the 2018 Golden Globe Race. The 61 year old adventurer said before he set out. "Effectively, I'm sailing half way round the world just to start this solo non-stop circumnavigation, but I'm using this voyage to test myself as much as my boat."

Shane is one of 30 entrants from 13 Countries competing in the 2018 Golden Globe Race. It marks the 50th anniversary of the first Sunday Times Golden Globe Race back in 1968/9 which led to British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston becoming the first man to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation. Two other Australians, Mark Sinclair from Adelaide and Kevin Farebrother from Perth are also preparing boats for the Race.

Freeman, who has spent the past year preparing his Tradewind 35 cruising yacht MUSHKA for the Race, says "I know enough about ocean sailing to understand the reality of what I am undertaking. "I'm doing the Golden Globe Race for the personal challenge it represents and am bringing strong management and project skills to the preparation of the boat – and myself."

He set sail from Sandringham Yacht Club on Sunday accompanied by a fleet of wellwishers from the Mardialloc Motor Yacht Club and anchored overnight off Blairgowrie before setting out today to cross the Tasman and sail through Cook Strait before heading on to Cape Horn. "I'm planning to keep to the 40th parallel, and make my first stop in the Falkland Islands, then continue on to Falmouth UK, where Knox-Johnston set out from in 1968." He expects to round Cape Horn in 6-8 weeks time and reach England by the end of May.

The 2018 Golden Globe Race travels back in time to the 'Golden Age' of solo sailing. The challenge is pure and very raw, placing adventure ahead of winning at all costs. It is for 'those who dare', just as it was for Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments, autopilots or computers. Shane must hand-write his log and determine the weather for himself. Only occasionally is he able to talk to to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow.

You can follow Shane Freeman's progress by visiting freemansailing.com

For further information about the 2018 Golden Globe Race, visit www.goldengloberace.com