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French skippers dominate entry list for 2018 Golden Globe Race

by Barry Pickthall 6 Dec 2016 19:27 GMT 6 December 2016
2018 Golden Globe Race Press conference at the Paris Nautique Exhibition © PPL Photo Agency

30 sailors...30,000 miles...non-stop alone...no outside assistance

Nine French skippers head the 30-strong entry for the 2018 Golden Globe Race starting from England in June 2018. The 30,000 mile solo, non-stop round the world race is being staged to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race back in 1968/9 which led to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston becoming the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world.

The French entrants are:

  • Jean-Luc van den Heede (71), five-time circumnavigator who holds the record for the fastest solo west-about non-stop circumnavigation against the prevailing winds and currents
  • Eric Loizeau (66) A veteran of two Whitbread round the world races, and a former French Yachtsman of the Year
  • Lionel Regnier (55) who has made 23 Atlantic crossings
  • Antoine Cousot (45) who has sailed the equivalent of three circumnavigations delivering yachts to all corners of the globe
  • Phillipe Peche (54) a two-time holder of the Jules Verne trophy for the fastest non-stop sailing circumnavigation
  • Patrick Phelipon (63), who like Loizeau, is one of legendary French yachtsman Eric Tabarly's sailing disciples
  • Loïc Lepage (60) who has more than 20,000 miles of solo sailing under his belt including three trans-Biscay and four transatlantic crossings
  • Arsène Ledertheil (58) currently No 2 on the Wait list
  • Francois Gouin (56) currently No 3
Professional sailors and adventurers dominate the entry list but competitors also include a farmer, furniture maker, foreign exchange trader, engineer and two teachers who represent 12 Countries: Australia (4), Brazil (1), Estonia (1), France (9), Ireland (1), Italy (2), Norway (1), Palestine (1), Russia (1), Switzerland (1), UK (5), and the USA (3). Their average age is 48. The youngest are 27 (one British woman, an American and a Swiss entrant). The oldest is 71 year-old Jean-Luc van den Heede. All have considerable short and single-handed sailing experience.

Competitor Profiles

Shane Freeman (61)
Australia
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Kevin Farebrother (48)
Australa
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Mark Sinclair (58)
Australia
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Gustavo 'Rato' Pacheco (57)
Brazil
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Uku Randmaa (53)
Estonia
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Jean-Luc van den Heede (71)
France
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Eric Loizeau (67)
France
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Lionel Regnier (57)
France
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Antoine Cousot (45)
France
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Loïc Lepage (60)
France
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Patrick Phelipon (63)
France
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Philippe Péché (55)
France
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Arsène Ledertheil (58)
France
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Francois Gouin (56)
France
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Gregor McGuckin (30)
Ireland
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Federico Beccaria (47)
Italy
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Francesco Cappelletti (38)
Italy
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Are Wiig (57)
Norway
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Nabil W Amra (41)
Palestine
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Igor Zaretskiy (64)
Russia
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Nérée Cornuz (27)
Italy
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Susie Bundegaard Goodall (27)
UK
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Ian Reid (61)
UK
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Robin Davie (65)
UK
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Tim Newson (36)
UK
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Chris Jacks (31)
UK
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Istvan Kopar (63)
USA
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Roy Butler Hubbard (27)
USA
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Carl Huber (56)
USA
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History of the GGR

Robin's race was a seemingly endless series of dramas, failures, broken gear and near catastrophe. In fact, the voyage went from bad to worse: a serious leak just two weeks into the race, the unwelcome attention of a shark he finally had to shoot, a debilitating attack of jaundice, a massive knock-down in the Southern Ocean throwing him and everything else on board all over the cabin, a complete failure of his wind-vane self-steering gear requiring him to hand-steer from Australia back to England, and then another storm and near dismasting during which Suhaili was suffering so much Robin prepared to launch his liferaft. But for Robin, this race was not just about finishing. He believed he could win. He kept in touch with how the other competitors were doing as often as was possible via single-sideband radio, but that too failed long before the finish. He didnt know for sure that he was going to win until he was close to Falmouth. He landed to a hero's welcome and massive public acclaim... and eventually, after other achievements, a well-deserved knighthood.

The 2018 GGR will be run under the auspices of the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club based in Tonga. His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Tupouto'a Ulukalala of Tonga is Patron of the Race.

The Race in numbers

  • The course: 30,000 miles with 4 rendezvous gates
  • 30 entrants plus 3 on wait list.
  • Competitors represent 13 countries (some entrants remain confidential until sponsorship is announced) America (4) Australia (3) Brazil (1) Britain (5) Estonia (1) France (7)) Ireland (1) Italy (2) Palestine (1) Switzerland (1)
  • Oldest competitor: Jean-Luc van den Heede (FRA) 71.
  • Youngest competitors: aged 27: Roy Hubbard (USA) Susie Goodall (GBR) and Nérée Cornuz (Swiss)

Don McIntyre (60) Race Founder

Don is an inveterate sailor and recognised as one of Australia's greatest explorers. Passionate about all forms of adventure and inspiring others, his desire is to recreate the Golden Age of solo sailing. Don finished 2nd in class in the 1990-91 BOC Challenge solo around the world yacht race. In 2010, he led the 4-man Talisker Bounty Boat challenge to re-enact the Mutiny on the Bounty voyage from Tonga to West Timor, in a similar boat and with same limited supplies available to Captain Bligh 221 years before.

He says of the skippers competing in the GGR. "They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand–write their logs, cook with kerosene and determine the weather for themselves. Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow."

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