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Grapefruit Graphics 2019 - Leaderboard

Single-handers sailing in company around the world

by Daria Blackwell 30 Aug 2018 12:54 BST
Two groups of single-handers are sailing in company around the world in the Golden Globe Race and the Longue Route © Ocean Cruising Club

If you are following the Golden Globe Race, then you are aware of the carnage out there. Several yachts have retired and it was announced that Norwegian skipper Are Wiig's Olleanna was rolled and dismasted overnight.

If you haven't been following, the GGR is a re-creation of the original solo non-stop around the world Golden Globe Race which was won by Honorary OCC Member Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. They have rules about boats, navigation, assistance, classes, etc.

The Longue Route is a tribute to Bernard Moitessier, one of the contestants in the GGR who was in the lead when he decided not to finish as prescribed but to continue on into the Pacific to 'save his soul' and become immortalized as the ultimate icon in cruising. The Longue Route has no rules, no fees and no set start time or finish. That they started off at roughly the same time means that they are all out there, alone, sailing together.

OCC Member Alastair Fraser has informed us that of interest to OCC members might be that long time OCC member Ann Fraser's boat Gollywobbler was bought by Philippe Peche and is being raced as PRB. "Unfortunately while leading the race, he had severe tiller and self steering damage and is having to get repairs in Cape Town. He is therefore now in the Chichester class. While Ann is 91 now and suffering from Alzheimer's, I know my mother would be delighted that Gollywobbler's adventures around the world continue." Thanks for sharing that Alastair.

The tracker for the Longue Route is following the GGR Fleet as well so you can see all the boats taking part in both events on one screen - it's somewhat bizarre to think of all these small boats navigating the 'old way' heading into the Southern Ocean in company. There are 18 single-handers in the GGR race and another 26 taking part in the Longue Route 'pilgrimage' sailing around the world alone, toasting Neptune and braving the elements at sea.

There are three women sailing the Longue Route: Susanne Huber-Curphy (Germany) currently leading the LR fleet, Oksana Selezneva (GB) and Monika Matis (GB). Susie Goodall (GB) is sailing in the GGR and the lone woman. Susanne is being chased the entire way so far by her husband, Tony Curphy also in the LR, while Jean-Luc VDH sailing in the GGR has overtaken Susanne.

How valiant is it for all these people to be out there sailing around the earth without stopping - just to test their own mettle? There are some amazing stories being crafted as we watch.