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365 days before the return of the round-the-world ocean Golden Globe Race to Les Sables-d'Olonne

by Don McIntyre 2 Sep 13:10 BST 4 September 2022
365 days before the return of the round-the-world ocean Golden Globe Race to Les Sables-d'Olonne © Don McIntyre

The third edition of the round-the-world yacht Golden Globe Race will set off from Les Sables-d'Olonne on 4th September 2022. The announcement was made at a press conference on Thursday morning, with 26 skippers of 11 different nationalities already set to participate.

The race is the only non-stop round-the-world yacht race without technical assistance and without GPS, using the same equipment as the first race in 1968.

It is a dream setting, an open-air stadium facing the sea which has been the starting and finishing point for so many adventures of men and women of the sea. With its legendary channel that the greatest sailors have already used, Les Sables-d'Olonne's beautiful setting is commensurate with the incredible challenge of taking to the open waters and sailing on all the seas of the globe. The Vendée town has become the world capital of solo ocean racing, hosting many iconic races: The Vendée Globe, the last edition of which, last winter, was full of great moments. The Mini-Transat, whose start on 26th September is full of promise for many up-and-coming skippers. And then there is the Golden Globe Race, the next edition of which will start on 4th September 2022.

A legendary race

The announcement was made this Thursday morning during a press conference at the École des pêches. Making the trip for such an occasion, the conference saw notable figures alongside each other including Yannick Moreau, Mayor of Les Sables-d'Olonne and President of the Agglomeration, Don McIntyre, organiser of the Golden Globe Race, Alain Leboeuf, President of the Vendée Department, and Isabelle Leroy, Vice-President of the Pays-de-la-Loire Region.

In 2018, the return of the Golden Globe Race, which started in Les Sables-d'Olonne, marked the 50th anniversary of this iconic race. It was in 1968 and 1969 that the Golden Globe Challenge took place, the first solo, non-stop, round-the-world race in history. Robin Knox-Johnston's victory and Bernard Moitessier's incredible adventure inspired generations of sailors, convinced that the sea could be an incredible playground for dreams and self-sacrifice.

A long-term commitment

Fifty years later, the 18 skippers taking part in this anniversary race returned to what made it so special: a competition without any technical assistance, without GPS and with the same means of navigation as in the past. The victory of the 2018 Golden Globe Race Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (73 years old at the time) after 212 days at sea had aroused a striking enthusiasm on the pontoons of Les Sables-d'Olonne and among all the ocean racing enthusiasts. The impact of this last edition inspired the organisers to make a long-term commitment to the race.

The organisers of the Golden Globe Race, the City of Les Sables-d'Olonne and the Agglomeration Community (who are in charge of all the onshore activities and the village) have therefore jointly supported each other in order to propose this new edition, the start of which will take place on 4th September 2022. The date has been slightly shifted to help ensure milder conditions for the sailors, particularly during their crossing of the southern seas.

More involvement with the general public

While the race will retain its core ethos, several new features will enable all those who are curious to experience the adventure more closely. Thus, five points of passage have been established so that the skippers can transmit photos and videos of their adventure. In addition, there will be weekly interviews with the media as well as a monthly Facebook live, during which the public will be able to talk directly to the sailors. Finally, a virtual regatta will allow all those who want to, to experience the race in their own setting, throughout the skippers' circumnavigation. The public will be able to meet the participating skippers after more than 200 days at sea from 20 August 2022, with the opening of the village before the start, a fortnight later.

Yannick Moreau, Mayor of Les Sables-d'Olonne and President of the Agglomeration said: "Four years ago, with Don McIntyre, we decided to revive the Golden Globe Race, a unique race that bears the core values of Les Sables d'Olonne.

As the starting point for some of the most beautiful maritime adventures, our city has established itself as the world capital of solo ocean racing.

After the Vendée Globe and the Mini Transat, the skippers of the Golden Globe Race will set off on a round the world race in which human values and surpassing oneself are essential in order to face the elements and reach the end of the adventure.

With one year to go before the start, Les Sables d'Olonne is preparing with passion for this great ocean race. On September 4th, many of us will be on the quays of our mythical channel to encourage these heroes from the four corners of the world."

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