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Golden Globe Race 2022 Day 247: Capt Gugg set for GGR podium tomorrow

by Golden Globe Race 10 May 10:09 BST 30 April 2023
No breakdowns, no knockdowns, no survival storms – just serious planning, preparation, and execution bring him home. But what about the mind game? © Michael Guggenberger / GGR2022

With just under 200 miles to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne and nearly 30,000 miles sailed over the past 247 days, this 44-year-old Austrian sailor Michael Gugg is completing an eight-year dream that has changed his life!

Stable weather and favorable following winds are now driving him home, with an ETA across the line set for Thursday night, 11th May. He will take third place in a challenge that saw 16 competent sailors in 16 well-prepared yachts set out on a grand adventure into the unknown, with only three finishing!

Now an accomplished sailor, this was not the case when Capt GUGG decided to enter the GGR. In 2015, he was one of the first to enter the 2018 GGR. He learned to sail only a few years before. He bought an Endurance 35 and started work preparing himself for the challenge. Life then got in the way! His personal situation changed, and he decided he was not ready. He pulled out a year before the start but insisted he would be back for the 2022 edition.

With more time to think hard about planning and preparation, he sold that yacht and bought a Biscay 36 from a 2018 GGR entrant. Over two years, he completely rebuilt it. He qualified himself as a yacht master sailing instructor and built his ocean miles. By the time the start of the GGR 2022 came around, he and his boat were surely ready. Desperately short of money but going anyway, he secured a sponsor in NURI sardines just months before the start. Life was good, but was it?

Capt Gugg's efforts to make the start is quite a back story. It proves that following dreams can achieve big things. But completing the adventure has been far from easy for him, even if his weekly safety calls and tweets appear all OK. His meticulous preparation shows in a boat that has had very few breakdowns, and while he has ridden a few solid storms, none were considered extreme. Some of his biggest storms and challenges were instead the mind game of his huge GGR challenge. He more than any other entrant has been riding hidden storms in an emotional and psychological roller coaster of highs and lows hidden below the surface. This as yet untold story is the brutal reality of a quest that most would never fully understand.

Michael's challenges have been more than just sailing around the world. He has logged it all on camera. He is producing a documentary that is sure to surprise many. For now, he is focused on getting the job done and getting off the boat. You can fly to Mars quicker than completing the GGR, and Michael will tell you all about it very soon!

Chichester Class

Meanwhile, 1,000 miles behind GUGG, Jeremy Bagshaw (SA) sailing OLLEANNA, his OE32 in Chichester class, has been enjoying mild sailing conditions for the last few weeks and making steady progress north. Forced to stop in Hobart to remove barnacles, he is no longer in the running for the GGR goal of a solo non-stop unassisted circumnavigation but will be happy to complete his one-stop solo voyage in a few weeks.

GGR Public Prize-giving

All 16 GGR entrants who set out will assemble once again in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, on the weekend of 24th-25th June for the official GGR 2022 Prize-giving. Quite a few of the GGR boats will also be on the Vendée marina. A marine festival weekend of activities is planned. The GGR 2022 Prize-giving and public concerts on Saturday night on the foreshore of the city, overlooking the ocean and Les Sables d'Olonne, are expected to draw thousands of followers. We look forward to welcoming you all to this grand finale of the Golden Globe Race.

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