Updated News on Tuesday June 20, 2023

Poster for June 24 2023 Les Sables d'Olonne prizegiving for Golden Globe with writing and picture of Kirsten Neuschafer
Les Sables d’Olonne Celebration June 24 Credit: Ville des Sables d’Olonne

All Are Safely Back!

It’s been a tough race with only 3 of the original 16 sailors who set out so hopefully from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sep 4, 2022 officially arriving at the end of the race.

Kirsten Neuschäfer made history and achieved one of the greatest rewards in ocean racing. She arrived on Apr 27 at 19.43, winning the Golden Globe race after 235 days, 5 hours, 44 minutes and 4 seconds (235 days).

Kirsten Newschafter on her boat at night as she arrives with skipper standing at end of boat smiling
Kirsten Neuschäfer finishes © Ville Les Sables d’Olonne

Abhilash Tomy was second, arriving on Apr 30 at 06:46hr  (day 236)

Abhilash Tomy arrives

Michael Guggenberg was third, arriving on May 12 at 07.45 (day 249)

Michael Guggenberger arrives endof Golden Globe race 2022 with him standing on deck, uellow boat and sails flapping with background of Les Sables d'Olonne
Michael Guggenberger arrives © GGR2022 /JJ & DD

Chichester Class

This is the class for those who are eliminated from the main race having stopped and put into a harbour to repair their boat but then continuing. And the interesting fact here is that Simon Curwen, having suffered wind vane problems and restarting the race, actually finished first, ahead of everyone. He arrived at Les Sables d’Olonne on Apr 27 after  234 days and 22 hours of racing. 

Simon Curwen back at Les Sables d'Olonne on his boat waving flares as someone who got on the boat after the finish line to help him in, steers.
Simon Curwen back at Les Sables d’Olonne

Second was Jeremy Bagshaw who had suffered hugely from barnacles and had a terrible time at the end, becalmed for 6 hours within sight of Les Sables d’Olonne. He had no food or water. He arrived on Jun 9 at 17.00  after 277 days.

Golden Globe Race 2022 Guy Waites boat lifted out of water on huge cradle to show barnacles attached on bottom
Guy Waites’ Barnacles Revealed © Karen Smit

And Special Congratulations to…

Finally, Guy Waites arrived on Jun 19 after 287 days, again after big barnacle problems. He is not officially in either class, but he decided to stick to the plan and sail on regardless. 


Edward Walentynowicz, (Canada), Rustler 36, Noah’s Jest

Guy deBoer, (USA), Tashiba 36, Spirit

Mark Sinclair (Australia), Lello 34, Coconut

Pat Lawless, (Ireland), Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel

Damien Guillou, (France), Rustler 36, PRB

Ertan Beskardes, (UK), Rustler 36, Lazy Otter

Tapio Lehtinen, (Finland), Gaia 36, Asteria

Arnaud Gaist, (France), Barbican 33 Mk 2, Hermes Phoning

Elliot Smith,  (USA), Gale Force 34, Second Wind

Guy Waites (UK), Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha

Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Tradewind 35, Puffin

Official Prize Giving

June 24, 2023: The official end to the race at Les Sables d’Olonne on June 24 will be an emotional, uplifting event. The skippers will be presented with their trophies in the presence of the Mayor Yannick Moreau, GGR founder Don McIntyre, GGR patron Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and 2018 Winner Jean-Luc Van Den Heede. It will be especially sweet for  South Africa’s Kirsten Neuschäfer as she receives both the GGR trophy and the Kay Cottee trophy.

The prize giving starts a weekend which continues with a concert at 19.45 for 2 hours and DJ set from 22.30 which will have everyone bopping away into the early hours. 

June 25, 2023 sees a whole host of things to enjoy: introduction to water sports like catamaran, kayak stand up paddle and more. 

It was a grand venture. Don McIntyre: 

Once again, the GGR has been a display of the human spirit under great pressure. It has captivated followers around the world. It is not about money, technology, speed or even athletes. It is about who we are as humans and why we exist. Each of the entrants are there to prove something to themselves. It is personal and it is hard. It is not for everyone, but all of us watching and living this day by day come away stronger for being part of it. We owe all of them, the sailors, a debt of gratitude for sharing their story…Thanks to them and you for following!!!

Updated News on Friday April 28, 2023

Kirsten Neuschäfer on boat at night as she arrives at Les Sables d'Olonne golden Globe race 2022 holding flare in air, images all red and orange and gold
Kirsten Neuschäfer wins the golden Globe Race 2022

Kirsten Neuschäfer makes history!

On Thursday April 27, 2023, at 9.43pm, Kirsten Neuschäfer made history and achieved one of the greatest rewards in ocean racing. She won the Golden Globe race after 235 days, 5 hours, 44 minutes and 4 seconds racing from Les Sables d’Olonne back to Les Sables. The first woman to win a solo round-the-world race under sail under the rules of 1968. 

Kirsten Newschafter on her boat at night as she arrives with skipper standing at end of boat smiling
Kirsten Neuschäfer finishes © Ville Les Sables d’Olonne

The 40-year old South African not only won, but helped rescue Finnish sailor Tapio Lehtinen after he had to abandon his sinking yacht in the Indian Ocean. It was a remarkable feat. As she said : “There is something extraordinary in the air”

At her news conference she spoke briefly about her boat Minnehaha:

My boat was my companion. I talked to her a lot. I even got angry with her, but I love her very much. It’s a fast, elegant boat, on which I worked a lot for a year. I had the will to win as soon as I registered for the race and I did all my preparations accordingly. I wanted to win, not as a woman. I didn’t want to be in a separate category but to compete on equal terms with all the skippers. I didn’t think about the long term future but more about what I wanted to do in the near future. I want to go on long hikes in the wilderness with my dog for a few months.

Abhilash Tomy is going to be second but is having problems with very little wind. Frustrating for him and everyone waiting to see his glorious return to Les Sables d’Olonne.

Abhilash Tomy sitting on back of boat in semi darkness looking glum
Abhilash Tomy @Abhilash Tomy / GGR2022

Updated News on Thursday April 27, 2023

Simon Curwen back at Les Sables d'Olonne on his boat waving flares as someone who got on the boat after the finish line to help him in, steers.
Simon Curwen back at Les Sables d’Olonne

Simon Curwen Is First Over the Line

This afternoon Simon Curwen arrived back at Les Sables d’Olonne after 234 days and 22 hours of racing. He was the first over the line but because he had to stop was no longer in the main race but in the Chichester Class. He had no idea he was first and was typically modest.

Kirsten Neuchäfer is on her way to Les Sables d’Olonne and is expected to arrive, the official winner of the race sometime very soon. Behind her, coming in tomorrow will be Abhilash Tomy.

Michael Guggenberger will arrive sometime early May. The only other sailor officially racing (in Chichester Class) is Jeremy Bagshaw.

It’s been a fabulous race, full of drama, tragedy, highs and lows.

Updated News on Wednesday April 26, 2023

Who will win the Golden Globe Race?

Image on Golden Globe race site showing faces of people in front and predictions of finish
Golden Globe Race Predictions Credit GGR2022

Just a day or two to go before the first arrivals return to Les Sables d’Olonne this week! There are a couple of hazards that might be decisive: uncertain winds and increased fishing vessels as they approach the French coast.

double photo of kirsten neuschafer and abhilash tomy just f afew miles from the finish on official golden globe race site
Abhilash Tomy and Kirsten Neuschäfer are now separated by only a few miles.  @GGR2022

But the finish looks like: Apr 28 for Kirsten Neuchäfer and Apr 29 Abhilash Tomy. And they are just a few miles apart.

Simon Curwen sailing showing boat from behind with curwen standing on right side hauling on rope to sails full of wind
Simon Curwen Credit: Chalky White Photographer

However it seems that Simon Curwen, now in Chichester Class, will be the first, demonstrating what a superb, first-class sailor he is. He led most of the way until an unfortunate wind vane break took him out of the race for 4 days, but sailed back to be ahead.

Third Place Well Deserved!

Coming in a very honourable third is the Austrian Michael Guggenberger who sailed a magnificent race. He stayed safe and is the last of the 16 skippers who started off so hopefully and bravely from Les Sables d’Olonne on September 4, 2022 on this truly Heroic Adventure.

Michael Guggenberger Credit: Nora Havel / GGR2022

Check on the official Golden Globe race site, updated daily and soon hourly.

But let’s wait and see. A lot can happen in the next couple of days!

Updated News on Wednesday April 12, 2023

He’s Safe!

At 5.40pm yesterday, Tuesday April 11, Ian Herbert Jones spotted the Taiwanese Fishing Vessel ZI DA WANG approaching him from the North. Thirty five minutes later the fishing boat positioned herself to the west of Puffin to windward so the wind would be cut and the sea flattened enough for Ian to come up close. He was then transferred to the rescue ship and is bound for Cape Town. He’s bruised, scraped, suffering from his back injury, but he is safe.

Sadly the sturdy little Puffin had to be scuttled as the boat was a safety hazard.

Ian Herbert Jones in GGR 2022 showing side view of race with three team members
Ian Herbert Jones in the GGR 2022. © Paco Hispán Miranda

Updated News on Tuesday April 11, 2023

High Drama and Worrying News

Ian Herbert Jones in the Golden Globe race struggling showing dark cabin with man looking very worried working from torch on his forehead
Ian Herbert Jones in trouble @Ian Herbert Jones / GGR2022

Around 9pm on Monday April 10, the Facebook page for Ian Herbert Jones’ Golden Globe Race entry posted: “UPDATE – Ian has made contact with GGR – Puffin rolled, she is dismasted, he has injured his back and it’s hard to move, there’s 2ft of water in the cabin, the situation is worsening and he needs a weather break to cut the rig free………we are waiting further updates via GGR from MRCC who are coordinating the rescue – we’re all with you Ian”.

A ‘Code Red’ update like this is always extremely worrying. The winds were over 50 knots, with gusts of over 90 knots and the seas very heavy. There was predicted to be  no respite from the bad weather for at least 5 hours.

For a time there was no response. Then Ian sent a message:  ALL RECD THKU! OK HERE TOUGH NIGHT TRYING2STAYWARM, the a second one: 0852 : GRTNEWS REF FISHIMGBOAT WAITING4 FIRSTLIGHT 2CLEAR RIG.

Today, Day 219 of the race, the rescue operation is well under way.

Ian is trying to cut the mast free but conditions are pretty dire and he’s taking pain killers for his injured back. The water has stopped coming into the cabin. 

In the meantime SAR Puerto Belgrano Argentina and MRCC Taiwan are coordinating the routing of three Taiwanese fishing vessels to reach the sailor.

Ian Herbert-Jones in his cabin showing shocked looking man with heavy wet weather gear and open cabin door behind him
Ian Herbert Jones

Don McIntyre commented with great relief:

We’re all hands on deck obviously thinking of IAN and grateful for the international efforts to assist him. Fortunately the situation has improved dramatically for several reasons: first Ian is able and active in his rescue, secondly, the weather conditions at PUFFIN have improved a lot facilitating the possibility of a transfer operation, which will still be challenging and the final decision is with the master of the fishing vessels.

The Sailors Left in the Race

The two battling it out at the front are Kirsten Neuchäfer (ZAF) and Abhilash Tomy (IND). They are followed by Michael Guggenberger (AUT) all of whom safely rounded Cape Horn. Behind them Jeremy Bagshaw (ZAF) in Chichester Class is sailing well though he is in the doldrums.

A Surprise – Simon Curwen might still arrive first

What is extraordinary is that the leader is still Simon Curwen (GBR). Although he is out of the main race and in the Chichester Class, this extremely talented sailor got his boat repaired, started sailing again and is now leading the pack. It will be a real feat if he manages to arrive first back at les Sables d’Olonne.

Guy Waites in Golden Globe race 2022 in ywllow oilskins and black hat on boat with one sail up and another furled
Guy Waites © Nora Havel/GGR2022

Finally, the intrepid Guy Waites (GBR) rounded Cape Horn on April 3. Like all the entrants he received a letter from the International Cape Horners Association to congratulate him on his rounding

“The International Association of Cape Horners, the President Robin Knox-Johnston, the Vice President Jean-Luc Van Den Heede congratulate you on rounding the Horn on Sagarmatha. A great achievement even though you are no longer part of the GGR Race. We wish you well on the home run to Les Sables d’Olonne.

Updated News on Friday February 10, 2023

They Battle On

Kirsten Neuschafer in heavy weather gear on boat in rough seas
Kirsten Neuschäfer Credit: Kirsten Neuschäfer / GGR2022

Simon Curwen (UK) has had to admit defeat. After sailing so spectacularly he has had to drop out of the main race due to a broken windvane. He is now in Chile doing all the necessary repairs. He will continue but in the Chichester Class.

Simon Curwen on boat bad weather and one sail
Simon Curwen arriving in Chile

Meanwhile the four sailors left have faced some pretty difficult conditions, particularly Kirsten Neuchäfer (ZAF) and Abhilash Tomy (IND) who weathered heavy storms. They have 800 and 1000 miles to go to Cape Horn and 7 days before they meet the next low pressure system.

Behind them Michael Guggenberger (AUT) is sailing well followed by Ian Herbert Jones (UK) who is having problems with unstable winds and seas. 

In the Chichester class and still contending are Jeremy Bagshaw (RSA) who is just ahead of Ian Herbert-Jones.

Guy Waites is near Hobart and about to arrive.

Updated News on Saturday Jan 29, 2023

Disaster for the Leader!

Simon Curwen in calm weather in golden globe race 2022 with red boat and sails with howdens, sponsors
Simon Curwen Photo: Bernard Gergaud

Simon Curwen (UK) was doing everything right. But yesterday disaster struck the leader. 1,200 miles northwest of Cape Horn, he had weathered the worst of a deep depression in 40 knots and a 6-metre sea. Then the boat came off a wave and the boat sheared a shaft on the topside of the vane body which connects the wind sensor. He thinks this is irreplaceable and he had no spare on board as he was keeping the weight down. He cannot replace the broken part. 

He sails on – under a storm jib and lashed tiller. But what to do? The weather is fair and he can continue to Cape Horn. If he needs replacement parts he will have to downgrade to Chichester Class. It’s a long way to Les Sables d’Olonne! 
He is being pursued by Abhilash Tomy ( IND)and Kirsten Neuschäfer (RSA), currently 50 miles apart, 1200 miles west of Simon.

More Troubles for the Remaining Sailors

It’s Either Water…

…Water is a real problem. Every boat carries an emergency manual desalinator but if the sailor uses that there’s a penalty. There’s been little rain so no chance of replenishing and now the sailors face difficult conditions.

Michael Guggenberger (AUT) already has a water shortage ( and relies on lemon soda).

Jeremy Bagshaw (RSA) lost half his reserves in the Atlantic.

Abhilash Tomy (IND) has rationed himself to 1 litre a day for weeks and is cooking his food in salt water. But he’s not lost his sense of humour:
In the last weather front, it was drizzling and I only got two cups of water which is always welcome, but not enough. The crew is upset and demands at least one serving of rice cooked in fresh water a month which I’m not sure to provide. I am a bit worried about onboard mutiny, but I crossed Bounty Island and am less concerned now.”

Ian Herbert Jones (UK) is down to 2 litres a day. He’s using his jerry cans as he found some ‘organic matter’ in his tank. So he is cutting down his daily coffees.
It hasn’t killed me yet but it’s time I stop drinking that stuff anyway.” 

It’s Barnacles!

Ian Herbert Jones and his barnacles Credit: GGR2022/ DD&JJ

Ian Herbert-Jones’  Puffin is covered in barnacles, particularly the propeller.
My prop which had no treatment at all now has enormous growth! The whole space between the keel and the rudder is now filled with barnacles. So I’m dragging a basketball where my propeller should be, which is a shame because the rest of the hull is fine. I’m trying not to let it mess with my head, but the moment you see the barnacles you can’t get them out of your mind!

So what next???

Updated News on Wednesday Jan 11, 2023

The 8 remaining contenders fight it out after 129 days at sea!

Simon Curwen on his boat sponsored by Howdens holding main sail with union jack on it
Simon Curwen © Josh Marr/GGR2022

Simon Curwen (UK) continues to hold the lead. He’s done so from the start and now has a 900 mile lead despite being caught up earlier in a calm high pressure zone as he approached Tasmania. He is now over half way around the world race. Kirsten Neuchäfer (RSA) and Abhilash Tomy (IND) were catching up…until they also hit a wind hole. 

None of the three have major problems with their boats, though the two chasing Simon Curwen are finding it difficult with the lack of wind.

Michael Guggenberger (AUT) is through the Hobart gate, having been becalmed within 2 days of reaching Tasmania. He stayed 2 days to “tidy the boat, sleep, check systems and stitch a second set of reef points in his Mizzen sail”.

Water Problems

GGR 2022 Chart showing rougte around world and
Golden Globe Race 2022 Chart

Abilash and Michael are suffering from lack of water.  Abilash has restricted himself to 1 litre a day while Michael has a pretty relaxed approach. He’s got a stash of red wine (no clues as to what it is!) and 30 litres of lemon soda.

The most worrying sailor with a water problem is Jeremy Bagshaw (RSA) who lost half his freshwater in the Atlantic through a faulty tank.  He has just 45 litres left which isn’t enough to get him to Cape Horn. He doesn’t know if he can continue in the Pacific without taking on water supplies. And if he does that he’ll be relegated to Chichester Class. Currently he is 5th so that would be a cruel outcome.

Catching rainwater is not easy. Apart from catching it in containers, during a rain storm, the sailor has to allow a certain time for the rain to wash the sails of sea water then collect it. Jeremy was hoping to do this but caught no rain.

Still fighting

Ian Herbert-Jones (UK) is 6th but hasn’t yet got half way. However he is sailing strongly and is expected at the crucial Hobart stop around Jan 18 (the cut off date is Jan 31). He’s powering along at 130 miles daily and has reduced the gap withJeremy Bagshaw by half. 

Elliott Smith (USA) has also been sailing fast, over 100 miles a day despite problems with the boat which means he has been nursing Gale Force 34 along. However he is making for Freemantle for repairs which means that he will miss the Hobart deadline. 

Guy Waites (UK) has had the best week since the start of the race, finally enjoying the fast speeds. He reached 185 nautical miles a day. But he won’t get to Hobart before the cut off date and will be retired from the race.

Here’s my main article on the Golden Globe Race – A Heroic Adventure

Follow tweets, comments and new on the day by day updates from the GGR

Follow the Live Tracker

Day 90 and Another Sailor Drops Out

Puffin, Ian Herbert Jones' boat in the Golden Glove 2022. Orange and white boat sailing away from photographer
Ian Herbert-Jones © GGR 2022

Arnaud Gaist (FR) has been plagued with problems. If you look at the live tracker you’ll see he has been doing an eccentric navigational route, going round in circles at one stage. It’s all down to rigging issues. He’s also had barnacle problems. Unable to sail east,  Arnaud would not make the next crucial gate at Hobart in time. So he’s now heading north.

At the front Simon Curwen (UK) is 700 nautical miles ahead of the pack. Kirsten Neuschäfer (RSA), Abhilash Tomy (IND) and Michael Guggenberger (AUT) are behind him. All our racking up miles. Simon is expected in Hobart just before Christmas and Kirsten just before New Year’s Day. 

Behind them comes Jeremy Bagshaw (RSA) who is making good progress. Ian Herbert-Jones (UK) is sailing faster than Elliot Smith (USA). Both are heading for fairly deep low pressure and have been sent heavy weather warnings. 

Guy Waites is at the back and missed Cape Town but is on his way to Hobart hoping to arrive in time to continue the race. 

8 Sailors left and a long way to go!

Updated News on Saturday November 19, 2022


Tapio Lehtinen trying on his survival suit before setting off on the GGR 2022 race
Every GGR2022 Entrant has tried to put on their survival suit including Tapio Lehtinen (FIN). Picture Credit: Nora Havel / GGR 2022

The latest news is that Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) has dropped out of the race. He reported his boat sinking in the Southern Indian Ocean early Friday morning. He managed to put on his lifejacket, take his grab bag (which has his Liferaft Personal Locator Beacon) and launch his lifeboat. He reported his position at 0854 to Don McIntyre who instantly started the rescue mission and located the nearest sailors. Kirsten Neuschäfer (RSA) heard the news, broke the seal of the emergency GPS and diverted her course towards Tapio’s position. She was the first to reach his position. 

But this was not an easy job. Tapio spotted Kirsten’s yacht but she couldn’t see him in the swell. She could hear him on the VHF but Tapio couldn’t hear her. It was all up to the GGR Crisis Management Team who guided her close enough for her to spot Tapio. 

Tapio Lehtinen on boat racing sideways with colourful spinnaker up
Tapio Lehtinen © Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

At 8.05 she called the team to tell them that she had Tapio on her boat Minnehaha. They had a good glass of rum; Tapio got back into his raft and was pulled by Kirsten towards the nearby Bulk Carrier M.V. Darya Gayatri. Up the rescue ladder and it’s on to Rizhao, China for the experienced and tough Finnish sailor. 

Tapio had been sending odd texts; it turns out that he had lost his glasses and finds life very difficult without them! Perhaps he’ll include a spare pair in his grab bag in the next race he undertakes. 

He was upbeat about his 24 hours in a life raft in the Southern Indian Ocean – not an experience many would savour. “You can’t get any closer to the ocean, I love it but this is close enough. Thanks for looking after of me.

Abhilash Tomy (IND) had also received the message and diverted his course. When the rescue happened he was allowed back to race. 

And Kirsten? She’s back in the race with a time advantage added because of her lost racing hours.

I’m full of adrenaline now, I’ve been up helming all night, and it’s quite something to be manoeuvring so close to a ship, but we’re all good. He was on board, we drank a rum together and then we sent him on his merry way. (…) No congratulations needed for the rescue, everyone would do the same for another sailor, thank you guys for coordinating it.

Updated News on Monday November 14, 2022

The Leaders

Damien Guillou on his boat showing him on deck close up with all his sponsors on flag
Damien Guillou © GGR2022

Simon Curwen (UK) is racing away and is 450 miles in front of his pursuers. Behind him come Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) going fast and clocking up the miles followed by Kristen Neuschäfer (RSA) and Abhilash Tomy (IND). 

Michael Guggenberg (AUT) reached Cape Town and is now chasing the wind after being so close to land.

Bad News

Very unfortunately Damien Guillou (FRA) who was doing so well after having to return to the start then setting off again, has had to retire. More wind vane problems. “Psychologically it’s too hard, I can’t get back out without racing in the rankings.” It goes to show how incredibly tough both physically and mentally this race is for the competitors.

The major problems so far have involved windvanes and barnacles. Five of the original sailors are now out of the race: Edward Walentynowicz (CAN); Guy de Boeur (USA); Mark Sinclair (AUS); Pat Lawless (IRE) and now Damien Guillou. It’s a brutal race!

Updated News on Thursday November 10, 2022

Cape Town!

Simon Curwen shot looking at back of his boat as he sails into Cape Town with Table mountain behind om Golden Globe 2022
Simon Curwen arrives in Cape Town © Aïda Valceanu / GGR2022

First into Cape Town to drop off photos and messages and have a quick interview was Simon Curwen (UK) on Clara/Howdens. He crossed it on Sunday Nov 6 at around 1.30pm and was happy to be in contact with  humans again. He could not communicate with his fellow sailors perhaps because of a faulty SSB radio installation. A quick 20 minutes talking to Don McIntyre and the GGR team and a 3-hour session up the mast to sort his halyard issue and he was off. Unlike many of the others, happily barnacle free as the boat was heavily sprayed with Nautix A9000 self-polishing antifouling with copolymer. 

Second in was Kirsten Neuschäfer (RSA) just 5 miles and 90 minutes ahead of Tapio Lehtinen (FIN). Luckily Tapio has mainly avoided those damned barnacles – just 60 of them. 2000 barnacles cost him 100 extra days in his 2018 GGR and earned him the nickname of Captain Barnacle. 

Tapio couldn’t wait to get out there again: “It’s funny how I hadn’t sailed the boat for 3 years after the last race. After the start, I gradually got accustomed to her again and it was like continuing the previous race. I love being at sea and sailing her. (…) I know this gate is part of the race, but the proximity of land stresses me, I am a lot happier a hundred miles out.

Simon is now 350 nautical miles ahead of both Tapio and Kirsten and is on a SW course with a strong easterly wind.

Heading for Cape Town

5th place is in contention between Abhilash Tomy (IND) and Damien Guillou (FRA) who sorted his barnacles and windvane issues. Both are expected in Cape Town today. Michael Guggenberger (AUT) also got rid of the dreaded barnacles and is expected in Cape Town this Saturday.

Sad News

Pat Lawless in Green Rebel sets off withhim waving at the crowds and Irish flag flying
Pat Lawless © GGR2022/Nora Havel

Pat Lawless (IRE) arrived 4th and has decided not to continue due to a windvane failure. The part he needs cost a mere $20. It is really sad news for one of the great characters and heroes of the race. As he said: I realised I wouldn’t be competitive without the self-steering; I could sail but I wouldn’t be competitive. And then in a storm I would end up broaching so it took a day or two to accept that I was out of the race. If this had happened in Hobart, I would have continued, but not here.

And at the back – worrying times

An extended high-pressure area is blocking the contestants at the back. Elliott Smith (USA) is posting good daily distances but lost his only spinnaker this week: “learned a new trick last night.. how to make your only spinnaker become two sea anchors!

Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Arnaud Gaist (FRA) and Guy Waites (UK, who decided not to stop in Brazil for repairs but to continue on) are in unstable winds. They are in danger of not making the Hobart Gate closure on Jan 31, 2023 which would mean they are out of the main race.

Updated News on Monday October 31, 2022

Who is leading?

Simon Curwen (UK) is still at the front, but he will be challenged on the run to Cape Town by Kirsten Neuschäfer (SA). She has taken a southerly route which is faster and Don McIntyre was confident this Monday that she will be the first to arrive in Cape Town in about 5 days time.

Who has problems?

Damien Guillou's boat showing damaged rudder at back
Damien Guillou’s damaged boat © Nora Havel/GGR2022

Damien Guillou (FR) who has been racing so well after his difficult start in September is having to cope with his rudder shaft which broke. He fitted a spare shaft and blade that he had modified by drilling out the original 6mm hole to 7mm, threading it and fitting two machine screws from each side to hold the blade in place. 

Guy Waites in Golden Globe race 2022 in ywllow oilskins and black hat on boat with one sail up and another furled
Guy Waites © Nora Havel/GGR2022

Guy Waites (UK) is in real difficulties with barnacles on the hull of his boat Sugarmatha. He discovered the 2 inch long gooseneck barnacles all over the hull and stern a few weeks ago; tried to clean them but now believes that the boat has to be lifted out of the water. 

He said: “I have been under the boat and the stern is completely covered, I can’t even see the antifoul and I couldn’t even get them off with a tool I have. So I have turned the boat around and I am heading for Punta del Este. I can’t contemplate continuing  to Cape Town; it is too far away and I am crawling along, barely moving.”

If I continue like this to Cape Town I will be so late that I won’t be able to get to the Southern Ocean in time. I may as well go off somewhere nearer, get rid of the bloody things and then I can make a decision,” he added. 

He isn’t the only one.  Ertan Beskardes (UK) , Pat Lawless (IRE), Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) and Damien Guillou (FRA) have had to dive below to clean up.  Jeremy Bagshaw (SA) still has to stop and clean his boat. 

Updated News on Sunday October 23, 2022

Who is leading?

Simon Curwen (UK) has been leading from the start and still is with Tapio Lehtinen (FIN), who took a more easterly route, second. Frenchman Damien Guillou who is sailing a cracking good race is in 5th position by following the Finn’s route. 

Tapio Lehtinen on boat racing sideways with colourful spinnaker up
Tapio Lehtinen © Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

And the weather?

Everything is so dependent on what the weather is like that it’s impossible to predict the next leader from the front group. As Don McIntyre points out: “The tracker is calculating the distance to the next waypoint to the east in South Africa, but for now you need to go south for a commanding position. The leaderboard does not take the meteorological reality into account. In the next four days the reality will start to show and the leaderboard will change.

None of the sailors can print a decent Weatherfax chart. Instead they rely on their on-board tools and observations, particularly seeing how the barometric pressure rises and the wind direction and strength is easing to position the South Atlantic High.

Who has problems?

Who doesn’t have problems might be a better question.

Simon Curwen broke his genoa halyard early in the Southern Ocean. He decided to shelter off the coast on Trindade Island, went up the mast to do the repair, hurt himself in the process and failed to complete the repair. So he is sailing with his removable forestay to Cape Town to shelter there and repair before the next big push into the Indian ocean.

I got a bit bashed, there’s not enough shelter behind this small island! I was hove-to and got up the mast for a couple of hours. On the way down my bosun’s chair started falling apart, I had to cut myself free and free-climb my way down the rest of it.

Abhilash Tomy (IND)had a gas leak which is now repaired. 

A solent halyard snapped on Irish sailor Pat Lawless’s boat on Friday night in 40 knot squalls. He switched sails, waiting to repair his halyard in better conditions. 

Ertan Beskardes (UK) still can’t store power in his batteries but is now sailing in fresh winds. 

Ian Herbert-Jones (UK) has now repaired his mainsail battens

Elliott Smith (USA) has no main compass and is suffering major leaks from starboard on this long, windy port tack to Trindade. But he’s doing well with good daily averages of 140 miles. 

Guy Waites (UK) and Jeremy Bagshaw (RSA) are still in rough conditions, with 20 knots gusting to 40 and 4 to 5-metre waves in confused seas. Everything is working but as both feel that their boats are sluggish then suspect barnacles.

Guy tweeted: “Good look underneath in a brief calm, Sagarmatha is covered in a field of goose barnacles.”

A Happy Sailor

Further west Michael Guggenberger (AUT) is having a great time. “What I found out spending time with Nuri, is how little sail can you fly and get the best speed out of it. I am sailing the boat very differently compared to 10 days ago. I put as little sail as possible to stay very upright and get very good speed out of it, it’s surprising how good this works.

Follow tweets, comments and new on the day by day updates from the GGR

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Updated News on Monday Oct 17, 2022

Simon Curwen still ahead of the pack

Simon Curwen on his boat sponsored by Howdens holding main sail with union jack on it
Simon Curwen © Josh Marr/GGR2022

Simon Curwen has been leading the Golden Globe Race from the beginning. But he is being pursued by a small but determined pack. The fastest sailor last week was Abhilah Tomy who’s been racing along, gaining 210 miles over Simon. 

These two, plus Tapio Lehtinen, Pat Lawless and Kirsten Neuschäfer (who is taking the coastal route), are heading for Trinadade and then on to Cape Town for the second drop of letters, interviews with Don McIntyre and the chance for a quick chat as they pass through. 

It’s not been easy with some of them sailing upwind in difficult seas and low 30°  temperatures after crossing the equator.

But it’s been helpful for Damien Guillou who is catching up. But he wasn’t happy with the southern hemisphere conditions as he said in his weekly message:

The Southern Trade Winds have not kept their promise: I’m upwind in very unpleasant, confused and crossed seas, so I’m trying not to get too close-hauled to keep the boat going through the waves. I can’t open the hatches because of the waves, so the heat is unbearable inside. I’m looking forward to downwind sailing, but I would settle for a beam reach!

Which Route to Take?

Golden Globe Yacht race map Oct 20 weather
GGR Map © GGR2022

Now the sailors are having to think again about routes.

As Don McIntyre, Founder and President of the Golden Globe Race writes:

It’s decision time next week for the leaders, they all know the best way is to get around the South Atlantic High, it’s what we did in the BOC Challenge and what other Round The World Races are doing, but where is it? Conditions are very unstable and the high is not very strong. The speed of the GGR yachts cannot compensate fast changing systems, there will be a lot of surprises and opportunities between Trindade and Cape Town.

Towards Cape Town

The Cape Town rendezvous is not looking easy with strong easterly winds blocking progress on the 2,600-mile crossing to South Africa. And an uncertain weather system ahead. 

So will they go south of the South Atlantic high, going downwind towards the Cape of Good Hope and into the Indian Ocean?

Or will some try to get to the bottom of the high pressure, ensuring downwind conditions and push on south to the roaring 40’s? This tactic adds another 1,200 nautical miles or an extra ten days.

They’ll have to judge when to turn east and it will depend on the weather. Sailors are relying on weather fax maps (if they can get one off the coast of Brazil), barometric pressure and wind direction.

Problems for Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith at the start of the Golden Globe Yacht race with main sail and photographed from behind whizzing along with wake
Elliott Smith at the start ©Nora Havel/GGR2022

American Elliott Smith has some real problems. His main compass is not functioning correctly and he found his two spare compasses broken during transportation in their packaging. So he’s relying on a handheld compass for the rest of the race – another seven months.

News on Sunday October 9, 2022.

Over the Equator…or in the doldrums!

Here are the updates which come from Don McIntyre, race organiser and his team, and from the sailors themselves. The sailors do daily tweets. In addition the 2022 race specifies a scheduled weekly satellite safety call to Don McIntyre. It helps the GGR team keep track and it helps the sailors who often just call to chat, talk of their problems and break the loneliness. Don McIntyre: 

The GGR skippers are having slightly more contact with the outside world than their 1968 counterparts. Part of this is safety, like the compulsory daily tweet to race management, but also to help share their experience at sea with the public and GGR followers, like the newly introduced weekly media calls where a news organisation can call them for an exclusive interview.

Leader of the Pack

As of today, Sunday October 9, 2022, Simon Curwen is leading the 13 sailors. He was the first to cross the Equator. In his daily communication he tweeted:  “We’re going to eat together and I’m going to open a bottle of champagne. We have to celebrate this. It is a British tradition. You have to offer something to Neptune, the god of the seas…

Simon Curwen has been leading since the off. He’s now going at 5 knots on a direct route towards Trinidade island which is the next place the sailors have to round. He should be there in 10 days time. He’s in good shape in every way:

I’m quite happy to be alone with myself. I have music and books to read. Friends gave me tapes and I took things I listened to when I was 20. Like Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. It’s good to listen to this music again. So far, it’s going well. I’m not bored at all. There’s always work to be done. I spend two hours a day on the charts and the sextant, to do the calculations. I also have to look after the sails before heading south. And sometimes you spend an enormous amount of time just looking at things.

And the other sailors?

It’s mixed news. It’s been a tough time in the doldrums, particularly with the leaders of the race now in the fast trade winds. 

Guy Waites has had a good week of sailing but now has swelling legs and ankles because of the humidity and lack of walking exercise. Michal Guggenberger also has swollen feet, hands and knees, again through humidity and the hard work it takes to keep the boat sailing fast. As he tweeted: “I’m dancing a lot on board to keep fit and cure my ailments!

The redoubtable Pat Lawless was thrown across the cockpit and thinks he might have broken a rib. “I had an accident, the mainsheet caught me in the shoulder and threw me inside the cockpit, it was four days ago and I have had a sore rib since. The shoulder must have a torn ligament, but it’s slowly improving.


And Jeremy Bagshaw has just hit one of the problems sailors dread. His boat seemed sluggish so  during a calm he dived under the hull to check the coppercoat antifouling and discovered that 70% of the hull was covered in gooseneck barnacles though he coped with it…this time.

I checked the hull in Spain arriving from South Africa, and again in Les Sables d’Olonne before the start, and all was fine. Two days after the Lanzarote film drop I dove in again and had seen nothing. Yesterday, just two weeks later I was shocked to discover 2 cm long barnacles colonising the hull. Fortunately I’ve been able to get rid of them all.

Tapio Lentinen in 2018 Golden Globe race looking at barnacles on his boat
Golden Globe Race 2018 Tapio Lehtinen looking at the barnacles ©GGR2018

Track back to the 2018 race when Tapio Lehtinen found his boat Asterial covered with barnacles. He was in the Indian Ocean so didn’t dive for feat of sharks. He wasn’t allowed to scrape his hull in Australian territorial waters where they have a strict policy on pollution. His epic race took him 322 days! He was the last to finish and was given the nickname (affectionally) of ‘Captain Barnacles’.

Who is catching up fast?

French favourite Damien Guillou left Les Sables d’Olonne with a 6-day delay after repairing and reinforcing his windvane.  He’s now 6th having come fast from the very back. But the doldrums are hard; will he be able to catch up and even win?

Damien Guillou in the 2022 Golden Globe race from front with sail up and him in background
Damien Guillou © Nora Havel/GGR2022

Read more about the current race, its history, the route, the sailors, their boats and a whole lot more. It will make sense of the Golden Globe news and updates that follows here.

Update on Saturday September 24, 2022.

Another sailor is out of the race!

The first time we saw the sailors after their start on Sept 4 was in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands when the first film drop began. Rules state that “Each sailor must approach the Lanzarote film drop buoy 300 metres south of Rubicon Marina with a reefed mainsail. When abeam they drop all headsails and sail slowly for 20 minutes passing over films and letters before hoisting full sail to continue the race.”

Latest News

The irrepressible Australian, Mark Sinclair, has cited family reasons for his retirement. He had started slowly due to strong south westerly headwinds in the Bay of Biscay. His original plan had been to get to Cape Town in time for his son’s wedding. But he was too slow and running a week behind, he decided to quit. There were other reasons too; he hadn’t seen his family for nearly a year (he had to sail from Australia to France for the start of the Golden Globe race, and he did cite some health reasons as well. He was strapping up his knee quite strongly at the start. Maybe something to do with that?

Golden Globe race start Mark Sinclair strapping knee beside boat
Mark Sinclair before the race start © Mary Anne Evans

It was clearly a painful experience. As Mark Sinclair said: ‘Biscay was a tough exit – I screwed it up last time and I screwed it up this time,’


Today the last sailor reached Lanzarote to drop off film and speak to Don McIntyre and the film crew videoing his arrival.

Don told the popular Frenchman, Arnaud Gaist (who is from Les Sables d’Olonne) the order of the front-runners, Simon Curwen, Tapio Lehtinen, Pat Lawless and more. He was quite happy until Don said that Simon Curwen was 700 miles ahead of him, then his face dropped a little.

First sailors checking in

First at Lanzarote was Simon Curwen in the early hours of Saturday morning, closely followed an hour later by Tapio Lehtinen. Then Pat Lawless appeared and was filmed showing his swollen knee. It’s infected and he’s on antibiotics but he didn’t wait to be given more. As he tweeted: “Delighted To Have The Lanzarote Drop Over and Done. Great tm Here I Am in 3rd place. When Its Safe I Will Keep Pushing Green Rebel.”

Abhilash Tomy was next checking in at Lanzarote. 

The second race casualty

Guy deBoer approached the buoy, did his drop off then turned away to get back to the race. The next thing everyone heard was that at 0545hrs local time Sunday Sept 18, Guy de Boer and Spirit, his Tashiba 36, hits rocks 50 meters off the beach on the north coast of Fuerteventura. 

Race control had been alerted at 0410 hrs local time by Kersten Neuschafer who called by sat phone to report a Mayday VHF call. Guy de Boer was on the rocks and taking water. The Spanish Rescue Coordinator centre was notified. At 0424 hrs Guy reported the boat listing 45 degrees but was worried about abandoning the boat in the dark and with heavy surf. He said he wouldn’t last long in the waters. At 0510 hours the local police and fire brigade were on the nearby beach with Guy 50metres away. Again he refused to abandon ship. Finally he made the beach at 0536 hrs after the local rescue coast guard had come out through the surf to him in the broken boat. 

Photo from sandy beach showing waves and Guy de Boer's boat on its side in Golden Globe race
Guy de Boer’s boat ©Figu Surf

As we thought, exhausted by the last 13 days and past Lanzarote, Guy had fallen asleep. His boat was caught by a wind change and crashed into rocks.

The start of the Golden Globe Race 2022

The heroic Golden Globe race began on September 4, 2022 from Les Sables d’Olonne. The sailors face 8 months of isolation. They are sailing across five oceans non-stop, solo and without any of the modern aids – like GPS, or mobiles. They sail in small fibre-glass boats, guided by the stars and navigating with sextants.

It’s 1968 all over again. That inaugural race was won by Robin Knox-Johnston who is Patron of the 2022 race and was there to start this year’s challenge.

Robin Knox Johnston beside model of his boat Suhaili
Robin Knox-Johnston with model of Suhaili © Mary Anne Evans

News about the first 9 days of the Golden Globe

It’s been an eventful start. The weather has been bad, with strong winds and big waves slowing the boats in the Bay of Biscay. 

One of the favourites to win, Frenchman Damien Guillou, had to return to Les Sables d’Olonne to fix his wind vane mount, but re-started within the time allowed – up to one week from the Sep 4 start. He’s last but it’s a long race so anything might happen. He’s going fast and is probably managing minimal amounts of sleep.

Canadian Edward Walentynowicz has retired, citing personal reasons.

American Guy de Boer was seasick and gashed his leg.

Ertan Beskardes from the UK fell into his cockpit when he was hit by a wave on deck, hurt his arm and suffered concussion. He sent a message: “all good on board, just slow progress, weather good, food super”.

Pat Lawless is having problems with a knee injury but it’s not stopping him at all.

The send off

Tapio Lehtinen's crew sewing a sail on pontoon with old sewing machine and sail curled up mast on boat behind
Tapio Lehtinen’s crew sewing a sail © Mary Anne Evans

We saw them off, along with other journalists, on Sunday Sep 4. The previous day and all that morning there were frantic, or seemingly low key, preparations for this great race. Tapio Lehtinen’s team were stitching a sail repair on an old sewing machine beside the boat. The morning of the departure, the Finn was more preoccupied with his small grandson, showing him the alarm clock he will use.

Pat Lawless on pontoon withhis boat behind and young Irish girl playing pipe
Pat Lawless with Irish piper © Mary Anne Evans

Pat Lawless was seen off by a huge Irish contingent who, along with complete strangers, were scrawling good luck notes on his sail. A young Irish piper played a moving Irish ballad, and there wasn’t a dry eye among the onlookers.

Mark Sinclair and Sebastien Delsanerie talking on Mark's boat in Golden Globe
Mark Sinclair and race director Sébastien Delasnerie © Mary Anne Evans

And the irrepressible Australian, Mark Sinclair, a broad grin on his face, shouted out as he left “Do I owe anyone any money?”

Tapio Lehtinen setting off on white boat with no sails from Golden Globe and other boats behind him
Tapio Lehtinen setting off © Mary Anne Evans

They set off around 2pm in a pre-arranged order, starting with Tapio Lehtinen. Well why not? Finns are always on time, and usually early.

Little bots with different coloured blue , red and orange sails in the harbour following the Golden Globe
Little boats following the Golden Globe Race © Mary Anne Evans

Small boats with coloured sails, large yachts, official boats and press boats followed them out to sea. They tacked back and forth, coming close enough to talk to the onlookers on their boats.

Golden Globe sailor in boat at start with one sail up, taken sideways on
Guy de Boer before the start © Mary Anne Evans

Then there was a warning signal followed by the signal to start the race and they were off.

Many boats with white sails on sea at start of Golden Globe
Golden Globe Boats at the start of the race © Mary Anne Evans

Why sail this race?

I had asked Are Wiig, the Norwegian skipper who sold his boat Olleanna to Jeremy Bagshaw, what it was like to leave. “Behind you are months of preparation and you look back at all those boats filled with friends and family. Then you look to the direction you’re going in…and just see the sea and the sky stretching out in front of you. You forget all that in those first hours as you test the boat, and to some extent yourself.”

Pat Lawless, who had been a cabinet maker then a deep sea fisherman before taking up ocean racing said: “I have tried and tried to figure out (why I am doing the race), but I can’t come up with a logical answer. It’s just a need I have to fulfil; it is a beautiful need, more romantic than dramatic.”

Each has their own reason, their own dreams to fill and perhaps their own demons to overcome.

Follow the race

GGR race live tracker page
GGR race live tracker

You can follow the Golden Globe race news on the real time live tracker on the official Golden Globe Race website.

You can also follow each sailor on their once-a-day tweet which they send to the main race organisers who then send it to each sailor’s onshore team. It’s a concession to the 21st century but it doesn’t break the rules. No interaction is allowed and nobody states their position at sea.

These tweets give a wonderful snapshot of what each sailor is experiencing.

Jeremy Bagshaw on his boat with his backto us before Golden Globe Race
Jeremy Bagshaw © Mary Anne Evans

At 10.04am on Tuesday Sep 13, Jeremy Bagshaw tweeted: “Well that was intense. Wind went thru 270 degrees & 20 knots in 15 mins! Now baro up from 995 to 1001, fetching S into big messy sea.”

Guy Waites on his boat before Golden Globe Race standing on deck
Guy Waites © Mary Anne Evans

12.11am from Guy Waites: “Sagarmatha” rain squalls and weather fronts all finished off with a favourable wind shift. rolling along down the latitudes!”

Four Rendezvous Gates

There are four Rendezvous Gates where the sailors pass over film and letters and can be interviewed in passing (they don’t stop) by specific journalists.

Fascination with the Golden Globe Race

I have found myself caught up in the race in many ways, via the tweets and the live tracker. My partner (who was also at the start) and I have picked our particular favourites. You might have guessed mine: it’s the Finn, Tapio Lehtinen. And despite taking a slightly eccentric course at the beginning to try and outsail the worst of the weather (was he going back to Helsinki?), is currently second behind Brit Simon Curwen.

My partner is opting for Pat Lawless, particularly after he photographed Pat’s (very) small wood burning stove in the cabin.

Follow the race and you’ll find yourself picking out a particular sailor to champion.

If you want to know more about the technical aspects of the race (in an easily digestible read), then click on Alastair McKenzie’s Mech Traveller piece – Golden Globe Race 2022 – Sailing ‘Old School’.

Discover more

Golden Globe Race 2022 – A Heroic Adventure

Golden Globe Race website.

More about Les Sables d’Olonne

More about Vendée Tourism

More about the fabulous French Atlantic Coast

If you’re interested in sailing, then check out the other solo, round-the-world super race that sets off from Les Sables d’Olonne every four years. The Vendée Globe Race 2020 was spectacular.

Declaration: I travelled to Les Sables d’Olonne courtesy of DFDS from Newhaven to Dieppe. I was on a self-drive trip and was hosted by Vendée Tourisme and Les Sables d’Olonne Tourisme.