Global Challenge Yacht Race – A RETRO Around the World Yacht Race
A RETRO non-stop solo around the world yacht race that takes skippers back to the Golden Age where sailor skill and traditional seamanship gets them to the finish line.
The Organisers have set stringent requirements for both boats and participants. Each entry must comply with the Global Solo Challenge Regulations and pass medical and survival at sea assessments.
While pure competition is not the driving force behind entries in this Event, the fact is that most skippers take part to accomplish a dream that many share. To do a solo circumnavigation of the globe. The race format bridges the gap between high-budget, professional events and the very human, yet common dream of a single-handed global adventure.
The race fleet of identical Challenge 67 yachts are specifically designed to be strong, seaworthy and safe in even the harshest conditions while remaining easy for non-professional crew to sail. They are also self-sufficient for extended periods at sea and able to reach distant ports with enough fuel, food and water for the duration of the event.
The fleet of boats are grouped into 6 groups. Each group will set off one week apart from slowest to fastest with the last, aptly named Super-Zero, having some substantial catching up to do. This staggered start ensures that safety is maintained, as the first possible rescue vehicle will be a fellow competitor. It also creates a thrilling spectacle for spectators watching the satellite trackers as the slower, steady cruisers are chased by performance thirsty skippers on faster boats.
The boats that the entrants sail are specifically designed for this Event and have been proven in two previous Global Challenge races (the British Steel race of 1992/93 and the BT Global Challenge 2000/01). They are safe, seaworthy, have great performance under a variety of conditions and allow for a relatively quick circumnavigation.
The entrants will set off between August 26 and January 6 from the port of A Coruna, Spain and will then travel clockwise around the world against the spin of the earth. They must leave “The Antarctic Region” and all known ice to starboard and the three Great Capes to port.
They will be self-sufficient for long periods, navigating with a sextant and paper charts, writing logbooks and talking to loved ones only when they can receive a satellite phone signal. Each entrant will also complete a World Sailing/ISAF Approved Offshore Personal Survival Training course to ensure that they can be prepared for and cope with serious emergencies without the need for outside assistance.
Sailors in this event must pass through some of the most hostile environments on Earth. They face sleep deprivation, cold temperatures and extreme weather conditions. During the race, sailors are completely self-sufficient and must rely on their own skills and knowledge to survive. They also have to write daily logs, and only talk to loved ones when long-range radio communication allows them to do so.
Unlike other single-handed sailing races, this one does not place winning as the primary goal. Instead, it is for those who are willing to risk everything in order to achieve their dreams of a world circumnavigation.
The organizers of this race have put in place stringent rules for the boats and participants to ensure that everyone’s safety is paramount. These include medical and survival training. They have also hired Josh Hall, an experienced round-the-world sailor who has extensive experience in crisis at sea management. He oversees the event’s safety requirements and ensures that all boats comply with Global Challenge regulations.
As the competitors race 36,000 miles around the world on sailboats, they are also part-time citizen scientists. Their boats are outfitted with tools that gather data on how climate change is impacting the oceans.
Unlike the high-budget, professional events that are dominated by professional sailors, this event is open to anyone with the determination and skill to make a single-handed circumnavigation of the globe. It is designed to bridge the gap between the world of professional sailing and the very human ambition that many of us have for a one-man round the world race.
This year the competitors will drop surface drifter buoys that collect weather and ocean data to improve weather forecasting, including tracking extreme events like hurricanes. They will also take water samples to assess the health of the oceans, which absorb 90% of excess heat from human activities and provide half of the oxygen we breathe. Their analysis will help inform policies to protect these life-sustaining waters.