Author. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston FRIN
Image: The Roaring Forties. A Painting by Gordon Frickers commissioned by Sir Robin KnoxJohnston to commemorate the first solo non-stop round the world race. Recalling the scene,
Sir Robin says: "I heard rather than saw this giant wave and climbed the rigging to avoid
being swept away. For one brief inglorious moment there was me and two masts in sight, and
nothing but ocean in any direction for 2000 miles. A photographer could never have caught
the scene." - The forward hatch was open at the time, and it took 3 hours to bail the boat out
This report considers the knockdowns sustained by the fleet racing in the 2018/2019 Golden Globe solo around the world yacht race which lead to five dismastings and damage to rigs of contestants. 7 yachts were affected in the Southern Ocean.
The rules of the 2018 GGR were simple: sail solo non-stop around the world north of Antarctica, from Les Sables d’Olonne in France and return to the same Vendée port without touching land or receiving outside assistance. The course was the traditional sailing vessel route, entering the Southern Ocean from the Atlantic, and sailing through the Roaring Forty and Furious Fifty latitudes past Australia and around Cape Horn. The boats had to be between 32 and 36 feet long and have a long keel. They had to be of a pre–1988 design but could be built subsequent to that date to the earlier design.
17 boats appeared for the start on 1st July 2018. During their passage through the Southern Ocean 5 of the skippers were knocked down and dismasted. 5 are expected to complete the event. (The 5th placed Finnish sailor Tapio Lehtinen re-crossed the Equator on 9th April and expected to reach the finish later in May)