Talking Boats - A personal view from Race Chairman Don McIntyre
The Southern Ocean is as tough on GGR boats as it is for all who venture south. It’s a place of extreme beauty, a true wilderness that captures the imagination of sailors and reminds them of their insignificance. Nowhere else on earth is like it. It’s power is unquestioned and unchallenged. You never beat it, just move and bend with it in deep respect.
You venture south at your own risk with an open mind in the knowledge that you may not return. The allure of the Great Southern Ocean is steeped in history and folklore. For many the attraction is to successfully round Cape Horn, a moment mixed with pride, excitement, awe and most often great relief.
To succeed you must believe in yourself and your ability, TRUST YOUR BOAT and prepare for the worst.
JEAN-LUC VAN DEN HEEDE first coined the fun phrase Petit Escargot (little snail) describing the 36ft full displacement yachts of the GGR when he joined the Race in 2015. He has sailed five times solo around the Globe in larger boats up to 80 ft long including his BOC and VENDEE GLOBE yachts. He knew the challenge was tough, indeed very tough but stakes his life on his Rustler 36 MATMUT as a safe ocean-going yacht, up to the demands of the Southern Ocean and right for this simple yet serious adventure.
The essence of the Golden Globe Race rests with strong honest boats, basic reliable sailing systems, no computers, world class safety gear and full risk minimisation. It’s a UNIQUE challenge, accessible and affordable to any man or woman with the passion and desire to do it.
The choice of boats for the GGR is defined within well-conceived parameters specifically relative to the event. At 32-36 ft they are proven ocean voyaging yachts conceived by respected designers. The keels, rudders and hulls are over engineered by modern standards. These designs are not prone to damage from hitting underwater objects and their long keels track well under windvane self-steering even in heavy weather.
Only six of the original 17 starters in the GGR are still sailing and there have been five Southern Ocean dismasting. Some may think this is because the boats are too small, too slow and cannot outrun Southern Ocean storms. History does not support this assumption.