GGR – Day 249 – Capt. Gugg finishes 2022 GGR!

Dateline: Les Sables d’Olonne, Friday, 12th of May, 2023

  • Michael Guggenberger 3rd across the line with Provisional time of 249 days, 17 hours, 42 minutes and 24 seconds the last ranked sailor in the GGR out of 16 entrants.
  • Nuri Sardine’s preparation was second to none, no major breakage or repairs in 30.000 miles.
  • Captain Gugg joins Norbert Sedlacek in Les Sables d’olonne as the most famous Austrian round-the-world sailors!

Michael Guggenberger (AUT) started the race with a few impediments compared to other entrants in the GGR. First, he is coming from land-locked Austria when most of the other entrants grew up on the seaside. Second, he started sailing only 12 years ago when most other GGR competitors started sailing at an early age from dinghies, going into keelboats later, some raking up significant mileage on the way.

He did however compensate for his relative inexperience with inextinguishable passion and dedication to make it to the GGR start line, and complete his race in 249 days. He was welcomed in Les Sables d’Olonne by Kirsten Neuschäfer (ZAF), Abhilash Tomy (IND), Simon Curwen (GBR) and Ertan Beskardes (GBR) as well as hundreds of enthusiasts on the channel and the stage.

Nuri , a ketch-rigged Biscay 36. Credit: GGR2022 / JJ & DD
Nuri , a ketch-rigged Biscay 36. Credit: GGR2022 / JJ & DD

Nuri Sardines, the artisanal campaign of the indestructible Biscay

Originally planning to enter the 2018 GGR on an endurance 35, he later switched rides and bought a ketch-rigged Biscay 36 from Antoine Cousot (FRA), who raced later rebuilding and preparing it with his Team Manager Stefan Weigel, turning the graceful cruiser into a bullet-proof yacht that could weather the worst conditions.

“Nuri round the world voyage with no major issue is due to the structured preparation of Michael and our concept of enabling him to cope with all possible problems. When he reached out for an electric refit, we decided it made more sense to teach him how to do it rather than doing the job for him. It proved a good idea, especially during Covid travel restrictions and worked all the way through Gijon in Spain for the boat’s final preparation.” Stefan Weigel, Michael’s team manager and Nuri Sardines boat captain.

Nuri Sardines, an artisanal Sardine factory based in Matosinhos, Portugal, liked the artisanal feel of the race and Michael’s campaign, and joined Michael’s campaigns at a timely moment, providing him with welcome support to make the start line in good conditions. Michael may have been short on water in the Pacific, wondering if he could finish his round the world trip without stopping for water, but never ran out of Sardines!

“Everyone at NURI has been closely following Michael over the last eight months. We are in awe of his achievement and are incredibly proud of him. Just to witness him starting in this group of highly experienced sailors last September was a great moment. That he was able to finish as one of only three out of 16 starters is almost unbelievable. We are truly honoured that we could be part of his journey.” Jakob Glatz, Glatz&Co/Nuri Sardines

Michael’s objective was reached 250 times over, or the number of days at sea around the world with no major breakage or repair. This is a testament of both the preparatory work done on Nuri Sardines, but also the conservative way of sailing of Michael. The Austrian adventurer made good use of the ketch-rig to always have the right canvas for the weather encountered on his position, which he finally mastered in the south Atlantic, significantly improving his daily averages by sailing with less sail area and not overly pushing the boat.

The only 3 finishers in the GGR2022. Credit: GGR2022 / JJ & DD
The only 3 finishers in the GGR2022. Credit: GGR2022 / JJ & DD

Dance floor therapy.

All sailors had their own way of dealing with isolation and the lack of exercise on board, some read books, others played games or went swimming. Michael was dancing every time he could, taking the disco ball out and playing his favourite tunes on tape, which is probably the largest (if not the only) collection of Electro and techno music ever recorded on tapes!

Michael also managed the long pacific crossing and the 100 degrees of latitude up the Atlantic from Cape Horn to Les Sables d’Olonne through regular HF contact with the other sailors around him, including long-lasting friendships with Kirsten Neuschäfer, Abhilash Tomy, and Jeremy Bagshaw.

“The GGR has been an incredible voyage, I had already changed me in the preparation leading to the start, and changed me in more ways than I had imagined during the 249 days at sea.” Michael Gugg, Skipper, Nuri Sardines

#GGR2022 Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36 - "NURI"arrived Les Sables d'Olonne, 3rd finisher in the GGR2022. Credit: GGR2022 / JJ & DD
#GGR2022 Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36 – “NURI”arrived Les Sables d’Olonne, 3rd finisher in the GGR2022. Credit: GGR2022 / JJ & DD

3rd place for a never seen before ocean race podium.

By defying the odds and surviving the gruelling race with the biggest attrition rate in the world, Michael has made it to the 3rd and last ranked position in the GGR, completing a podium never seen before in a ocean race, let alone a solo, non-stop, race around the world. India and Austria may not be known for their importance in the sailing world but have found themselves true Ambassadors of the sport. South Africa is a well-known sailing nation but never reached the winning stage of round the world racing.

“While we had a big attrition rate again, the finish proved exciting. We have the first woman to win a solo round the world race, a competitor coming back after nearly losing his life 4 years ago and a sailor from a land-locked country who started sailing 10 years ago. All of it for a never seen before podium of South Africa, India, and Austria.” Don McIntyre, GGR Founder and Chairman

Still at sea…

With Michael Guggenberger on land, there is still One Chichester sailor at sea. Jeremy Bagshaw who is around 1300 miles from the finish. The second South African in the race lost ground when plagued by barnacles in the Atlantic and decided to manually scrape his hull in South Africa. Alas, the dreaded shells came back with a vengeance in the Indian Ocean, and he was obliged to lift Olleanna and provision on water in Hobart.

Guy Waites (GBR) who stopped in Cape Town to lift Sagarmatha and a second time in Hobart to get a new life raft, has just entered the Northern hemisphere. No longer in the GGR he courageously decided to continue his round the world adventure and is heading to Les Sables d’Olonne. He sent a message via his sat phone congratulating Michael for his finish as he did for Kirsten, Abhilash and Simon.

“Welcome Northern Hemisphere, Cape Horn to Equator in 36 days, soon in LSO. My congratulations to Michael when he arrives!” Guy Waites, Sagarmatha

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