Household names join 2023 Ocean Globe Race

On June 29, organisers, partners, media and entrants were delighted to finally meet in person on the occasion of the OGR Conference in Les Sables d’Olonne, home port of iconic ocean races, such as the Vendée Globe, Golden Globe Race and Mini Transat.

The Ocean Globe Race (OGR) is a fully crewed retro race in the spirit of the 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race to mark the 50th Anniversary of the original event. Starting in Europe in September 2023, the OGR is a 27,000-mile sprint around the Globe divided into four legs, taking in the Southern Ocean and the three great Capes. Stopovers will include South Africa, Australia or New Zealand, and South America, before finishing back in Europe in April 2024. The race will have eight entries in each of the four classes (Adventure, Sayula, Flyer, and CLASSIC) as well as two discretionary invitations for a total of 34 entries, making the OGR possibly the biggest fully-crewed round the world race of the last 29 years.

The route of the race
OGR sailors will set out on this route in September 2023.

The rules? All of the yachts that enter must have been designed before 1988. And keeping in line with the good ol’ days – no computers, no satellites, no GPS systems and no high-tech materials will be permitted onboard the yachts. This is no high-tech Volvo Ocean Race.

The Swan 651 Futuro
The Swan 651 Futuro will be skippered by Dominique Dubois. Credit – Bernard Gergaud

France, home country of major sailing events, provides the biggest contingent for the inaugural edition of the OGR, just like it did 50 years ago with 30% of the fleet in the original Whitbread Round the World Race.

  • High-tech boatyard Multiplast owner, Dominique Dubois will be at the helm of his Swan 651 Futuro with a crew of family and friends.
  • The Observer Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race (OSTAR) 2005 winner Lionel Reignier and Pierre-Yves Cavan recently arrived in LSO from Ushuaia aboard former Whitbread 85-86 winner L’Esprit d’Équipe, to launch their campaign.
  • Arnaud Lizop, a Tabarly crew on Pen Duick in 1973, will compete aboard his S&S 55 Nakamal against two other Swan 55, the British entry Ariana and Tapio Lehtinen’s Galiana. 
  • Jean Christophe Petit, a two-time Transquadra solo participant is running a fully crewed campaign from Barcelona, Spain with Armancio Macia.

The race has also drawn attention of acclaimed sailors. Marie Tabarly who announced the entry of the legendary Pen Duick VI. And Vendée Globe legend Jean le Cam has provided his own Swan 59 to François Abiven‘s Mad Atao/Yes We Cam Team.

Pen Duick VI flying through the water
Frenchwoman Marie Tabarly will be at the helm of Pen Duick VI for the race

“Pen Duick VI will be 50 this year. I had a round the world programme with my Elemen’Terre project (a round the world adventure documentary, focussing on the importance of nature) which was cancelled by Covid, and was looking for something big to mark the boat’s anniversary,” said Marie Tabarly.

“Pen Duick cannot miss a big round the world race like the OGR. We have a team of 12, the boat is in good shape for her age, and after a rig refit we will be ready to go!”

Marie Tabarly holding the  earth in ball form
Marie Tabarly is looking forward to taking on the world in Pen Duick VI.

In addition to L’Esprit d’Équipe, and Pen Duick VI, there will be several former Whitbread glories taking part in the inaugural OGR 2023, including Tracy Edwards’ Farr 60 Maiden, Marco Trombetti’s Swan 651 Translated 9 ex-ADC Accutrac with Clare Francis the first woman skipper , the Norwegian Swan 651 Second Wind, ex-Fazer Finland and guest Star Evrika, Pink Floyd’s Nick Wright’s former Swan 65.

More important than the yachts, the spirit of the Whitbread – owners taking their own yacht around the world with a crew of friends, family, and young aspiring sailors, far from the fully professional sport that it has become today, is very much alive in the OGR family. 

“The back stories to our growing list of entrants are truly amazing and to welcome Marie Tabarly to the OGR and feel her passion and race winning attitude is really impressive”. said Don McIntyre OGR Founder and Race Chairman. “ The conference was an exciting day to finally pull the OGR from under the COVID cloud and put faces to the dream of so many and welcome Nick Bice to our growing Team!”

Aussie Don McIntyre - OGR Founder and Race Chairman
Aussie Don McIntyre – OGR Founder and Race Chairman

OGR Race Director, Nick Bice, hailing from South Australia, has done 5 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) campaigns, as a boat builder, sailor, shore-manager and ultimately heading the VOR boatyard, certainly knows how to get a yacht race around the world. Nick also competes in ironman championships and will bring even more energy to the team composed of Don McIntyre (Founder and Chairman), Melissa Payne (CEO Media), Sebastien Delasnerie (Joint Media Director), Aida Valceanu (Public Relations and Events), and Jane Zhou (Finance and Admin).

South Australian Nick Bice will add the role of OGR Race Director to his already very impressive sailing resume

With 14 nations represented, the Adventure Class closed, Sayula Class virtually filled, and two entries left in the Flyer Class, the Ocean Globe Race is on track to be the largest round the World crewed event … since the 1973 Whitbread!

Find out more about the race here:

Jeanneau JY60
M.O.S.S Australia
West Systems
Cyclops Marine