The 2018 Golden Globe Race marked the 50th anniversary of the first Sunday Times Golden Globe event.
When Robin Knox-Johnston was the only finisher out of nine starters and became the first to sail solo nonstop around the world. Second time round there were 18 starters sailing traditional long keeled production yachts – the types you might find in most marinas – and only 5 returned. Four were rolled and dismasted in the Southern Ocean including Susie Goodall, the sole woman in the race, and another lost their mast. All were rescued or made it back to port under jury rig. The majority never made it further than the Atlantic, broken by their own insecurities, lack of preparation or simply bad luck.
This was a retro race like no other. Navigation was done with a sextant, chronograph and paper charts on the basis that if something was not available to Knox-Johnston last time round, it wasn’t available to these solo circumnavigators either. That meant no electronic instruments, no GPS, no electric self-steering, no iPhones, iPods or digital cameras. They all had to rely on traditional windvane self-steering, radios, 35mm and Super8 cameras, cassette recorders – and their own gut instincts!
Barry Pickthall, the former yachting correspondent for the The Times newspaper, was one of the organisers and gives the inside story to this remarkable adventure.