17 of the 18 Golden Globe Race skippers will be starting the race on Sunday from the event's host port at Les Sables d'Olonne in France

Final preparations are underway at Sables d’Olonne in France for the start of the 2018 Golden Globe Race on Sunday (1 July).

But, only 17 of the 18 skippers will cross the start line.

Italian entrant, Francesco Cappelletti is still preparing his Endurance 35, 007, which was trucked to Les Sables while the other skippers were in Falmouth taking part in the Suhaili Parade of Sail to celebrate the start of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s successful attempt to circumnavigate non stop and solo around the world.

He also has to make three days of solo sea trials in 007.

Cappelletti, 40, has six days grace to complete his preparations before the start closes permanently at noon on 7 July.

His situation is not too dissimilar to that faced 50 years ago by fellow Italian Alex Corozo, one of nine sailors to start the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.

Crowds in Les Sables D'Olonne, France for the start of the Golden Globe Race

The crowds gather for the start of the race. Credit: PPL/GGR

Corozo had built his 44ft Gancia Americano in Cowes – the biggest boat in the race. Like fellow competitor, Donald Crowhurst, he was struggling to be ready before the closure of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race start window.

He got round the rules by leaving Cowes and then immediately tying up to a mooring buoy so he could complete the preparations, although the stress of making the deadline resulted in a stomach ulcer which forced him to retire from the race early in.

Cappelletti is getting help with his preparation from the local Tabarly professional boatbuilding college, where six apprentices have volunteered their services.

All of the other competitors have passed their safety inspections – a condition of racing on Sunday.

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Meanwhile both Mark Slats (NED) and Philippe Péché (FRA)  have been given weight penalties in the form of an extra main battery for modifications made to the standard specifications allowed to their boats.

The rules of the race means that apart from safety gear, the skippers can only use similar equipment which Sir Robin Knox-Johnston took on Suhaili during the original race. There are a few exceptions such as LED lights and self-tailing winches. Electronics are banned, with the entrants left recording their voyages using cameras which take 35mm film and Super 8 film.

But, at the last press conference yesterday, it was announced that some of the skippers will be issued with GO PRO cameras to help produce footage, but they will only be allowed to use them one month into the race.

the route for the 2018 Golden Globe Race

This is the route the 18 skippers will be following. Credit: PPL/GGR

And for any of the 18 entrants looking for last minute advice, Yachting Monthly asked Polish solo skipper Szymon Kuczyński for his nuggets of wisdom. He has just set a new world record for sailing the smallest yacht to circumnavigating the globe, non-stop, with no engine in his 6.36-metre (20ft 10.4in) Maxus 22, Atlantic Puffin.

‘They need to remember that the information in pilot books such as the average angle and speed of the wind, swell, frequency of gales etc. are average statistics based on historical data. During the navigation you can find out that the conditions are far different from the given average. Therefore it is worth to consider uncommon strategic solutions, and not necessarily hold on to the routes and tactics of our predecessors,’ he advised.

‘You need to watch the ocean and the boat’s behaviour in order to set the course and trim the boat to provide her with the best possible setting for her to sail in, so that there is no unnecessary pressure and she can sail as fast as possible. The faster we sail the sooner we will escape the most risky area which is the Southern Ocean,’ continued Kuczyński.

‘And of course you should sleep whenever possible. Be careful not to turn into a zombie. A varied diet is also very important. My example and the example of many sailors shows that a well equipped yacht’s workshop with tools and spare materials is crucial to handle any possible repairs,’ he added.

The start of the Golden Globe Race will be streamed live on France3 TV and on the France3 Facebook page from 1130-1230 French time.

It will also be screened in English on the official Golden Globe Race Facebook page from 0930 onwards.