Guy DeBoer wants to become the first American skipper to win a a solo non-stop around the world yacht race. He shares how he is preparing for the 2022 Golden Globe Race

Guy DeBoer has sailed and raced his entire life and has been fascinated with the Golden Globe Race since the original 1968-69 race.

The American skipper learned to sail at the New Orleans Yacht Club before competing internationally in Olympic Classes such as the Star and Finn.

The 66-year-old has raced a wide variety of boats, from dinghies to Maxis as helmsman, tactician, navigator and crew, sailing over 25,000 miles in competitive races; the longest being the 802 mile Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas race.

He helmed the 1989-90 Whitbread yacht Fazizi in the Chicago Mackinac Race, and sailed in adventure style races on small trimarans, including the 300 mile Everglades Challenge.

A man using a sextant

All skippers have to use sextants and paper charts to navigate during the 2022 Golden Globe Race. Credit: GGR/Guy deBoer

Guy DeBoer has extensive experience refitting and boat building, and has chosen the full keel double-ender Tashiba 36, an updated version of the Baba 35, for the 2022 Golden Globe Race.

He has refitted Spirit himself, fitting two watertight bulkheads, and replacing the seacocks. The boat has also been completely rewired.

Spirit‘s mast has also been shorted by 1.5 metres than standard and changed to two spreads with reinforcement after he read about Jean-Luc Van Den Heede‘s pitchpole during the 2018 Golden Globe Race.

The French winner of the 2018 event believes reducing the mast of his Rustler 36 by 1.5m prevented the boat from being dismasted.

Guy DeBoer is one of two American entrants in the race; the other is Elliot Smith.

Guy plans to become the first American skipper to win a a solo non-stop around the world yacht race.

Guy deBoer on the deck of his yacht

Guy DeBoer has carried out most of the refit work on Spirit himself.

Why race in the 2022 Golden Globe Race?

Guy DeBoer: I was fascinated when I learned of the Golden Globe Race in 1968 as a young junior sailor. But soon after I meet American Olympic Gold Medal winner Buddy Melges and started dreaming of sailing in the Olympics.

What did you learn from the 2018 Golden Globe Race?

Guy DeBoer: Assuming you are a skilled solo skipper, the race is won before the start. Selecting the right design and preparation for the race and the Southern Ocean will determine one’s outcome.

What storm tactics do you plan to use?

Guy DeBoer: Every storm and its accompanying seas are unique, The ability to adapt to the changing conditions is paramount to keeping the boat safe. To win you need to finish!

Have you practiced these storm tactics?

Guy DeBoer:  Throughout my career, yes. But these are new challenges for me and my boat. So, again I’ll practice and prepare before the start.

A boat belonging to Guy deBoer carrying out a jury rig test on his boat

All entrants must carry out a jury rig test on their Golden Globe Race boat. Credit: GGR

What did you learn from Jean-Luc Van Den Heede‘s win in the 2018 Golden Globe Race?

Guy DeBoer: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede has been very generous with his time and advice.

He has always answered my questions and offered me advice.

When you inspect my boat you will see I’ve heeded and learned from Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and from all the skippers that sailed in the 2018 Golden Globe Race.

Why did you choose a Tashiba 36 for the 2022 Golden Globe Race?

Guy DeBoer: I sought out the advice of two naval architects and a prominent weather router.

The numbers developed gave me the confidence that Bob Perry’s Tashiba 36 was the fastest design and the safest as well.

I was fortunate to find my boat, Spirit on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

It was easy after the purchase to sail her to Key West, Florida my home, and begin the 3-year program of getting her ready for the Golden Globe Race.

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How are you preparing Spirit for the 2022 race?

Guy DeBoer: The list is too long to describe here, I can tell you she will be 100% ready for the race.

What will your sail plan be?

Guy DeBoer: The Tashiba 36 is a cutter design, I’ve shortened the rig and reinforced it to survive a 360-degree rollover or pitch-pole.

I have selected Mark Wood of UK Sailmakers Miami, Florida. I have a sail inventory ready for all wind angles and strengths.

Are you looking to win or get around?

Guy deBoer:  The first goal is to finish! I’m a good competitive sailor, should I not break the boat, I’m working towards something no American sailor has ever done, that is to win a solo non-stop around the world race.

Let’s play the game first, there are quite a few skippers in the race with around the world experience, and will prove to be tough to beat.

The skipper that wins this edition of the Golden Globe Race will know he has raced against worthy adversaries.

Guy deBoer sailed from Key West to Spain ahead of the race start. Credit: Guy deBoer

Guy DeBoer sailed from Key West to Spain ahead of the race start. The passage was his qualifying sail for the 2022 race.

For this race there will be no HAM radio transmissions allowed only registered, licensed maritime-approved HF Single Side Band (SSB) Radio, with discussions limited to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) weather. Weather Fax will be allowed for the race. Some of the 2018 Golden Globe Race skippers raised concerns about picking up GMDSS in the Southern Ocean. Do you share these concerns?

Guy DeBoer: Of course, I do, at the very least the ICOM SSB radio though should pull through with reliable weather reports.

My weatherfax and SSB installations have been designed to perform anywhere around the world. I’m confident with preparations.

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede consulted meteorologists and studied the weather to choose the best route which helped him make early gains in the 2018 race. Do you plan to do the same?

Guy DeBoer: I have been studying the weather patterns along the course since I entered the race in 2019. Yes, I’m working with a weather router with several around the world records in their resume.

Guy deBoer has previously worked as a publisher/editor in news and media. Credit: Guy deBoer

Guy DeBoer has previously worked as a publisher/editor in news and media.

How is your celestial navigation going?

Guy DeBoer: I’m confident that it will not be an issue during the race.

What windvane steering setup are you planning on using?

Guy DeBoer: I’ve chosen the Hydrovane for its durability.

What antifouling will you be using?

Guy DeBoer: Seahawks Paints proved to be the best available legal paint allowed from the experience learned for the 2018 Golden Globe Race skipper Istvan Kopar.

How many solo miles have you sailed?

Guy DeBoer: 2-3000nm over my career.

Guy deBoer has extensive racing experience and is looking to win the 2022 Golden Globe Race

Guy DeBoer has extensive racing experience and is looking to win the 2022 Golden Globe Race

Is coping with isolation an issue?

Guy DeBoer: That’s the one thing I have not trained for, only time will tell.

How do you handle challenges while alone at sea?

Guy DeBoer: If someone would describe me, it would properly be as an even-keeled personality.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been pounding it into my head, “DO NOT BREAK THE BOAT”.

If I do, I can fix just about anything and continue pressing on.

What will you miss while taking part in the race?

Guy DeBoer: Girlfriend, friends, and family. I’m not different from any of my fellow skippers.

What treat will you be taking?

Guy DeBoer: Cigars, rum, chocolate

The Golden Globe Race 2018 was a celebration of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. The Golden Globe Race 2022 is a celebration of Bernard Moitessier. What words of wisdom from Moitessier will you be following in the race?

Guy DeBoer: Peace with oneself, the environment, the world.

When I return to Les Sables D’Olonne I want to know personally I learned all I can from the sea and gave it my all to win.

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