Jeremy Bagshaw has one of the smallest boats in the Golden Globe Race 2022 fleet. He shares how he is preparing for one of the longest yacht races in the world
Jeremy Bagshaw is a lifelong sailor, having started sailing at the age of 6 cruising the lakes and dams of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe in the family’s old plywood Optimist dinghy.
He successfully raced Optimists, representing the country at three World Championships before moving on to two person dinghies like Enterprises and Fireballs, and then Lasers when the family returned to South Africa.
At university in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth he became involved in sailing keelboats, racing offshore as crew on the IOR racer Charger 33, in the 1985 South Atlantic Race from Cape Town to Punta Del Este in Uruguay.
‘As the youngest member of the crews, I was stuck on the foredeck and got to learn crew work from the best spot on the boat!’ recalled Jeremy.
He has co-skippered with his long time sailing companion Frans Loots, who is now his Golden Globe Race 2022 Team Manager, racing Loots’s home-built Farrier 31 trimaran from Simon’s Town to St Helena Island, winning the multihull class in the Governor’s Cup Race.
Jeremy, 59, will be racing in the Golden Globe Race aboard one of the smallest boats in the fleet – an OE32. Olleanna used to belong to the Norwegian Golden Globe Race 2018 skipper Are Wiig, who was dismasted during a storm and sailed 400 miles under jury rig to Cape Town.
Jeremy Bagshaw has cruised with his family throughout the Indian Ocean, and has undertaken boat deliveries throughout the Indian Ocean, South Atlantic, Mediterranean, North Atlantic and Patagonia.
He has also chartered to Tierra del Fuego, and is inspired by the ‘rawness and beauty of the Southern Ocean‘.
‘I don’t have much solo offshore experience at all. I have several thousand miles of double handed experience so my 7,000 mile sail to the start line [of the Golden Globe Race] in Europe [Les Sables d’Olonne] will be a good training run for me,’ he told Yachting Monthly.
Why enter the Golden Globe Race 2022?
Jeremy Bagshaw: It just seemed like a good idea at the time that I saw Olleanna looking somewhat forlorn in the marina at the Royal Cape Yacht Club.
I was also looking for a challenge after selling our family’s cruising boat when it became apparent that the cruising lifestyle didn’t hold as much appeal for my family as it did for me.
What did you learn from the 2018 Golden Globe Race?
Jeremy Bagshaw: You cannot outrun weather systems easily in a boat that only does 6 knots on a good day! Preparation is paramount.
What storm tactics do you plan to use?
Jeremy Bagshaw: Every storm is different and tactics will have to be adapted to the circumstances.
Heaving-to may be an option in some conditions if I really need to rest, but generally, keeping the boat moving as fast as possible makes more sense to me.
Most of my offshore sailing has been done along the South African coast and in the South Indian Ocean so there has been plenty of opportunity to test a range of tactics.
What did you learn from the 2018 Golden Globe Race?
Jeremy Bagshaw: Experience at sea is the most important factor and age should not be seen as a barrier to success.
Why did you choose Are Wiig‘s OE32 for the 2022 Golden Globe Race?
Jeremy Bagshaw: I believe the OE32 has some very good design characteristics as proven by Are’s performance until his dismasting.
How are you preparing Olleanna for the 2022 race?
Jeremy Bagshaw: I have made some changes to the deck gear layout to reflect my sailing style and have reinforced the rig to better deal with knockdowns and roll overs.
What will your sail plan be?
Jeremy Bagshaw: The sail plan is quite conventional.
Have you finished your 2,000 mile qualifying passage for the race?
Jeremy Bagshaw: I haven’t yet done the qualifying passage but will be sailing 7,000 miles solo to the start of the race, of which the first 5,000 miles will be non-stop. I’m sure I will learn plenty on the way.
Are you looking to win or get round?
Jeremy Bagshaw: I’m definitely not there just to make up the numbers!
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?
Jeremy Bagshaw: Time will tell if this is a valid concern. I see the weatherfax as a bonus if it is useable.
My main aids will be my barograph and observation of clouds and sea state.
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?
Jeremy Bagshaw: There is only so much one can do to prepare strategy along the course.
There are sailing directions from the days of the Clipper and other trading vessels.
There is also some history from the 2018 race but the timing of the starts makes that of lesser usefulness [The 2018 Golden Globe Race started on 1 July 2018; the 2022 event will begin on 4 September 2022].
These give a rough guide to follow but with the changes in weather over the last few years, it will very much be a case of dealing with what you get, from the best position you can.
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How is your celestial navigation going?
Jeremy Bagshaw: Not too bad. I’ve taken a refresher course from a very capable sailor who uses the sextant often, and I have 7,000 miles to practice it daily to get a good routine going.
What self-steering set up are you planning on using?
Jeremy Bagshaw: I have a Windpilot Pacific.
It is the most suitable windvane steering system for my boat’s transom and will allow me to service and repair all parts of the unit from deck level, without having to get down to water level.
What antifouling will you be using?
Jeremy Bagshaw: Coppercoat
Are you confident you will be on the start line for 2022?
Jeremy Bagshaw: Yes, I will be there.
How many solo sailing miles have you sailed?
Jeremy Bagshaw: Around 500
Is coping with isolation an issue?
Jeremy Bagshaw: No, I enjoy my own company and the peace and quiet that goes with being alone on deck at sea.
How do you handle challenges while alone at sea?
Jeremy Bagshaw: I enjoy challenges.
There is a lot of satisfaction to be gained from solving problems, but a lot to be gained from not having problems to solve as well which is a sign of good preparation!
What will you miss while taking part in the race?
Jeremy Bagshaw: Colour. South Africa is a country where vibrant colour is part of daily life. And fresh vegetables.
What treat will you be taking?
Jeremy Bagshaw: Fruit cake
GGR 2018 was a celebration of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. The GGR 2022 is a celebration of Bernard Moitessier. What words of wisdom from Moitessier will you be following in the race?
Jeremy Bagshaw: I’ll be trying to emulate the harmony that he had with his boat and the ocean.
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