The Swan 55 Galiana sailing in the open ocean

Galiana will be sailing in the Adventure Class in the 2023 Ocean Globe Race. Credit: Ville Norra

The Ocean Globe Race will follow the same route as the 1973 Whitbread Race (for many sailors the ‘original’ crewed around the world race) and those taking part will have to use similar yachts and equipment.

The Ocean Globe Race is comes from the organisers of another retro race the 2018 and 2022 Golden Globe Race – a solo non-stop around the world race in traditional boats designed to emulate the original Golden Globe Race.

Designed to mark the 50th anniversary of the inaugural 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race, the event will be run along similar lines as the Golden Globe Race with no modern equipment.

The eight-month race will follow the route of the original 1973 race. Only approved fibreglass production yachts designed before 1988, and between 47ft-66ft, will be allowed to take part and there will be no computers, no satellites, no GPS, and no high-tech materials.

Like the 1968-69 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the 1973 Whitbread was also won by the least expected to win. Mexican Ramón Carlin skippered his Swan 65 Sayula II to first place, helped by a crew of family and friends.

When will the Ocean Globe Race start?

The Ocean Globe Race is expected to start in Europe on 10 September 2023 and will have 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.

Entries are limited to 30 boats. Only approved ocean voyaging yachts between 47ft and 68ft, will be allowed to take part in the three classes.

Nautor Swan production yachts that fall within the age/length parameters are currently approved. The Adventure Class will be opened for yachts between 47ft-56ft, the Sayula Class is for 56ft-66ft yachts and the third, Flyer Class will be open to original entries from the first three Whitbread Races (1973-4, 1977-78, 1981-82), together with Cass surveyed production sail training yachts.

On each leg, the crew must consist of at least one Ocean Yachtmaster, one Yachtmaster, one woman and one crew under the age of 24. Only 30% of the crew can be classified World Sailing Group 3 Professionals. All other crew must be equivalent to World Sailing Group 1 Amateur status.

Each leg of the race must be completed without the use of modern technology.

Approved items include: desalinators, refrigeration, non-interfaced basic electronic sailing instruments, stand-alone paper print weather fax, basic non-GPS radar, marine HF SSB radio, non-GPS Digital cameras, electric clocks and headsail furling.

For emergencies, the crew will be allowed to carry a GPS chart plotter/AIS Man Over Board plotting and locating system with sealed screen for emergency use only by authorised crew, AIS transponder and alarm, radar transponder and alarm, two SOLAS life rafts (150% crew capacity), standard operating procedures document for MOB, fire, dismasting, steering loss, grounding, serious injury, jury rig and other emergencies. The crew will all have to complete jury rig, MOB and emergency steering trials.

Crews will be banned from using GPS, electric autopilots, sat phones for private use, HAM radio transmissions, carbon fibre or other high tech materials used in sails, rigging, spars etc, spinnaker socks, Code 0 furling, iPhones, iPads and computers (although they can be all sealed onboard for crew use in ports only) and digital music (cassette tapes only).

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