• NauticExpo e-Magazine - #12 - Easy Boating - NauticExpo e-Magazine

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    Easy Boating

    For numerous seafarers, “easy boating” sounds almost like a four-letter word, far from the notion of maritime adventure. Yet, innovative electronics and materials have transformed sailing in unprecedented ways. In our 12th issue, you’ll find a selection of top gear worth a close look, while learning how connected shipping is reshaping industry habits. If you’re looking for Adventure with a capital A, the Golden Globe Race 2018 is for you. As a tribute to Robin Knox-Johnston’s non-stop, single-handed circumnavigation in 1968-69, competitors will sail around the globe without any high-tech help.

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    GGR 2018 competitors will sail without the aid of computers, GPS systems or satellite phones.
    Back to the basics (Courtesy of onEdition)

    Emphasizing hands-on, low-tech sailing, the Golden Globe Race 2018 (GGR 2018) takes circumnavigation back in time.


    Nearly five decades have passed since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston won the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, becoming the first man to sail solo and nonstop around the planet.

    Next year will see a flotilla of wind-powered craft follow in the British yachtsman’s wake, as 30 sailors compete in the 2018 edition, a nautical marathon celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Knox-Johnston’s amazing 1968 voyage.

    Starting from Plymouth on June 30, 2018, competitors will sail a course covering about 30,000 miles (48,000 kilometers). They will pass through four rendez-vous “gates” and round the Cape of Good Hope, Australia’s Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn, before returning to the British departure port.

    Putting the Spice Back into Sailing

    As a tribute to Knox-Johnston, whose teak yacht Suhaili lacked the high-tech gadgetry of today’s advanced monohull vessels, GGR 2018 competitors will sail without the aid of computers, GPS systems or satellite phones. They will use sextants and paper charts, make log entries manually and determine the weather by eye and experience.


    Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (Courtesy of onEdition)

    “Only a handful of GGR 2018 sailors knew about celestial navigation when they entered the race, so many have had to learn or relearn the technique,” says race founder and organizer Don McIntyre, who sailed solo around the world in the 1990 BOC Challenge Race. “These same sailors will also be licking their fingers and sticking them into the wind.”

    They will use sextants and paper charts, determine the weather by eye and experience.

    It is now possible to circumnavigate in under 80 days. But participants in the GGR 2018, which is more about human against nature than human against human, will spend over nine months at sea in their simpler, less-equipped boats. Knox-Johnston’s feat took 312 days.

    “For those used to sailing with iPods and iPhones, it will certainly be a paradigm shift,” says McIntyre. “I call it putting the spice back into sailing. In this race, there are no cutting-edge materials making yachts go fast, no sophisticated electric autopilots steering straight courses, no satellite navigation and weather forecasts telling competitors where they are and where to go.”

    Low-Tech Thrills

    We are now in a world where superyachts can be sailed by one man with a touchscreen. According to McIntyre, this kind of high-tech, hands-off development is symptomatic of a wider trend shaping our lives.

    “I call it flat lining,” says the Australian. “The whole civilized world is geared up to it. You get hot, you turn the air conditioner on. You get cold, you turn the heater on. All of a sudden, the highs and lows of life disappear as you head for that comfortable middle line. And then some people get bored.”

    The type of non-digital equipment GGR entrants will carry aboard (Courtesy of Tim Bishop/PPL)

    The type of non-digital equipment GGR entrants will carry aboard (Courtesy of Tim Bishop/PPL)

    McIntyre believes the trend toward automation in sailing has advantages, but that it also can detract from the thrill of being out on the open ocean.

    “The tech lets a lot more people get out on the water comfortably and safely, which isn’t a bad thing,” he says. “But there is a certain satisfaction and purity in doing something all by yourself, safely overcoming a challenge using your own brain and wit. Getting out and having a go. I think we all need this to truly feel alive.”

    Back to the Basics

    The 29 men and one woman taking part in the GGR 2018 have each paid a US $2200 entry fee. Competitors hail from 11 countries, including Brazil, India, Palestine and Russia. This eclectic group, boasting a mix of ages, professions and characters, is united by one common thread—a craving for raw adventure.


    PICTURES OF YESTERYEAR: COPYRIGHT RESERVED Historic. Circa 1968: Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world aboard his 32ft ketch SUHAILI. Knox-Johnston returned on 14th of June 1968 completing the 30,123 mile voyage in 313 days, averaging 4.04 knots. PHOTO CREDIT: KNOX-JOHNSTON ARCHIVEPPL TEL: +44 (0)1243 555561 FAX: +44 (0)1243 555562 Email: ppl@mistral.co.uk

    1968: Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world aboard his 32ft ketch SUHAILI. (Courtesy of KNOX-JOHNSTON ARCHIVE PPL)

    “This is all about man and woman against the elements,” says McIntyre. “These are all guys who could not sleep the moment they heard about the race. They want to go back to basics, not pilot the fastest, fanciest 60-foot ocean racer that effectively sails itself.

    “The participants in the GGR 2018 know they are rewriting history,” continues the veteran sailor. “Their accomplishments will be all theirs. They won’t belong to a computer or the sailor with the most money. In our automated age, Golden Globe sailors are true pioneers in the spirit of Robin Knox-Johnston.”

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    Michael Halpern

    Michael Halpern is a US-born and bred writer with experience in radio. He has lived in southern France for 15 years. He is our in-house NauticExpo anglophone translator.


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    Daniel Allen

    Daniel Allen is a writer and a photographer. His work has featured in numerous publications, including CNN, BBC, The National Geographic Traveller.

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    Kevin Green

    Kevin Green is a Sydney-based yachting journalist who contributes to international boating publications.


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    Celia Sampol

    Journalist for 13 years in Paris, Brussels and Washington, Celia Sampol is the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine.

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    Tony Slinn

    Formerly editor-in-chief of IHS Maritime, Tony Slinn is an independent maritime journalist.

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    Samantha Fisk

    Samantha Fisk worked at RINA for 7 years and has now gone into freelance for European magazines.

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    Ludovic Nachury

    Journalist and innovation enthusiast for more than 10 years, Ludovic Nachury is VirtualExpo e-magazine’s editor-in-chief.

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