HomeNEWS2023 Ocean Globe Race - Southampton as start and finish port

2023 Ocean Globe Race – Southampton as start and finish port

Ocean Globe Race

When Don McIntyre decided in 2015 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ever Whitbread crewed race around the world, it had to start in the UK. That’s where the Whitbread story began.

He did the same thing when deciding to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race which also started from the UK. Sadly no support came from British ports so the 2018 GGR went to Les Sables d’Olonne in France (home of the Vendee Globe) where it was welcomed with open arms and strong investment that generated US$185m in media returns. The third edition GGR2022 is due to finish there in a few weeks.

Until now it looked like the Ocean Globe Race was going the same way. In an October 2022 press release announcing Cape Town, Auckland and Punta Del Este as the OGR stopover ports and after years of trying, OGR announced that ‘sadly UK ports are not interested in hosting the start and finish of this epic adventure and historic occasion’. Final discussions were underway with European ports for the hosting rights.

Fortunately that statement was picked up by a large corporate entity with UK connections. They felt strongly that the OGR should stay in the UK. At the same time MDL Marinas wanted to save the event for the UK as a celebration of their own 50th anniversary. They were passionate about bringing this iconic sailing race back to Southampton and their Ocean Village Marina, the home of so many previous Whitbread races. A deal was struck with both parties and now Ocean Village Southampton is the home of the OGR! This is a huge win for the UK that has seen other significant events move to Europe.

On 10 September 2023, over 160 sailors will depart Ocean Village onboard the 15 yachts to complete the four leg, 30,000 mile race around the world via the three great capes; Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, and South America’s notorious Cape Horn. Onboard the privately-owned, pre-1988 classic sailing boats, the international, mixed-gender crews will have no GPS, no high-tech equipment and no computers. They will navigate using only a sextant, paper charts and the stars with all communications by HF SSB radios. They will return in April 2024.

The OGR is a 27,000-mile sprint around the globe, spread across four legs, taking in the Southern Ocean and the three Great Capes. Credit: OGR2023

Six of the yachts competing have taken part in one or more of the Whitbread races (including the first French yacht to ever win the Whitbread) to which they are now paying homage. One of the most notable is Tracy Edwards’ Farr 58 Maiden. In 1990, Tracy triumphantly brought home the first ever all-female Whitbread crew onboard Maiden to Ocean Village Marina. At the time, it was estimated that almost 50,000 people came to witness this momentous event, which helped to turn the tide on women’s participation in sailing.

website: oceangloberace.com

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