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Knox-Johnston investigates causes of mast flips and breakages on GGR circumnavigation

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Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who back in 1968 during the first Golden Globe race became the first man to sail solo around the world without stopping, is going to analyse all the capsules and mast breakages during the 2018 GGR. And to make his conclusions public after the regatta is over.

The need for such a study became clear after another accident in early December, resulting in the evacuation of British participant Susie Goodall . Many in the yachting community wondered if such an unusual race was safe.

So far five boats have been left without masts and three rescues have been conducted. Fortunately unlike the 1968 race no one was killed, however there have been tragic pages in the history of the Golden Globe.

Apart from the fact that the participants of the GGR are not allowed to call at port or accept assistance, even the boats themselves («the same as those that took part in the 1968 regatta») 50 years later are not to be trusted. The more so because this last condition defines not only the specific technical characteristics of the ship, but also, among other things, the refusal of GPS, radar, modern radios and any electronics. Opponents of the regatta believe that yachtsmen should not intentionally expose themselves to such a risk, especially since in case of an emergency they have to be rescued at someone else's expense.

« The vessel of 40 thousand tons displacement costs 10 thousand bucks a day. It takes two days to reach the rescued person, a day for the rescue operation and two more days to return to the route. That 's a total of $50k. The expenses for rescheduling and rescheduling of the destination port, cargo delays and so on are beyond estimation. At whose expense is this banquet? <...> Sooner or later, someone will have to pay for this madness. And it probably won't be the people who are causing the problem»," says a sailor from the sailing boat Tiger Lilly, whose post has been translated in the Russian Cruising Club community.

«On the other» side of the barricades are the defenders of the spirit of adventure and freedom. It is only logical that GGR organiser Don McIntyre is among them.

« During any voyage, the skipper of any boat can turn around and go to any port at any time. He/she is in control of his/her destiny. Whatever the Golden Globe organizers decide, I assure you: it will not affect any boaters at sea. They will continue to do so. They love it. Without exception, every GGR skipper is a very experienced sailor who is aboard a well-trained boat. They have all voluntarily, enthusiastically agreed to take on this challenge. They are not there for the glory or the money, but to test themselves in search of adventure»," he says in his post on the regatta blog.

He recalled that with the same motivation as the participants of the regatta, every day ordinary people all over the world go to sea on ordinary boats. But now they have a new and unique opportunity to learn from the example of GGR sailors.

« Just look at the results of the recent Route du Rhum transatlantic singles race. 35% of the fleet pulled out of the event after just one storm. Modern design, recent developments in composite hull construction, and satellite communications technology did not keep these boats from breaking down, losing their mast, and being rescued. But all is well with slow, well-built boats, traditional ways of navigating and high safety standards that the Golden Globe Race»," he continued.

It is not only the professionals and amateurs putting out to sea who will be learning from this year's regatta, but the race organizers as well. According to McIntyre, the regatta will be repeated in 2022 and if the organizers have taken a responsible approach to this event, they will be doubly attentive to the next one.

« No one should or can ever kill the spirit of adventure in people»," McIntyre said.
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