Low tech sailing around the world with limited modern sailing technology and equipment, Irish sailor prepares to sail in Golden Globe Race
Ireland is 32,595 square miles and has over 3,000 miles of coastline, and one amateur sailor from Dublin is setting sail and going global in just a few short months in hopes of becoming the first Irish person to sail non-stop around the world with no help from modern technology.
Gregor McGuckin, 31, is the one and only Irish competitor in the 2018 Golden Globe Race, which starts in July.
This event is unlike other boating competitions, as entrants are limited to only the same kinds of yachts and technological equipment that was available to entrants in the original Sunday Times event half a century ago.
“It also means no mobile phone, no Kindle and no MP3 player,” said McGuckin.
Participants will, however, have access to a mobile phone in order to relay weekly updates to the headquarters of the race. They’ll be able to contact their friends and families through a long-distance radio, but there are many times when the signal won’t be strong enough to carry a call.
Furthermore, participants will have access to a sealed box containing a GPS for emergencies, but opening the box is grounds for immediate disqualification.
Preparing for Sailing Around the World
McGuckin will have to carry food supplies and harvest rainwater during his nine-month excursion. He has also become partners with a publisher arranging an education program for primary school students that is “designed to engage children in the Golden Globe Race adventure and the marine environment.”
There are six steps to de-winterizing a boat:
- check the oil
- check the battery
- drain the cooling system and hoses
- top off the fuel tank, check belts
- check safety equipment (anchor, floatation devices, radio, fire extinguisher, etc.)
Fortunately, McGurkin recently underwent a complete refit of his boat, a Biscay 36 ketch, at Malahide boatyard, ensuring it’s prepared for its July departure from Les Sables D’Olonne, France.
Afloat Magazine calls the Global Globe Race “one of sailing’s most extreme races.” There are certainly other ‘extreme’ sports that have competitions, such as motorcycling, in which 38% of riders participate in AMA-sanctioned competition. However, this race differs from many others due to the simple fact that it’s completely devoid of modern technology.
As of now, only 200 people have singlehandedly sailed around Cape Horn, but McGuckin says one of his biggest obstacles will be surviving the 270 days he’ll be alone at sea and left to his own devices — or lack thereof.
“The greatest challenge will not only be surviving without seeing another human being for nine months but finding the funding to make sure my boat is competitive as possible and can withstand the most extreme of storms,” he said.
McGuckin is also continuing to search for more sponsors or partners to support his endeavor.
“I am working flat out to make my ultimate goal a reality. It will be a challenge like nothing I have done before and I am throwing myself completely into it,” he said. “To be the first Irish person to sail around the world solo non-stop will be an amazing achievement, but I wholly believe that I have skill and determination to win the entire race.”
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