Around the World Alone

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Jean-Luc Van Den Heede takes first in the 2018 Golden Globe Race

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede takes first in the 2018 Golden Globe Race

The original Golden Globe Race—officially titled the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race— kicked off in 1968 with a fleet of nine solo entrants set on a course to circumnavigate the globe alone and without stopping. By the time the race was over, one boat had sunk, six others had retired, and one sailor tragically committed suicide. Only one sailor, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, finished the race.

Despite those grim statistics, the race was the impetus for other solo nonstop sailing races, such as the BOC Challenge and the Vendée Globe.

Last year in July, a fleet of 18 different sailboats—all 36 feet in length or smaller— got underway with the same solo, nonstop mission to celebrate the 50 anniversary of the original, groundbreaking and heartbreaking race. The only catch? No modern technology is allowed onboard, unless the gear is safety-related. That means no GPS, no Sat Nav, nothing. Break out your sextants, skippers.

After seven months of sailing, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede finished on January 29 in his Rustler 36 sailboat. Two days later, on January 31, Mark Slats finished. Four other sailors are still at sea, including Uku Randmaa and Istvan Kopar. At press time, Kopar was within 500 miles of the finish line and Randmaa was 3,100 miles from completing the race, though he is quickly running out of food.

The race was met with some criticism after at least three boats dismasted and others retired for personal reasons. You can keep track of the remaining two sailors and learn more about the race by visiting the 2018 Golden Globe Race website