Golden Globe Race officials met with the FFV yesterday (14 December) to discuss the operation, safety and security of the race ahead of its start from Les Sables d’Olonne on July 1st 2018
Following the news last week that the 2018 Golden Globe Race rules did not meet the regulations of the French Federation de Voile (FFV), the two organisations met to discuss the future of the race.
The officials of the 2018 Golden Globe Race have released a statement following their meeting with the full board of the FFV on Thursday (14 December) to discuss all aspects of the organisation, operation, safety and security considerations for race, starting from Les Sables d’Olonne on July 1st 2018.
They released a statement saying: “Discussions were cordial and very productive. It was agreed at an early stage of the meeting that all participants in the room have sailing at heart and hold great respect for the spirit and essence of the original Golden Globe Race as the foundation for all current around the world solo sailing.
The GGR organisers respect the FFV’s position and were happy for the opportunity to present their case that serious and professional consideration has been given to producing responsible safety, security and risk minimisation for this challenging adventure, recreating the original 1968 Golden Globe.
The FFV also explained that they must work within current legislative requirements of both the French Government and World Sailing. They suggest that the 2018 Golden Globe may be more of an adventure and maritime event than a true yacht race. In principle, the FFV is not against the event, understand that the 2018 Golden Globe Race is recreating history and want to promote the heritage of solo sailing.
The FFV will asses the new amendments to the Notice of Race that the GGR organisers presented at the meeting and will make a statement on their position early in the new year.”
The FFV (Fédération Française de Voile/French Sailing Federation) has announced that the rules for the Golden Globe Race, set to start from Les Sables d’Olonne on July 1st next year, do not meet their regulations, thus the event cannot start and end in France.
The vice president of the FFV, Henry Bacchini, told the French news website, acu.fr, that the organisation of the race “does not fit at all, at all, in all the necessary safety, health, etc. processes”.
He added that the Golden Globe Race is a “completely random and dangerous test”.
Don McIntyre, the Chairman of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, said of the announcement: “We have opened discussions with the FFV and have already changed some critical elements of the Rules, and are working hard to accommodate all their suggestions. We have a meeting with the FFV set for December 14 to discuss these issues so I am at a loss to understand why the FFV would go public before that meeting.”.
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Jean-Luc van den Heede, who has completed five solo circumnavigations, and is a competitor in the Golden Globe Race, said: “I have some experience with races that everyone predicted would be impossible, dangerous, suicidal etc. During the build-up to the first Mini Transat Race which started from England in 1977, the French skippers were very much targeted by the French Maritime Affairs who wanted to prevent us from competing. It was hardly better in the second edition …until the race became French, and a few years later, Mr Le Pensec, the Minister of the Sea, started the race.
During the first Vendée Globe Race the ‘specialists’ also predicted the worst, but look what this event has become today. At the time, the FFV was not responsible for this type of competition, but now in 2017, the rules that the Federation want to apply are made for modern boats equipped with the latest technology. We will have the latest technology in terms of safety, but our boats are old and have proven themselves over decades. I very much hope that the FFV will relax some rules, because our slow boats do not create a danger to shipping. “
The race will see up to 30 skippers will sail single-handed around the world without the aid of modern technology.
The event is intended to be a recreation of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, in which Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation.
Competitors will have to navigate and sail using the same equipment available to the original 1968-69 competitors, although they will be equipped with a satellite phone, which has GPS disabled, to provide daily updates and interviews with race control.
Each boat will also include a satellite tracking device, from which the skipper will not be able to access a GPS position.
For safety, they will also carry a sealed box containing a chart plotter and another satellite phone. If they are forced to break into the box, the competitors will be able to continue in the race, but within the ‘Chichester Class” as if they have made one stop.
The Golden Globe Race 2018 was supposed to start in the UK but after event organisers failed to secure financial backing, it was decided that the event will start in France instead.