Kirsten takes the crown! HUGE Les Sables D’Olonne celebration. GGR 2022 Done! • Live Sail Die
Dateline: Les Sables d’Olonne, Sunday, 25th of June, 2023
- DAY 293: Prize giving of the Golden Globe Race 2022 in Les Sables d’Olonne, a fitting tribute to an extraordinary third edition.
- High emotions and gripping stories, as the skippers meet again in Les Sables d’Olonne for the first time since the start.
- Thousands met the skippers on the dock and in Les Sables d’Olonne with some GGR Yachts changing hands, and other entrants keen for a comeback in 2026!
- Emotional prize giving night around Golden Globe Race legends, Sir Robin Knox Johnson, Jean-Luc VDH and Kirsten Neuschäfer.
- Strong coverage into French and international media with impressive initial online media stats. The GGR stands on its own and captivates the interest of millions, sailors and non-sailors alike.
In the history of sailing one event changed everything. The Golden Globe Race sits high in the mind of all sailors and one man, Sir Robin Knox Johnston, winner of the first edition in 1968 has inspired tens of millions ever since. He was the first ever to complete a solo, non stop, unassisted circumnavigation in the first ever around the world yacht race. The second 2018 GGR presented another sailing hero to the world, French sailing hero Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, taking the crown at 73 years of age!
Today, South African sailor Kirsten Neuschäfer climbs into the record books and takes the crown as the latest winner of the GGR, in what is now firmly recognised the world over, as the the most demanding exploit and human challenge for any individual, in any sporting event on the planet. Kirsten is also the first woman to ever win an around the world yacht race of any type, crewed or solo, with stops or without! With over 250,000 miles of ocean sailing experience, an adventurous background and able to speak many languages, she is inspiring millions around the globe through her GGR adventure.
The city and community of Les Sables d’Olonne put on a celebration befitting the achievements of all 16 sailors who set out 293 days before. Only three finished, Kirsten Neusthfer (ZAF), Abhilash Tomy (IND)- Bayanat and Micheal Guggenberger (BE) NURI, but all who entered are heroes in their own way. With the celebration stage set facing the ocean looking out across one of the top 100 beaches of the world, thousands of Les Sables and international fans packed the forecourt to follow the presentations. When done, a concert party kept the fun alive well into the night ! It truly was an exciting time and an exceptional party for all!
“This third edition of the GGR was another true adventure with an unknown outcome and a display of real human spirit and courage. Every day was a new story that kept millions around the world captivated. I thought we would see half the fleet finish, but it was not to be! The GGR family of followers , sailors and non-sailors around the world has grown dramatically in this edition and the support from Les Sables d’Olonne has been a major factor in this. ” Don McIntyre Founder and Race Chairman.
GGR sailors back to Les Sables d’Olonne!
Emotions and camaraderie ran high as the skippers started gathering from all corners of the globe earlier this week, welcomed by Yannick Moreau, Mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne and President of LSO Agglomération. It was the first time they were all in the same place, nearly a year since the start of the Golden Globe Race on September 4th 2022.
They developed strong camaraderie and friendships at the Les Sables GGR village before setting out into the unknown. The depths of that friendship increased during hundreds of days on the high seas with their SSB HF radio conversations and even rescue in the Southern Oceans! They are all friends for life!
GGR skippers meet the public, boats on display and some for sale for 2026!
With the Enjoy Ocean Festival happening at the same time as the GGR Prize giving, the “Ponton du Vendée Globe” was quite a sight for sailor and non-sailors alike, as the small, long-keel, pre-1988 GGR yachts were surrounded by voluminous Class 40’s and beast looking IMOCA 60’s of the Vendee Globe. While the Enjoy Festival enabled the public to go for a sail, sometimes for the first time and experience the same exhilarating feeling as the skippers of the racing machines.
“It’s a fantastic celebration of the sea and ocean racing. The beautiful yachts on display this weekend on the dock show how far naval architecture has gone in the last 35 years, and how those little yachts, and skippers like Robin Knox Johnston, Jean-Luc Van den Heede and Kirsten Neuschäfer who are paving the way for others across oceans and around the world. ” Sébastien Delasnerie, GGR Race Director
Thousands walked the dock and met the skippers at their boats and after the prize giving, a busy and sunny Saturday afternoon, similar to the one in September as they prepared to set off to follow a dream and prove something to themselves during the solitude , psychological pressure and all the oceans during the longest sporting event in the world.
Some boats changed hands, ready to go around again for the 2026 edition, some are still for sale, including circumnavigating yachts from Guy Waites’ Sagarmatha, Simon Curwen’s Clara and the GGR winner, Kirsten Neuschäfer’s Minnehaha.
Interest is strong in the 2026 edition and places are filling fast. The GGR is now closed for Rustler 36 yachts where all seven available entries have been filled. Interestingly two leading 2022 yachts are not on the market, Damien Guillou’s Rustler 36 PRB in the shed and Pat Lawless’ Saga 36 Green Rebel, with both skippers keen to come back, should the stars align for a 2026 entry!
All skippers at the start of the GGR received a Golden Globe, and all skippers having completed a circumnavigation within the event including Simon Curwen (GBR) and Jeremy Bagshaw (ZAF) sailing an exemplary circumnavigation in the one-stop Chichester Class received an historic piece of Bernard Moitessier’s Joshua’s hull cut out from her recent refit.