French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede won the Golden Globe around-the-world yacht race after sailing for a massive 212 days in the sea for 30,000 miles, all alone, and without any modern technology or the benefit of satellite-based navigation aids. What is remarkable is that he achieved this feat at the age of 73. With this win, he has also set a record for the oldest skipper to circumnavigate across the world solo.
The race started in July 2018, with a total of 18 sailors and only four others remained when Van Den Heede emerged victorious. Van Den Heede, with his yacht, Matmut, appeared in fantastic condition after the victory.
Van Den Heede is a renowned sailor and holds many records to his name. He is a five-time circumnavigator and has been the runners up in four previous solo world races. He also holds the record for the fastest solo west-about non-stop circumnavigation against the winds.
What is the Golden Globe race?
The 2018 Golden Globe race celebrates 50 years since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s iconic non-stop navigation across the world in 1968-69. Participants are required to start at Les Sables-d’Olonne in France, sail across the five Great Capes of the world and return. Interestingly, they are required to have the equipment and yachts similar to those used by Sir Robin in the original race. Also, sailors are not permitted to use any modern technology, such as satellite-based navigation aids, other than safety equipment. In short, this event pays a tribute to the ‘Golden Age’ of sailing, in which technology had no role to play and seamanship was considered of primary importance.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was also there to witness Van Den Heede’s win and congratulate him on this fantastic achievement.
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