Scarborough sailor set to take on the sport's toughest challenge - a solo non-stop round the world race

A Scarborough-based sailor is preparing to sail 30,000 miles in a non-stop, solo, round the world race without the use of modern technology.

By Corinne Macdonald
Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 2:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 2:08 pm
Guy Waite out at sea. (Guy Waite)
Guy Waite out at sea. (Guy Waite)

Guy Waites, who began sailing 27 years ago will take part in the Golden Globe Race 2022 starting next September.

The challenge

The race, modelled after the Sunday Times Golden Globe Yacht Race which set off in 1968, departs from Les Sables d'Olonne in Western France and proceeds past the Canary Islands, around the cape of Africa, along to Tasmania, then on to Cape Horn at the bottom of South America before returning to France.

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Guy using a sextant. (Guy Waite/ Maeva Bardy)

Competitors in the race are limited to sailing similar yachts and using similar equipment to that which was available for the original event.

For Guy, who has completed five single-handed crossings of the Atlantic already, this particular challenge has meant brushing up on his navigation skills.

He said: "The ships will have satellite phones and tracking equipment for safety and in case of emergency.

"But I'll be navigating with a sextant, which is a type of instrument for celestial navigation.

Sagarmatha, which Guy will sail in the race. (Guy Waite)

"It's something I know how to do and have done but it's a skill that if you don't use it properly you lose it."

As well as the sextant, which measures the distance between an astronomical object and the horizon, Guy will also have an old fashioned long range radio.

He had the idea to enter the race whilst skippering in the Clipper Round the World yacht race in 2019.

As he was approaching China, the race was put on hold due to the unfolding pandemic and sailors were diverted to the Philippines where Guy met up with Don McIntyre, the founder and race chairman of the Golden Globe Race, who told Guy about a boat for sale.

The race route (Golden Globe Race 2022)

The boat

Sagarmatha, a Tradewind 35 ship, competed in the 2018 Golden Globe Race, and had previously been owned by Mr McIntyre.

Guy said: "It was the right boat at the right time at the right price.

"I've always been fascinated by solo sail adventures and races and this is about as big a sailing challenge as you can do."

He finally got to Panama in October 2020 where Sagarmatha had been docked and sailed her back to the UK.

"I knew what I was getting involved in," he explained, "She requires renovations and preparations, I have got a lot to do."

The longest Guy has spent alone at sea so far is 59 days, but this race will see him likely quadruple that with sailors expected to spend around 250 days at sea.

With no stops, meticulous planning is needed to ensure he has enough provisions to last the entire journey, including over 400litres of water.

Whilst the route is dictated by the race organisers, there will be some variation is the exact course each sailor takes, Guy explained.

He added: "The oceans are very large and empty in general. It's something I'm very confident with, happy in my own company."

The original race

The 2018 Golden Globe Race was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original event in 1968 which saw nine men set sail to attempt to become the first to sail solo non-stop around the world.

Organised by The Sunday Times, there was no entry fee, virtually no rules nor qualification requirements but in offering a trophy for the first person to finish and £5,000 prize money, the paper created an instant race and a great story to increase circulation.

There only finisher was Sir Robin Knox-Johnston with the other eight competitors either sinking, retiring or taking their own life.

Sir Robin founded the Clipper Round the World race, which Guy was competing in when it was put on hold due to the pandemic, diverting his attention to the Golden Globe Race.

Sir Robin said: "I am delighted to support Guy Waites’ entry in the Golden Globe Race 2022.

"Since the first solo non stop around the world race in 1968/9 fewer than 100 people have completed a singlehanded non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, to this day it remains the greatest and toughest of all sporting challenges.

"It is an event for proper preparation, a strong and stubborn mental attitude and stamina in the face of nature unleashed in the raw.

"I have known Guy for more than a year. We have worked together in the Clipper Round The World Race where Guy has proved himself, not just as a first rate sailor and seaman but an inspirational leader. Those are the attributes that will enable him to achieve this ultimate challenge in sailing.”

How to help

Guy is currently fundraising £50,000 towards the entry fees, compulsory items for the race and other items which will enhance it.

To donate you can visit his JustGiving page here.

To follow Guy's progress follow his Facebook page or website.

Guy is also hoping to work with local businesses who are interested in sponsorship and asks any who are interested to contact him through the Facebook page.