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Solo Ocean Racing diary

Who is going to helm and keep watching when skipper needs to sleep-was the biggest problem in the past, while sailing single-handedly for extended periods. This question was also potentially dangerous and intractable. So it is not surprising that solo sailing events are relatively a new part of Ocean Racing diary.

Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert George Hasler developed this race concept after he had invented the first wind vane auto-steering system, which enables yachts to maintain their course with no need for skipper to be hands-on 24 hours.

The first across an ocean solo race was ‘The Single Handed Trans-Atlantic Race’ which was held in late 1960. Sunday Times Golden Globe Race (held in 1968) however was the first solo circumnavigation non-stop race. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the only one who completed the race among nine participants, this made him the first man to circumnavigate the Globe, unassisted and non-stop.

Just like Robin Knox-Johnston, I am aiming to be the first Turkish skipper to successfully pass the finish line of a solo non-stop around the world race. And, of course, I will try my best to win the race! I work with the best teams for both mental and physical preparation. At this point, most important thing to increase my winning possibility is racing with a strong yacht. Specially developed for solo ocean racing like Class40s and Open50s

The interest in solo yacht sailing increased as technologies have developed. Today’s solo skippers are benefiting of electronic systems such as Satellite tracking, Global Positioning Systems and Satellite communications as well as helm and watch keeping technologies like AIS. To date, the auto-helm technologies first developed by Hasler are still in use.

There are many solo yacht races being held throughout the world today while there are 180 skippers who have completed a solo non-stop around the world races in total. I will highlight some of the best known and more interesting races:

1-The Vendée Globe

It is arguably the ‘Formula 1’ of solo yacht racing. With boats that use some of the latest technology available, it is a non-stop circumnavigation race. These competitive yachts can cost approximately over €3 million. This race is for established professional sailors, they have major sponsor(s).

2-The Global Solo Challenge

Performance characteristics defines the groups of boats and boats set off in these groups based on their formulated handicap. The format is much different from other round the world races and engages the public and sponsors to follow while makes it fair and exciting for the skippers.

3-The Golden Globe Race

It is the recreation of the 1968 race which was won by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. The boats are required to be designed before 1988. No electronic equipment are allowed apart from limited safety equipment for participants. Also participants have to kerp handwritten logs while using sexton and compasses and using paper charts!

4-The Route de Rhum

This race was established in 1978. It is a transatlantic race from St Malo in France to Guadeloupe and open to a variety of multi-hull and mono classes up to the IMOCA 60s.

5- The Transat CIC

This transatlantic race starts from Brest and finish line is at Charleston (USA) (3500 miles) The race is open to IMOCA 60 class boats.


Volkan Kaan Yemlihaoğlu

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