Five Around-the-World Yacht Races

Jessica Watson
Posted October 18 2015

There’s something about circumnavigating the globe that inspires sailors and drives them to push through the varied and challenging conditions they’re sure to encounter along the way. Here are five great races that provide sailors with the opportunity to take on the world.

Volvo Ocean Race

Known in its early days as the Whitbread Round the World Race, fully-crewed boats stop in at a range of ports, competing for individual leg wins and an overall point score.

Over the years, the yachts have changed drastically from long, thin hulls and ketch rigs to wide, flat surfing designs. Crews face incredible physical pressures, and only three all-female teams have competed in the race.

Vendée Globe

A solo, non-stop around-the-world race, the Vendée Globe is often considered the ultimate challenge. Sailing powerful Open 60s, the sailors race through hazardous southern waters under the great capes. An extraordinary feat of endurance, the race has produced incredible stories like Pete Goss’s Southern Ocean rescue of a fellow competitor from his upturned yacht and Yves Parlier’s unbelievable effort to singlehandedly repair and re-step his own mast.

Barcelona World Race

The Barcelona World Race is a double-handed around-the-world race undertaken in legs, much like the Volvo Ocean Race. Solo sailing is often assumed to be tougher but rather than taking some of the burden off, having a second crew forces the sailors to push themselves and the boats even harder.

Clipper Round the World Race

This race is as much an adventure as it is a competition, and many participants have no previous sailing experience before signing up. Like the Volvo and Barcelona races, the Clipper Round the World Race is comprised of a series of individual legs.

The race organisers supply identical 70ft yachts, levelling the playing field and ensuring that competitive ability sits squarely on the shoulders of the newly-trained sailors.

Golden Globe Race 2018

A recently announced retro around-the-world race, the Golden Globe 2018 has created a storm of excitement amongst sailors who yearn for the so-called “golden years” of sailing. The race will replicate and celebrate the original Golden Globe race that saw Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to sail solo, non-stop around-the-world in 1968.

The adventure-style race will see sailors turn their backs on modern technology and sleek yacht designs to sail boats similar to Robin’s 32ft Suhaili.

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