1968-69: First Solo Globe-Circling Race
The Sunday Times of London sponsors the Golden Globe, the first single-handed, nonstop race around the world.
On June 14, 1968, Robin Knox-Johnston, 29, one of nine starters, sets out from Falmouth, England. Almost ten months later, Johnston returns to Falmouth as the winnerand the lone finisher.
1972-73: The Golden Globes Offspring
Inspired by the Golden Globe, Englands Whitbread corporation and the British Royal Naval Sailing Association establish the Whitbread Round the World Race.
The first Whitbread will cover some 27,000 nautical miles (31,070 miles/50,000 kilometers) in four legs. On September 8, 1973, 17 crewed yachts begin the race. Nine months later 14 boats cross the finish line. Three racers have been lost at sea.
1979: The Fastnet Turns Deadly
This year Britains Fastnet Racethe largest ocean race yet, with 303 entriesproves disastrous as 17 people die and 24 boats sink when the fleet is hit by a squall along the courses southern route. At the conclusion of the race, the committee devises new regulations to improve the safety and seaworthiness of oceangoing yachts, an idea that extends to the around-the-world races.
1982: A New Breed of Ocean Racer
The British Oxygen Corporation (BOC) sponsors a solo around-the-world race called the BOC Challenge. The course includes three stops Cape Town, South Africa; Sydney, Australia; and Rio de Janeiro, Braziland begins and ends in Newport, Rhode Island.
The boats for the first BOC Challenge are designed with automated winches, autopilot helms, and other automated aids. French diver Philippe Jeantot, in Credit Agricole, a 56-foot (17-meter) sloop, wins the race in 159 days, 2 hours, and 26 minutes11 days ahead of his closest competitor. It is the fastest solo circumnavigation yet. Jeantots boat was lighter, faster, and easier to handle than his competitors.
1989: One Man, One Boat, First Home
Philippe Jeantot, the winner of the first BOC Challenge, develops the Vendée Globe race. Its motto: One man, one boat, first home. On November 26, 13 boats start the nonstop race from Les Sables-dOlonne, France. Frenchman Titouan Lamazou returns in 109 days, 8 hours, and 49 minutes later.
2001: Going the DistanceFaster
Britains Ellen MacArthur becomes the fastest woman to sail around the world, completing the Vendée Globe course in 94 days and 3 hours. In October, American Steve Fossett, racing only against the clock, breaks the trans-Atlantic sailing record on his 125-foot (38-meter) catamaran, Play Stationsmashing the previous record by almost 44 hours.
On September 23, eight boats begin the first Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) in Southhampton, England.