Ocean Village Southampton, home of several Whitbread races, is now home to the Ocean Globe Race! Credit: Ocean Village Southampton
OGR announces Ocean Village Southampton UK as start and finish port
When Don McIntyre decided in 2015 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ever Whitbread crewed race around the world, it had to start in the UK. That's where the Whitbread story began.
He did the same thing when deciding to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race which also started from the UK. Sadly no support came from British ports so the 2018 GGR went to Les Sables d'Olonne in France (home of the Vendee Globe) where it was welcomed with open arms and strong investment that generated US$185m in media returns. The third edition GGR2022 is due to finish there in a few weeks.
Until now it looked like the Ocean Globe Race was going the same way. In an October 2022 press release announcing Cape Town, Auckland and Punta Del Este as the OGR stopover ports and after years of trying, OGR announced that 'sadly UK ports are not interested in hosting the start and finish of this epic adventure and historic occasion'. Final discussions were underway with European ports for the hosting rights.
Fortunately that statement was picked up by a large corporate entity with UK connections. They felt strongly that the OGR should stay in the UK. At the same time MDL Marinas wanted to save the event for the UK as a celebration of their own 50th anniversary. They were passionate about bringing this iconic sailing race back to Southampton and their Ocean Village Marina, the home of so many previous Whitbread races. A deal was struck with both parties and now Ocean Village Southampton is the home of the OGR! This is a huge win for the UK that has seen other significant events move to Europe.
"I am absolutely thrilled to have an anonymous partner and MDL onboard for the 2023 Ocean Globe Race and starting from Ocean Village in Southampton is a personal dream for me. Now, in September, the UK public and sailors everywhere will be able to celebrate an important part of their maritime culture with a true recreation of those first amateur sailors racing into the unknown!"
On 10 September 2023, over 160 sailors will depart Ocean Village onboard the 15 yachts to complete the four leg, 30,000 mile race around the world via the three great capes; Africa's Cape of Good Hope, Australia's Cape Leeuwin, and South America's notorious Cape Horn. Onboard the privately-owned, pre-1988 classic sailing boats, the international, mixed-gender crews will have no GPS, no high-tech equipment and no computers. They will navigate using only a sextant, paper charts and the stars with all communications by HF SSB radios. They will return in April 2024.
Six of the yachts competing have taken part in one or more of the Whitbread races (including the first French yacht to ever win the Whitbread) to which they are now paying homage. One of the most notable is Tracy Edwards' Farr 58 Maiden. In 1990, Tracy triumphantly brought home the first ever all-female Whitbread crew onboard Maiden to Ocean Village Marina. At the time, it was estimated that almost 50,000 people came to witness this momentous event, which helped to turn the tide on women's participation in sailing.
"What better way to celebrate MDL Marina's 50th anniversary than to join forces with Don McIntyre to bring the Ocean Globe Race to life to celebrate the iconic Whitbread Round the World race as it also turns 50.
By hosting the start and finish of this retro edition of the historic race at our Ocean Village Marina, we're hoping to recreate the jubilant atmosphere of the early races, welcoming crowds of supporters, capturing the imagination of visitors and inspiring the next generation of round the world sailors.
Working closely with Southampton City Council and McIntyre Adventure it's an honor and privilege to be part of this event, building on Southampton's already proud maritime heritage. And there's plenty of opportunities for businesses, both marine and non-marine, to be front and centre of all the action at the Race Village."
The Race Village at Ocean Village Marina will open on 26 August 2023, two weeks prior to the start of the race on 10 September. During the run up to the start, the Race Village will host speakers, pre-race activities, past race screenings, hospitality and entertainment as well as the media centre and sailors' briefing area.
"This is very good news indeed! I am delighted to hear that the 50th anniversary celebration of the first Whitbread is starting out of Ocean Village. This OGR will be a great race and huge adventure and tribute to all those original Whitbread sailors."
This is a chance for all UK sailors and yacht clubs to show they want and support these major events by heading out to the start, visiting the race village or volunteering to help the organisers make the event even bigger!