On July 31, Gregor McGuckin crossed the symbolic line of the equator in undramatic fashion. His chosen route, west of the fleet as they head towards South Africa, is paying dividends and sees Hanley Energy Endurance currently in 7th place in a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.

AIS Aug 2

Aug 1: Hanley Energy Endurance lying 7th

The race route is east-about, starting and finishing in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France. Eighteen sailors from 13 countries crossed the starting line on July 1 in a 30,000-mile, 8-9-month race that will take the fleet southwards down the Atlantic, through the Indian and Pacific oceans, around Cape Horn and northwards through the Atlantic back to France.

Three entrants have already retired for personal or gear failure reasons and another two have had to seek outside assistance, moving them into the ‘assisted class’. Rules of this fiftieth anniversary of the Golden Globe Race disallow modern technology and only allow minimal comforts.

“Gregor is doing fantastic. He has settled into life onboard and his performance now reflects that,” remarked McGuckin’s campaign manager, Neil O’Hagan. Highlights to-date include catching a tuna and having it in the pan within 15 minutes, and two swims while becalmed off the coast of Africa.

Tactical decisions will play a major part in boat positioning when the fleet rounds the Cape of Good Hope, first crossed in modern times by the Portuguese explorer, Bartholomew Dias in 1488.

In September, a national primary school’s programme is being launched to follow the race and learn about the ocean. This has been produced by CJ Fallon and the Marine Institute and will be delivered for free to every primary school in Ireland and will be available online.