What should we do this weekend, go to the movies or sail a handmade raft to Polynesia?

The Joshua, one of the boats that competed in the original Golden Globe Race. (Photo by Jean-Pierre Bazard via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0).

Three week ago 17 skippers left the French port of Les Sables d’Olonne, all trying to circumnavigate the globe solo and with no technological assistance. The first (and only other) Golden Globe Race was in 1968. The race director for the 2018 edition, Don McIntyre, is not a man who shies away from a challenge — an understatement if there ever was one. The appropriately named Maggie Shipstead has all the detail in Outside.

McIntyre, an Australian, has made a colorful career for himself seeking out and facilitating adventure. In the 1980s, he started marine equipment importing and yacht-building businesses to fund his own participation in the BOC Challenge, a solo circumnavigation race with stops. McIntyre was second in his class in 1990. After that, he started running and guiding tourist trips to Antarctica; currently, he and his partner have a long-term lease on an island in Tonga, where they run whale swimming trips. McIntyre’s initial concept for the Golden Globe reboot, which first occurred to him in 1995, had been simpler: He would sail around himself for the 30th anniversary. At the time, he was spending a year in an 8×12-foot hut on Antarctica with his then wife. “I was sitting there in the box in the middle of winter thinking, what’s next, what’s next?” McIntyre said. He made plans and designed a boat, but life got in the way. He missed the 40th anniversary as well when he chose instead to recreate Captain Bligh’s 3,600-mile Pacific journey in a 24-foot open boat. These things happen.

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