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Melissa Payne Takes the Helm for Golden Globe Race

25th February 2021
CEO Melissa Payne has 25 years of experience in the sporting/event World, from production, technical and commercial project management.
CEO Melissa Payne has 25 years of experience in the sporting/event World, from production, technical and commercial project management.

Following a 12 month Media blackout with respect to the Global Pandemic, The 2022 Golden Globe and 2023 Ocean Globe Races are now back in the news with a permanent office opened in Les Sables d’Olonne, France and a major Media appointment to the management team. The Golden Globe Race currently has 28 entrants from 11 countries and the Ocean Globe Race 26 entrants from 17 countries, including Ireland.

The entry list includes Pat Lawless from Limerick as Afloat previously reported.

Don McIntyre founder of the Ocean Globe Race (OGR) and the Golden Globe Race (GGR) announced today in Les Sables d’Olonne, that former senior IMG executive Melissa Payne, is now officially Chief Executive Officer (Media) for the two, historic, round-the-world sailing events.

Payne, who left IMG last year after 20 years, was previously Vice President, Head of Technical Services and also Head of Sailing/ Nautical Sports at IMG Media. During her time at IMG, she worked on two America’s Cups, the World Match Racing Tour, Extreme Sailing Series, the Volvo Ocean Race and the H20 series.

Her new role will oversee all media requirements for the two events, including sponsorship, media sales, production and distribution. She is currently in the process of assembling an experienced team, to work across both events. The GGR starts in Sept 2022 and the OGR in Aug 2023 - marking the 50th anniversary of the original Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race.

Don McIntyre founder of the Ocean Globe Race (OGR) and the Golden Globe Race (GGR).Don McIntyre founder of the Ocean Globe Race (OGR) and the Golden Globe Race (GGR)

Don McIntyre, also Race Chairman of the GGR and OGR, said: “ This appointment kick starts our event promotions following a 12-month delay due to Covid. We are really excited to have Melissa and her team onboard. She comes with a huge amount of knowledge and is passionate about all sports, but, in particular, sailing. She brings an impressive track record to the table and understands the value of our unique retro events, which focus on the human story, adventure and extraordinary challenges, for ordinary, not elite, sailors.”

Payne said: “Sailing has always been my passion and these are two incredibly exciting and tough races that will capture the imagination of sailors and non-sailors, across the globe. For me, it’s great to have an opportunity to look after projects from a 360° stand-point and look to secure the widest possible exposure and success, for both events.”

She added: “There will be a number of different sponsorship opportunities for brands and companies to become involved with, in both the GGR and OGR, each of which has its own unique appeal; and, I am extremely excited to be working alongside Don and his team.”

Robin Knox-Johnston, winner of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Photo: PPLRobin Knox-Johnston, winner of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Photo: PPL

The Golden Globe Race is the original round the world yacht race, where, in 1968, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the only sailor to complete the first, solo, non-stop, round-the-world sailing race. In 2018, in celebration of 50 years since that first record-breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It returns again in September 2022 from Les Sables d’Olonne.

'Sayula II' skippered by Ramon Carlin, returning to Portsmouth to win the first Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race 'Sayula II' skippered by Ramon Carlin, returning to Portsmouth to win the first Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race Photo: PPL 

The Ocean Globe Race is a fully crewed, retro race, in the spirit of the 1973 Whitbread round-the-world Race and marks the 50th Anniversary of the original event. Starting in Europe in September 2023, the OGR is a 27,000-mile sprint around the Globe. Encompassing four legs, which take in the Southern Ocean and three great Capes.

Payne joins three other key personnel, Sebastien Delasnerie (Joint Media Director), Aida Valceanu (Public Relations and Major Events OGR) and Jane Zhou ( Finance and Admin).

Published in Golden Globe Race
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About the Golden Globe Race

The Golden Globe Race is the original round the world yacht race. In 1968, while man was preparing to take his first steps on the moon, a mild mannered and modest young man was setting out on his own record breaking voyage of discovery. Off shore yacht racing changed forever with adventurers and sailors, inspired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, following in his pioneering wake. Nine men started the first solo non-stop sailing race around the World. Only one finished. History was made. Navigating with a sextant, paper charts and an accurate and reliable time piece, Sir Robin navigated around the world. In 2018, to celebrate 50 years since that first record breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It instantly caught the attention of the worlds media as well as adventures, captivated by the spirit and opportunity. The original race is back.

The Golden Globe Race: Stepping back to the golden age of solo sailing

Like the original Sunday Times event back in 1968/9, the 2018 Golden Globe Race was very simple. Depart Les Sables d'Olonne, France on July 1st 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Les Sables d'Olonne. Entrants are limited to use the same type of yachts and equipment that were available to Robin Knox-Johnston in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite-based navigation aids.

Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 and having a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. These yachts will be heavily built, strong and steady, similar in concept to Robin's 32ft vessel Suhaili.

In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this edition travels back to a time known as the 'Golden Age' of solo sailing. Suhaili was a slow and steady 32ft double-ended ketch based on a William Atkins ERIC design. She is heavily built of teak and carried no computers, GPS, satellite phone nor water-maker, and Robin completed the challenge without the aid of modern-day shore-based weather routing advice. He had only a wind-up chronometer and a barograph to face the world alone, and caught rainwater to survive, but was at one with the ocean, able to contemplate and absorb all that this epic voyage had to offer.

This anniversary edition of the Golden Globe Race is a celebration of the original event, the winner, his boat and that significant world-first achievement. Competitors in this race will be sailing simple boats using basic equipment to guarantee a satisfying and personal experience. The challenge is pure and very raw, placing the adventure ahead of winning at all costs. It is for 'those who dare', just as it was for Knox-Johnston.

They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand-write their logs and determine the weather for themselves.

Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow.

It is now possible to race a monohull solo around the world in under 80 days, but sailors entered in this race will spend around 300 days at sea, challenging themselves and each other. The 2018 Golden Globe Race was a fitting tribute to the first edition and it's winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Background on Don McIntyre (61) Race Founder

Don is an inveterate sailor and recognised as one of Australia s greatest explorers. Passionate about all forms of adventure and inspiring others, his desire is to recreate the Golden Age of solo sailing. Don finished 2nd in class in the 1990-91 BOC Challenge solo around the world yacht race. In 2010, he led the 4-man Talisker Bounty Boat challenge to re-enact the Mutiny on the Bounty voyage from Tonga to West Timor, in a simil

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