Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Countdown for Dubliner to Become First Irish Man to Sail Non-Stop Single Handed Round the World

1st February 2018
At 31, Gregor McGuckian he will be one of the youngest participants in the Race and will be one of only 200 people who have sailed solo around Cape Horn. At 31, Gregor McGuckian he will be one of the youngest participants in the Race and will be one of only 200 people who have sailed solo around Cape Horn.

Gregor McGuckin (31) is attempting the gruelling feat of becoming the first Irish man to sail non-stop single handed around the world using no modern technology in the upcoming Golden Globe Race.

In 150 days, Gregor will set sail from Les Sables D’Olonne, France in what is one of sailing’s most extreme races. Competitors are restricted to 1960s technology meaning no GPS, no FaceTime, no iPod and no Kindle.

As one of the youngest competitors, Gregor will compete against 24 other sailors using just a compass, the moon and stars to guide him around the world.

“To be the first Irish person to sail around the world solo non-stop will be an amazing achievement, but I wholly believe that I have skill and determination to win the entire race,” said McGuckin. 

Only 200 people have successfully sailed solo around Cape Horn, but for Gregor the biggest challenge will be surviving 270 days alone at sea and making sure that his boat can withstand the treacherous conditions.

Certainly, McGuckian, if he can complete the voyage, will join the ranks of few Irishmen to complete the solo circumnavigation – with stops and without – as has previously reported here

Side Profile Full sailGregor’s boat is a Biscay 36 Ketch, which is one of the most competitive models permitted.

“The greatest challenge will not only be surviving without seeing another human being for nine months but finding the funding to make sure my boat is competitive as possible and can withstand the most extreme of storms.”

Gregor will have to carry all his food for nine months and find ways to catch rainwater to drink. He’ll have a sealed box with GPS in case of emergencies, but if he opens it he’ll be instantly disqualified.

There will be no communication with the outside world, only occasional communications with boats within radio distance and a weekly check in with the race centre.

2018 marks the 50-year anniversary of the Golden Globe Race, and only the second time in history that such a race has been attempted.

The new Colin Firth movie 'The Mercy' (released next week) is based on the original Golden Globe Race and follows the tragic tale of Donald Crowhurst. See a trailer for the movie here.

Gregor McGuckin HelmingGregor McGuckin at the helm of his Biscay 36 ketch

Golden Globe Race

The Golden Globe Race is a solo, non-stop, unassisted round-the-world sailing race via the three Great Capes of the Southern Ocean.

2018 marks the 50-year anniversary and the second running of the Golden Globe Race when Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world.

This once-off event is unique as race entrants are restricted to using boats and equipment similar to that which was available for the original race in 1968.

During the race Gregor will navigate 30,000 miles solo non-stop without any GPS or other electronic instrumentation and will spend approximately 270 days at sea.

On completion, Gregor will become the first Irish person to complete a non-stop, solo circumnavigation of the world.

Gregor McGuckin

Raised in Goatstown, Gregor began sailing when studying Colaiste Dhulaigh. Originally a passionate windsurfer, Gregor moved to Mayo to pursue a career teaching watersports to children.

In 2013, Gregor moved to the south coast of the UK to train as a commercially endorsed Ocean Yachtmaster.

He’s logged approximately 50,000 miles as a yacht delivery skipper crossing the Atlantic and Indian Oceans many times.

At 31, he will be one of the youngest participants in the Race and will be one of only 200 people who have sailed solo around Cape Horn.

Out the water Gregor wavingGregor alongside his 36–foot ketch in Malahide

McGuckian's Boat

Gregor’s boat is a Biscay 36 ketch, which is one of the most competitive models permitted.

Currently, it is in Malahide Marina, Dublin and is being put through rigorous preparation and trials to ensure it is prepared for the journey ahead.

Published in Solo Sailing Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating