IN JUST UNDER 150 days, a Dublin native is setting out to become the first Irishman to sail solo around the world non-stop, using no modern technology.

Taking part in the Golden Globe Race in July, Gregor McGuckin, aged 31, will set sail from Les Sables D’Olonne, France in an attempt to survive 270 days alone at sea.

McGuckin will compete against 24 other sailors using just a compass, the moon and stars to guide him around the world.

Competitors are restricted to 1960s technology and won’t be permitted to use GPS systems or any technology.

He will have food for nine months on board and will have to find ways to catch rainwater to drink.

Speaking to, McGuckin said that he has no major incentive for taking this major journey, and said that he sees it as his next step in his sailing life.

McGuckin began sailing during his time at college. From there, he went to England to secure qualifications to sail bigger boats and spent a number of years sailing across the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

Now, he said that this race is “the ultimate challenge”.

“To be the first Irish person to sail around the world solo non-stop will be an amazing achievement,” he said.

Gregor McGuckin Helming

Gregor McGuickin Source: Gregor McGuckin Racing


Only 200 people have successfully sailed solo around the world, but McGuckin said that he has spent months preparing his boat to make it as resilient as possible in anticipation of treacherous conditions. He will be using a Biscay 36 Ketch, one of the most competitive models permitted.

“I wholly believe that I have the skill and determination to win the entire race,” he said.

Participants will only be permitted to use a mobile phone to send weekly updates to the race’s headquarters. They will only be able to contact their families and friends through a long-distance radio, however, oftentimes the signal won’t be strong enough to carry calls.

Every participant will also have a sealed box with a GPS so that the headquarters will be able to track them in case of emergencies, but if they open it they will be instantly disqualified from the race.

Out the water, Gregor waving

The boat McGuckin will be using to sail around the world Source: Gregor McGuckin Racing

McGuckin said that he’s been too busy preparing for his time away to be nervous about being alone at sea for so long.

“It’s just been 24/7 preparations, it’s been non-stop. I’m sure after a couple of weeks, or even a couple of days, it’ll start hitting home pretty hard. The circus of the build-up will be over and I’ll be on my own very, very suddenly,” he told 

He did note, however, that he’s been considering how difficult it will be to manage his boredom during his journey.

“Boredom can be one of the biggest killers on these long distance things. I’ll bring a few books with me, some hobbies, I’ll bring my guitar and some songbooks,” McGuckin said.

“The thing is, there’s always stuff to be doing on the boat, so you’re never completely bored but it’s nice to have a release.”…


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Sailing solo around the world with no modern technology
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