Sussex sailor set for round-globe challenge

Tim Newson
Tim Newson
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West Sussex sailor Tim Newson is to compete in the Golden Globe race.

This single-handed, non-stop round-the-world race will start from Falmouth in June 2018.

I find all the different things you have to do and think about when sailing a boat really rewarding – despite the cold and wet.

Tim Newson

This race has remained the pinnacle of sailing endurance since Robin Knox-Johnson won it in 1969, taking 312 days to complete. It hasn’t been held since.

The 50th anniversary re-run of the race will be on similar boats to Knox-Johnson’s Suhali, being only 32 to 36ft in length with only 60s technology permitted, so no GPS.

Newson, based at Dell Quay Sailing Club, will be using his race to promote craftsmanship and other values inherent in such a challenge.

While other round-the-world races take less than three months to complete, competitors in the Golden Globe race will spend about five months alone in the harsh Southern Ocean before heading north back to Falmouth. The race in total will take around nine months.

“Just to get to the start line of this race will take a vast enterprise. Once under way shaping the sails to catch the wind is a craft that requires constant attention. My boat will also need regular maintenance and repairs to keep her moving swiftly. Then there’s the navigation without electronic aids, using just the Sun and stars to find our way. It’s going to be a real adventure”, said Newson, who went to school in Petworth and Midhurst.

The GGR has already proved popular, with all 25 places taken within a few weeks. Newson is seeking advice from meteorologists, ocean racers, naval architects to assist him with his campaign.

Work has already started on the refit of his race boat, called Black Sheep, and the search has begun in earnest for a business partner and sponsor. The objective is clear – to win, but also inspire as many as people as possible along the way.

“For nine months I will be alone at sea. There is very little room for mistakes and it is going to be incredibly tough at times. I will need a robust philosophy. Unless I can take comfort from my work I will simply never complete the course. I find all the different things you have to do and think about when sailing a boat really rewarding – despite the cold and wet. Above all my work and my routine will keep me going. I want to do this race to advocate importance of loving what we do, of finding work that fulfils us. Good work enables us to overcome adversity,” said Newson.

Newson has completed more than 6,000 miles at sea, many of those while working as a sailing instructor. This June he will depart from Falmouth for a 1,600-mile sail to Tromsø in Arctic Norway, providing the first real solo test for Newson.

From there Black Sheep will be used as a sailing school. The training programme also includes two solo Atlantic crossings before the start of the Golden Globe race.

Newson’s boat, Black Sheep, a Baba 35 designed by Bob Perry, was built in 1981. It has one of the longest waterlines and has the biggest sail area allowed in the race. He says she should be very competitive.

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