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Whitbread sailors excited about Ocean Globe 50th Anniversary Reunion

2023/4 Ocean Globe fully crewed retro race - Copyright Free for Editorial use only. Memories last forever! Fifty years of life-defining adventure coming off the wall for a grand celebration. Creighton's Naturally crew (1989 - 90 Race ) Credit: Amanda Paradine

Ocean Globe Race Countdown 38 Days!

  • Excitement builds for OGR Whitbread Veterans’ Reunions in Southampton and Auckland with Vets flying in from around the world.
  • Veterans search through attics and old albums for photos, footage and memorabilia of their Whitbread Race.
  • Crews from Sayula, Flyer II, Creighton’s Naturally, Adventure, Norsk Data GB, Burton Cutter and Liverpool Enterprise are just a few of those attending.
  • Save the date: 17:30 hr – 5th September, Race Village, MDL Ocean Village, Southampton. Auckland Whitbread Reunion, 12th January 2024.

There’s been an enormous response to the Whitbread Veterans’ Reunion – celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Whitbread Round the World Race. An exceptional evening of memories, old photos, race footage, expert commentary, and the opportunity for old friends and rivals to relive their racing days is planned. The call is still out for all veterans to join the party! 

Julian Morris, who crewed on Creighton’s Naturally in the 1989/90 race, is one of the many Whitbread veterans attending the reunion. He reminisces about the race:

It was at times everything – amusing, significant, terrifying, and bizarre. The best part was making the friendships that 35 years later are still going strong.

Julian Morris, crewed on Creighton’s Naturally in the 1989/90 race

The first Whitbread was an adventure like no other in the world of sailing. On 8th September 1973, 17 yachts crewed by those determined to live a life less ordinary set sail from Portsmouth to take on a unique challenge. The Whitbread Round The World Race was born.

On its 50th anniversary, the OGR and McIntyre Adventure are celebrating this epic feat by bringing together those sailors who dared to dream and take on the oceans.

OCEAN GLOBE RACE 2023 – COPYRIGHT FREE for Editorial Use only. Surfing down the waves in the Southern Ocean onboard Norsk Data GB (1985-86 Race ) . Credit: Philip McDonald

And it’s all about their stories.

In those days, lifejackets and harnesses were not integrated. We did wear harnesses most nights and in rough weather. I only remember putting my lifejacket on once in a force 12. We smashed our HF radio in a knockdown off Cape Horn, so only had a tiny military man-pack HF set, which performed brilliantly on Morse and sometimes voice, no meteo though, Walker patent log, sextant, and Admiralty sight reduction tables and a chronometer presented by Seiko.

Major (retired) Andrew Whitfield, who sailed on leg four on board British Soldier in 1973/74

Forty days without washing!

a standout memory for Simon Miles, (Creighton’s Naturally 1989/90).

Amanda Paradine, who ran Creighton’s Naturally boat office, described working with the team as the “best days of my life”.

It was wonderful to be part of such an exciting, inspirational event. The Creighton’s Naturally project was like a family really and it will be great to see old friends at the ‘quiet little drink’ on 5th September.

Amanda Paradine who ran Creighton’s Naturally boat office

The first iceberg we saw was behind us!

Nicholas Parker of (Liverpool Enterprise 1989/90) recalls
OCEAN GLOBE RACE 2023 – COPYRIGHT FREE for Editorial Use only. The crew of Liverpool Enterprise 1989/90 battling the oceans.  Credit: Nicholas Parker.

This is all really exciting for us to see these original Whitbread sailors embracing this event and hearing their stories. This is where it all began. No one was paid, all the teams were struggling to make the start and now looking back 50 years the one theme, I see is comments like…the experience changed their lives forever or it set them up for life.

Don McIntyre, OGR Founder and race chairman.

Philip McDonald was a 23-year-old doctor onboard Norsk Data GB (1985/86) – formerly Great Britain II – which had participated in the previous three races. His skills were called upon on numerous occasions during the race.

OCEAN GLOBE RACE 2023 – COPYRIGHT FREE for Editorial Use only. Philip stitching his own face after a winch handle rebounded resulting in his tooth going through his lip. His steady hands have left him scar free. The Lea & Perrin sauce was not used in the procedure (1985-86 Race ). Credit: Philip McDonald
OCEAN GLOBE RACE 2023 – COPYRIGHT FREE for Editorial Use only. Philip attended crew mate Alan Bruce who was suffering from suspected appendicitis on leg one. He was treated with IV antibiotics so Philip avoided performing surgery at sea. Credit: Philip McDonald

Physician, heal thyself became reality when, as the only medic on board, I had to suture my own face using a mirror and without anaesthetic.

Philip McDonald, a 23-year-old doctor onboard Norsk Data GB (1985/86)

Ken Gale won a Whitbread competition, where he worked repairing the beer transfer pumps at the brewery, to crew onboard Creighton’s Naturally.

It gave me a life-changing opportunity. I saw an advert on the notice board in the maintenance fitters’ mess room about a year before the race. Dressed in green overalls, I’m thinking, I’m going to do that! The race inspired and motivated me greatly. I learned my pants went on the same way as everyone else’s. The sea is a great leveler.

Ken Gale, crew onboard Creighton’s Naturally.

Golden Globe solo sailor, Tapio Lehtinen, says it was his participation in the 1981/1982 Whitbread onboard Skopbank of Finland that has inspired his entry into the OGR onboard his stunning Swan 55 Galiana WithSecure FI (06).

The big boys said that the best part of the Whitbread was between the legs. I did enjoy the Southern Ocean with its rollers and albatrosses. I got addicted to it. That’s the reason for sailing in the GGR and entering the OGR with a young team.

Tapio Lehtinen, 1981/1982 Whitbread, 2018, 2022 Golden Globe Race and Ocean Globe Race 2023 Sailor
OCEAN GLOBE RACE 2023 – COPYRIGHT FREE for Editorial Use only. The crews joked that all you won at the end of the race was a can of beer (1985-86 Race ). Credit: Philip McDonald
OCEAN GLOBE RACE 2023 – COPYRIGHT FREE for Editorial Use only. Butch onboard the 1973 winning Mexican yacht Sayula II. A half-century ago. Credit: Butch Dalrymple-Smith

Former Whitbread skipper and OGR patron Sir Chay Blyth and Barry Pickthall aka Mr Whitbread will MC the evening, sponsored by Boatshed International. Three-time Whitbread entrant Brian Hancock and Butch Dalrymple-Smith, who in 1973 crewed aboard the winning Mexican yacht Sayula II, will be speaking at the reunion and join the OGR team providing running commentary and opinions during the entire OGR.  

The reunion is also the perfect opportunity for the crew of the 14 yachts taking part in the OGR to meet and gain some inside knowledge before slipping lines on September 10th from MDL’s Ocean Village Marina, Southampton UK for the start of their own epic adventure. 

If you’re a Whitbread Veteran, you’re invited to the reunion! Please click HERE

And if you can’t make it on the night but would be happy for us to display some photos, footage or race memorabilia, please drop me a line on jac



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