A life long sailor, Jeremy Bagshaw has spent much of his time sailing and racing double handed. He shares how he has prepared for the solo 2022 Golden Globe Race

Jeremy Bagshaw may be sailing the smallest boat in the Golden Globe Race fleet, but his OE 32, Olleanna is light, which he hopes will give him an edge when sailing up and down the Atlantic.

The South African skipper bought the double ender in Cape Town, and has spent months refitting her. Olleanna used to belong to the Norwegian Golden Globe Race 2018 skipper Are Wiig, who was dismasted during a storm and sailed 400 miles under jury rig to Cape Town.

‘It was a simple decision to buy Olleanna,’ explained the 59-year-old lifelong sailor. ‘I admired the boat’s lines, she has a long waterline, is nice and light and she was available in Cape Town.’

Although she had been prepared for the 2018 Golden Globe Race, the dismasting meant she was in the hands of an insurance company. Consequently, the boat has been stripped of nearly everything down below.

An OE32 boat with a blue hull sailing

Jeremy Bagshaw says he is ‘very confident with the rig’, after it was sent away for additional strengthening just months before the race start. Credit: Nora Havel/GGR

‘She was like a shell down below. Any of the original furniture was in an awful condition and I basically had to start from scratch. I did a tremendous amount of the refit work myself so I do feel that I know every nut and bolt on the boat,’ explained Bagshaw, who has cruised throughout the Indian Ocean and chartered in Tierra del Fuego, and has delivered boats throughout the Indian Ocean, South Atlantic, Mediterranean, North Atlantic and Patagonia.

Olleanna now has a new Sparcraft mast, which was sent back to the factory a few months before the start for additional reinforcing and strengthening. All controls lines for the sails come aft into the cockpit, although Bagshaw still has to go to the mast to adjust his reefing and halyard lines.

She also has oversize cockpit drains and reinforced points for clipping on, as well as a tiller comb, which means Bagshaw doesn’t have to have his hand on the tiller all the time. A 1 rand coin, minted in 1969, the year Sir Robin Knox-Johnston won The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, has also been sunk into the tiller for luck.

Golden GLobe race skipper Jeremy Bagshaw wearing a blue cap

Jeremy Bagshaw sailed Olleanna from Cape Town to the start line at Les Sables d’Olonne, giving him plenty of experience sailing the OE32 solo. Credit: Nora Havel/GGR

Due to the boat’s transom, he has opted to use Windpilot self-steering gear; this will allow him to replace or service any part of the windvane steering without having to get off the boat.

Bagshaw began sailing aged six, in the family’s old plywood Optimist dinghy. He raced Optimists at three World Championships before moving on to two person dinghies like Enterprises and Fireballs, and then Lasers.

He raced offshore while at university, including the IOR racer Charger 33, in the 1985 South Atlantic Race from Cape Town to Punta Del Este in Uruguay.

More recently, he has co-skippered with friend and team manager Frans Loots, racing a home-built Farrier 31 trimaran from Simon’s Town to St Helena Island, winning the multihull class in the Governor’s Cup Race.

‘I have always liked the idea of small boats, and Olleanna is easy to manage, and is lighter than all the other boats in the fleet so she does not require a lot of energy to get her moving and keep her moving.’

As for storm tactics, Jeremy Bagshaw subscribes to the Vito Dumas and Bernard Moitessier way of thinking – keep the boat moving.

‘Coming from a dinghy sailing background, I am used to keeping the boat moving as fast as possible. I am certainly not in drogue camp,’ noted Bagshaw.

Golden Globe Race skipper Jeremy Bagshaw sailing while wearing sunglasses

Jeremy Bagshaw has plenty of racing experience, having competed in dinghies and keel boats. Credit: Macmedia2021/ Simon McDonnell

Why enter the Golden Globe Race 2022?

Jeremy Bagshaw: It just seemed like a good idea at the time that I saw Olleanna looking somewhat forlorn in the marina at the Royal Cape Yacht Club.

I was also looking for a challenge after selling our family’s cruising boat when it became apparent that the cruising lifestyle didn’t hold as much appeal for my family as it did for me.

What did you learn from the 2018 Golden Globe Race?

Jeremy Bagshaw: You cannot outrun weather systems easily in a boat that only does 6 knots on a good day! Preparation is paramount.

A tiller comb on a boat

Olleanna has a tiller comb, allowing Jeremy Bagshaw to step away from the tiller. Credit: Katy Stickland

What storm tactics do you plan to use?

Jeremy Bagshaw: Every storm is different and tactics will have to be adapted to the circumstances.

Heaving-to may be an option in some conditions if I really need to rest, but generally, keeping the boat moving as fast as possible makes more sense to me.

Most of my offshore sailing has been done along the South African coast and in the South Indian Ocean so there has been plenty of opportunity to test a range of tactics.

What did you learn from the 2018 Golden Globe Race?

Jeremy Bagshaw: Experience at sea is the most important factor and age should not be seen as a barrier to success.

Jeremy Bagshaw on his boat during the 2022 Golden Globe Race

Jeremy Bagshaw believes his OE 32 will be competitive in the race; the boat is also the lightest in the fleet. Credit: Nora Havel/GGR

Why did you choose Are Wiig‘s OE32 for the 2022 Golden Globe Race?

Jeremy Bagshaw: I believe the OE32 has some very good design characteristics as proven by Are’s performance until his dismasting.

How are you preparing Olleanna for the 2022 race?

Jeremy Bagshaw: I have made some changes to the deck gear layout to reflect my sailing style and have reinforced the rig to better deal with knockdowns and roll overs.

What will your sail plan be?

Jeremy Bagshaw: The sail plan is quite conventional.

Jeremy Bagshaw on the deck of his boat

Jeremy is one of two South African skippers to have entered the 2022 Golden Globe Race. Credit: Macmedia2021/ Simon McDonnell

Are you looking to win or get round?

Jeremy Bagshaw: I’m definitely not there just to make up the numbers!

For this race there will be no HAM radio transmissions allowed only registered, licensed maritime-approved HF Single Side Band (SSB) Radio, with discussions limited to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) weather. Weather Fax will be allowed for the race. Some of the 2018 Golden Globe Race skippers raised concerns about picking up GMDSS in the Southern Ocean. Do you share these concerns?

Jeremy Bagshaw: Time will tell if this is a valid concern. I see the weatherfax as a bonus if it is useable.

My main aids will be my barograph and observation of clouds and sea state.

Jeremy Bagshaw standing in the cockit of his boat

All the control lines for the sails on Olleanna are led aft into the cockpit. Reefing and halyard lines have to be trimmed at the mast. Credit: Macmedia2021/ Simon McDonnell

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede consulted meteorologists and studied the weather to choose the best route which helped him make early gains in the 2018 race. Do you plan to do the same?

Jeremy Bagshaw: There is only so much one can do to prepare strategy along the course.

There are sailing directions from the days of the Clipper and other trading vessels.

There is also some history from the 2018 race but the timing of the starts makes that of lesser usefulness [The 2018 Golden Globe Race started on 1 July 2018; the 2022 event will begin on 4 September 2022].

These give a rough guide to follow but with the changes in weather over the last few years, it will very much be a case of dealing with what you get, from the best position you can.

The OE32 Olleanna

Jeremy Bagshaw favours the storm tactics of Vito Dumas and Bernard Moitessier – keep the boat moving. Credit: Nora Havel/GGR

How is your celestial navigation going?

Jeremy Bagshaw: Not too bad. I’ve taken a refresher course from a very capable sailor who uses the sextant often, and I have 7,000 miles to practice it daily to get a good routine going.

What self-steering set up are you planning on using?

Jeremy Bagshaw: I have a Windpilot Pacific.

It is the most suitable windvane steering system for my boat’s transom and will allow me to service and repair all parts of the unit from deck level, without having to get down to water level.

What antifouling will you be using?

Jeremy Bagshaw: Coppercoat

Jeremy Bagshaw down below on his boat

Jeremy Bagshaw began sailing at the age of six, and has sailed most of the oceans of the world. Credit: Nora Havel/GGR

Are you confident you will be on the start line for 2022?

Jeremy Bagshaw: Yes, I will be there.

How many solo sailing miles have you sailed?

Jeremy Bagshaw: Around 500

Is coping with isolation an issue?

Jeremy Bagshaw: No, I enjoy my own company and the peace and quiet that goes with being alone on deck at sea.

A man wearing a cap sailing

Jeremy Bagshaw carried out a lot of the work himself to prepare Olleanna for the 2022 Golden Globe Race. Credit: Macmedia2021/ Simon McDonnell

How do you handle challenges while alone at sea?

Jeremy Bagshaw: I enjoy challenges.

There is a lot of satisfaction to be gained from solving problems, but a lot to be gained from not having problems to solve as well which is a sign of good preparation!

What will you miss while taking part in the race?

Jeremy Bagshaw: Colour. South Africa is a country where vibrant colour is part of daily life. And fresh vegetables.

Olleanna was dismasted in the last race, and was completely refitted and strengthened for the 2022 race. Credit: Nora Havel/GGR

Olleanna was dismasted in the 2018 Golden Globe Race race, and was completely refitted and strengthened for the 2022 race. Credit: Nora Havel/GGR

What treat will you be taking?

Jeremy Bagshaw: Fruit cake

GGR 2018 was a celebration of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. The GGR 2022 is a celebration of Bernard Moitessier. What words of wisdom from Moitessier will you be following in the race?

Jeremy Bagshaw: I’ll be trying to emulate the harmony that he had with his boat and the ocean.

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