McGuckin Spends 32nd Birthday Alone at Sea during Golden Globe Race


Wednesday, 15 August, marks Gregor McGuckin’s 32nd birthday. The solo sailor is now 45 days into what could be a 270 day non-stop voyage around the globe onboard his 36ft yacht Hanley Energy Endurance.

McGuckin is currently making his way east in the South Atlantic, headed for the Cape of Good Hope, the first of the three great capes he will round as part of the Golden Globe Race. The race marks 50 years since the first successful solo non-stop circumnavigation by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Sir Robin was 28 years old when he set sail in 1969 and took 312 days to complete the race.

The Golden Globe Race competitors are largely limited to the technology that was available when Sir Robin set sail, meaning no GPS, no watermakers, no weather routing and no modern forms of communication. McGuckin’s yacht, Hanley Energy Endurance, is older than he is, she was launched in 1984, two years before McGuckin was born.

Speaking about Gregor’s birthday, his Campaign Manager, Neil O’Hagan, said:

“Gregor is a very social guy so today will be hard for him. If he’s lucky, he might get speaking to a passing ship or some of his competitors, but there will be no party, no calls to his family and friends and no break from tending to his yacht Hanley Energy Endurance. The shore crew snook on some birthday cards and presents so hopefully he finds them.”

If successful with his voyage, McGuckin will be the first Irish person to sail alone non-stop around the planet. First, he must cross the Indian Ocean, then the Pacific, and then complete the final leg back up the Atlantic and into France.

Primary school book publisher CJ Fallon and the Marine Institute have teamed up to create an Ocean Literacy resource book for teachers to track the race and learn about our oceans. Every primary school and teacher will have free access to the resources online and schools will receive packs directly to help them follow this epic adventure.

McGuckin is part of a new breed of Irish offshore solo sailors. His race is being supported by a number of Irish companies led by Hanley Energy, an award-winning data center solution innovator, headquartered in Ireland with many global operations. Anyone wishing to give a gift to Gregor, the GoFundMe page is still open to donations. 

    Gregor McGuckin and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston ahead of the start of the Golden Globe Race

Gregor McGuckin and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston ahead of the start of the Golden Globe Race

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Wish Gregor Well

In the space of just a week, both President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have given their support to Gregor McGuckin ahead of his solo non-stop sailing lap of the planet as part of the Golden Globe Race.

President Michael D Higgins wrote to Gregor to wish him well on behalf of the people of Ireland. The letter was delivered to Gregor and read out in the presence of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail alone non-stop around the world in Falmouth last week.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joined the President by Tweeting his support for Gregor.

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On 1 July, Gregor McGuckin will set sail onboard Hanley Energy Endurance in the non-stop race against 17 other competitors. The race can be tracked live for the 8 to 9-month duration of the race and through CJ Fallon and the Marine Institute, a national primary school programme is being launched to follow Gregor and learn about the ocean.

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Blackthorne International Transport back Gregor McGuckin on his Golden Globe Race Challenge

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Press Release | 19 June

12 days to start of Irishman's solo circumnavigation start

With the start of the Golden Globe Race just 12 days away Gregor McGuckin Empowered by Hanley Energy have announced the support of Blackthorne International Transport.

On 1 July McGuckin sets sail from Les Sables d’Olonne to compete in the gruelling Golden Globe Race that will see 18 solo sailors attempt to race alone, non-stop around the world without modern technology. If successful Gregor will be the first Irish person to complete this challenge.

Speaking about the announcement Gary O’Grady, Managing Director of Blackthorne International Transport, said:

“Blackthorne is delighted to support this incredible adventure. What Gregor is doing is inspirational and through the CJ Fallon educational programme he will help engage the next generation to consider such challenges. At Blackthorne International Transport we deliver goods around the world using state of the art technology, to see Gregor setting sail with little to no modern technology is inspirational to all of us at Blackthorne and we wish him well.”

McGuckin, added:

“The addition of Blackthorne International Transport to the team is fantastic. They have an amazing attitude and their support will be essential to getting us to the starting line. While they operate globally, Blackthorne has strong Irish roots which makes it a really nice fit.”

“We hope to attract even more support during the race, it’s never too late and I’m lucky to have a strong shore team through Team Ireland that will ensure all partners and sponsors get the most out of the project when I’m at sea.”

The race marks 50 years since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the first person to achieve what was once thought to be impossible. The 2018 edition of the race will see sailors navigate with the stars and the sun, catch rainwater to drink, and forgoes modern forms of communication such as internet. Visit for more.

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Notes to the Editor

To arrange an interview with Gregor or Gary O’Grady please contact Neil O’Hagan on +353864095225 or email

For more on Gregor McGuckin Empowered by Hanley Energy see

For more on Backthorne International Transport see