Norwegian to sail Alone Around the World with the Golden Globe Race-Interview
Norwegian Are Wiig is no stranger to offshore sailing having finished 2nd in class in the 1988 OSTAR with his 30ft yacht Granada. He all together covered more than 30,000 miles in that boat before buying a sistership to the 56ft multihull Umupro Jardin, winner of the 1984 OSTAR. A boat in which he sailed to win several shorthanded and fully crewed races in his native Norway. He is now preparing for his biggest challenge yet. The Golden Globe Race Redux in 2018.
Mr. Wiig welcomes me onboard Olleanna, her name pays tribute to its designer, in the port of Havnevik in the south of Norway were he is preparing the boat for the Race. Born in 1959, when the Hiscocks and Smeetons were the marquee cruisers of the decade. As a young man, tales from the original Golden Globe Race must have made a mark in Mr. Wiigs mind. If he succeeds, he will be the first Norwegian to sail non stop around the world alone. In a country of legendary seafarers, that will be no small feat.
Anyone who has ever laid eyes on the typical Scandinavian double ender can tell they were made for offshore sailing. The coastline of Sweden gave Olle Enderlein (1927-1993) a challenging body of water to test his designs. Enderlien, known among insiders in the yachting world "as the man who drew such beautiful boats". A quote given to him by the author of "Beautiful boats sail well: Yacht Designer Olle Enderlien" by Ingrid Kaijser. Enderlien, trained as an engineer, is said to have expressed: "I stopped working when I started designing boats". Mr. Enderlien, who led a quiet life away from the public eye, went on to design a string of Hallberg Rassy's, contributed to the IOR design rules and went on later to design over 200 other yachts. Among his many designs, we find the five yachts carrying his initials. OE.
Master Yacht Designer from Sweden
The OE 32-Olleanna
Double ended, full keel, transom hung rudder and a beefy construction are some of the traits of the OE32 design. The OE32 was designed in 1971 and started production in 1973. The goal was to design a long keeled boat suitable for long journeys across oceans and Mr. Enderlien even had one built for himself.
We are curious on what drives a man in his best years to join such a challenge as the Golden Globe Race?
"This is not retirement", Mr. Wiig states firmly. "I had always dreamed about sailing around the world and had been close a few times trying to establish a project to join the Vendee Globe at one time, even the BOC after finishing second in 1988 OSTAR".
This and many trips around Scandinavia and up to Spitsbergen kept the dream alive. "When I learned Mr. McIntyre was launching the GGR project I had a chat with my wife and signed up as soon as I could. The welcome was fantastic and its such a great project that keeps everyone motivated".
Please, tell us a little bit about your background
"I went to sea at seventeen and sailed for ten years onboard merchant ships. After the time as a professional mariner, I stayed in the maritime industry and went on to hold the position as the technical manager for the biggest sailboat dealer in Norway for ten years. During that time i built and sailed different boats".
What are the most important preparations you have made to the boat?
"Well, the boat must remain as original as possible and true to the rules of the Race. I have put on a brand new rig, to original specs of course. A cutter stay has been added. New Dacron sails are onboard. I will carry 11 sails all together, among them I have a Code Zero and two spinnakers. It`s not only heavy weather around the world you know. A deep third reef in the main will be useful in the strong winds of the Southern Ocean".
-"I beefed up the boat in different places. A doghouse was added for protection and modifications are made to the companionway hatch to make it strong and watertight. Self steering is important and Olleanna carries a Monitor Vind Vane".
How does one go about financing such an adventure?
-"Well, you really have to rely on yourself and your own means to a large degree. It helps to have a wife and family who are supportive. My wife even suggested we`d sell the house. So we did and got a smaller house to free up much needed capital. Having made a few calls, I usually get great deals. Local Norwegian companies such as sail wear manufacturer Helly Hansen and paint manufacturer Jotun have been supportive. My local sailmaker, With Marine /North Sails also gave me a great deal and let me do much of the work on the rig inside their facilities."
Other than that, his project is self financed. Some friends have recently put up a crowd funding operation and that is coming along just now.
What is your race strategy?
"Without giving away too much to my fellow competitors, I plan on starting easy to get into the offshore routine. Sleep and eat well and to keep a good look out. Into the Atlantic proper, head south and then well west towards Brazil before turning south east towards the Cape of Good Hope. We are allowed to have an active radar reflector onboard and we can use the VHF to contact other ships if we see them and get an update on the weather forecast. As in every long distance race; preparations, your attitude towards being alone at sea for such a long period of time and make sure your vessel stays dry, safe and comfortable is paramount. I will install a diesel heater from Dickinson to keep me warm in the Southern Ocean I have enough diesel to run the heater approximately two hours a day."
What spare parts will you bring?
"A lot of spares are needed for a non stop around the world race. However, I hope I won`t need much of it. I am planning well for a working jury rig and a system for collecting rain water. Some epoxy is also handy to have onboard. As an emergency tiller, I plan on using the Vind Vane system. Although the vanes themselves were accidentally shot through on a trip to Spitsbergen(!), they will be alright after a small repair.
- Editorial Note: Cruisers to Spitsbergen are required to carry firearms to protect themselves from Polar Bears
What do you think about the "retro" aspect of the race?
"Well, this is how yachts were built when I grew up and it is part of the charm. The most inspiring tales from that era are from the likes of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Bernard Moitessier. Others have made the journey in far more basic configurations and I belive we will be just fine. I`s only wish they would let us bring digital cameras!"
How many days do you think you will spend at sea and any final thoughts?
"I plan on around 250 days at sea, but it all depends on many factors such as the weather and integrity of the boat and equipment." I`d wish for more sponsors so if anyone wants to chip in, please consider joining the crowdfunding set up. I will consider catering for other requests too, like bringing your favourite bottle of aquavit with me around the world".
Scandinavian Mariner Magazine wish Are Wiig the best of luck with the Race. We will publish follow up-articles on his journey around the world. If any of our readers have questions on how to support Olleanna, you can contact the editor who will pass the message along to Mr. Wiig. Please check our Facebook Page for updates and other news on Scandinavian Sailing.