Jack Johnson Wins Solo Globe 5.80 Transat

  • Jack Johnson (USA) wins the McIntyre Globe 5.80 Transat 2023 aboard his home-built plywood 19ft, Class Globe 5.80 “Right Now”
  • First skipper to qualify for world’s first ever round-the-world Mini Globe Race 2025
  • Michael Moyer (USA) and Keith Oliver (GBR) expected to arrive second and third tonight
  • Ertan Beskardes (GBR) experiencing 70 knots and knock-down, now on final stretch to Antigua finish

American sailor Jack Johnson (USA) has won the 2023 MCINTYRE Globe 5.80 Transat crossing the Antigua finish line just short of 34 days and 3,200 miles across the Atlantic from leaving Lanzarote aboard his home-built, 19ft plywood Globe 5.80 Mini. He is now the first skipper to qualify for the MiniGlobeRace.com , the world’s first ever mini yacht race around the world scheduled to start from Antigua in February 2025.

Jack was happy to finally finish the race… “The challenge was great. It really made me happy. It sounds stupid, but the finishing is the best part of it, the completion of this achievement. I’m really happy”, said the 51 year old, lifelong sailor after popping the bottle at the pontoon with friends and followers of the Globe 5.80 family.

Jack Johnson (USA) crossed the finish line after 3,186 miles and 33 days, 21 hours and 2 minutes. Credit: Lutz Kohne / Class Globe 5.80

The race across the Atlantic was packed with tricky lightwind conditions and even headwinds at times. Some skippers reported that they had to start rationing water and food and that the times of being fully becalmed had taken a big mental toll on them. 

The middle part [of the race] was really emotional for me, because it was just slow, I even went in the wrong direction at times. That was hard. But once I started getting further down the course and especially getting the last position report [of where the competitors are], it straightened me out and I just felt great for the whole rest of the time.

Jack Johnson

Hard work and effort paid out for the Californian sailor. With many hours of hand steering, baking in the cockpit under tropical heat and sunshine, he squeezed out mile after mile and maintained his lead ever since crossing the start line at Rubicon Marina, Lanzarote

An amazing achievement after building the boat himself, shipping it to Portugal and winning the qualifying sail from Lagos to Lanzarote. 

Jack Johnson’s ‘Right Now’ approaching Falmouth Harbour. He has built the 5.80m (19 ft.) one-design plywood boat himself in a shed in California, shipped it to Portugal, won the qualifying sail from Lagos to Lanzarote and now won the Globe 5.80 Transat 2023. Credit: Lutz Kohne / Class Globe 5.80

His lead was only once in danger, when lifelong friend and fellow boatbuilder Michael Moyer (USA) caught up and crossed his stern just five miles away – after sailing 2,500 miles across the Atlantic! But Jack immediately put the turbos on and was gone with the next breath.  

Michael is currently sailing in second position and next in line to finish the solo, one-design class race across the Atlantic. His “Sunbear” is considered the ‘Rolls Royce of the Ocean’ and as the saying goes, beautiful boats sail fast! Aiming for a midnight arrival on December 29th, he is looking good for breakfast at shore tomorrow with his wife, mother and brother who all came down to cheer him in.

“Sunbear”, built and skippered by Michael Moyer from California, is considered the “Rolls Royce of the Ocean” and about to take second place in the Globe 5.80 Transat 2023. Credit: Lutz Kohne / Class Globe 5.80

Fellow competitor Keith Oliver from England is right on his heels and motivated to sail as fast as possible, since he is down to just five litres of water as reported in his weekly satellite call.

Keith, who was the last entrant to finish building his 5.80 Mini “Meraki”, had sailed the boat for only six days before setting across the big ocean. He was the least experienced of the skippers and just hoped “not be sailing a week behind the others”. Now, 3,000 miles and 4 weeks later, he is the true underdog of the race and in line for a podium finish.

British sailor Keith Oliver launched his 5.80 “Meraki” just one month before the start of the race and could sail the boat for only six days before crossing the Atlantic. He is about to finish the Globe 5.80 Transat 2023 with podium position. A true underdog! Credit: Lutz Kohne / Class Globe 5.80

Lastly, the Turkish-British sailor Ertan Beskardes (Golden Globe Race entrant 2018 AND 2022) aboard Hull No.1 “Trekka” is hoping for an arrival with fireworks at New Years. It was the grand finale for a roller coaster race that saw him fully becalmed for days as well as knocked-down in 70 knots of winds and big seas sweeping the deck and filling the cockpit and on one occasion flooding below.

Ertan Beskardes (GBR) experienced 70 knots and a severe knock-down aboard Hull No. 1 “Trekka”, ripping off his air vent and damaging the solar panel fitting (left). Soon after, he was fully becalmed for nearly three days (right). Credit: Ertan Beskardes / Class Globe 5.80

“Total wipeout. 70 knots, rig is shaking, a wave took one of the air vents. There is water coming through the vent and solar panel fittings, but manageable. I am braced inside the boat, hoping for little respite soon”, reported Ertan while experiencing the strong localised storm. 

He is now only 200 miles away from the finish at the National Sailing Academy Antigua that is hosting our 5.80 fleet. The academy is a non-profit organisation that gives Antiguan school children the opportunity to learn swimming and sailing and also offers a ‘Sailability’ programme for the disabled children and adults of Antigua, all free of charge. 

The academy will also be the host of the next Globe 5.80 Transat 2024 as well as the Mini Globe Race with twelve skipper signed up to race their Minis around the world.

More information at globe580transat.com, classglobe580.com and minigloberace.com.