Czech Sailor Ondřej Kotáb Takes on Ocean Globe Race Around the World

Ondřej Kotáb, a 51-year-old sailor from the Czech Republic, is the only Czech participant in the Ocean Globe Race, a prestigious sailing race worldwide. The race started on Sunday in Southampton, England, and will have four stages. The route taken by the race is the same one that tea clippers sailed in the 19th century.

Kotáb is sailing on board the Pen Duick VI, captained by Marie Tabarly, the daughter of legendary French sailor Éric Tabarly. The race is expected to be one of the toughest sailing challenges in the world, with 14 ships competing for the top prize.

The race’s first stage, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will end in Cape Town, South Africa, and is expected to take approximately one and a half months. The second stage, which is just as long and will take place in the Indian Ocean, is expected to be the most challenging, with sailors pushing their boats as far south as possible to catch strong winds. This stage will end in Auckland, New Zealand, where Kotáb will disembark.

The sailors in the Ocean Globe Race are only allowed to navigate using a sextant, navigation tables, paper maps, and a logarithmic ruler. Modern navigation and rescue equipment is sealed and can only be used in emergencies. The yachts also have motors but cannot be used during the race except for one hour a week for maintenance purposes.

Kotáb, who has sailed over 70,000 nautical miles (130,000 kilometers) around the world’s oceans, was selected to be part of the Pen Duick VI crew after a winter journey from France to the Canary Islands. Kotáb will participate in the first two stages of the race, which is the maximum allowed for volunteers.

The Ocean Globe Race is not a comfortable sailing challenge, and the sailors on board have to work in shifts of three hours on deck, three hours on standby, and three hours of rest. The sailors must also follow traditions that date back to the race’s start in 1973. For example, they can only bring books, not e-readers, and they can only listen to music on cassette tapes and Walkmans.

The race’s third stage will end in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, and the race will conclude in Southampton, England, after eight months. Despite the complex challenges ahead, Kotáb is determined to win the race. “It will be tough. It will definitely not be a walk in the park, but we want to win,” he said.

If Kotáb completes the Ocean Globe Race, he will join a prestigious group of sailors who have completed one of the world’s toughest sailing challenges.