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The Golden Globe Race: Around the World with Wempe and Istvan Kopar

Istvan Kopar starts his race around the globe with high precision equipment and support provided by Wempe. We keep our fingers crossed for him.

Sail boat with wempe logo

Rarely ever has a regatta been to polarizing as the first “Sunday Times Golden Globe Race” 50 years ago. In 1968, nine sailors of varying experience set out on a journey to circumnavigate the globe non-stop – and only one of them would make it. 
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston wrote history and, for his achievement, was knighted by the Queen of the United Kingdom.

It is required at this return of the race that the equipment on board is of the same type than in 1968 – high-tech equipment is not decisive, but the precision of the measuring instruments and the ability of the skipper to know what the figures mean. We are happy to accompany Istvan Kopar on his voyage with a Wempe Maritim Unified Chronometer, a Wempe Zeitmeister Sport wristwatch, and a high precision Wempe barometer.

A Matter of Skill over Technology

On July 1, precisely 50 years after the historic start to the first race, 18 courageous sailors will set out on an unparalleled adventure in honor of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in a manner fundamentally unlike a modern, high-tech race. It is estimated that it will take 300 days for the participants to circumnavigate the globe non-stop. It’s them against the sea. With each one of them on their own and possessing the same technology as in 1968, they will commence their journey from the French port of Les Sables d’Olonne. 

The race’s organizer, Don McIntyre, sums up what makes this race so special: “The sailors will be navigating with sextants, chronometers, and nautical charts without any electronic aids or autopilot functionality. They will fill out their log books and notes by hand, cook with kerosene, and observe weather conditions themselves, all the while only infrequently having the ability to communicate with the outside world via VHF radio.”

Precision and tradition from Wempe accompany Istvan Kopar around the globe

The Wempe CW800016 unified chronometer is a precise instrument manufactured by hand with a Wempe 5 mechanical manufacture caliber.
The Wempe Cup barometer CW140002 enables reliable inferences about the weather for the next 24 – 48 hours.
The Wempe Zeitmeister Sport wristwatch WM650009 combines elegant design with numerous functions – and not only underwater.
Istvan Kopar sits by the sea

An Historical Connection: Wempe and the Sea


As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of nautical devices, it comes without surprise that Wempe is sponsoring one of the race’s enthusiastic sailors. The American adventurer Istvan Kopar was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953 and has since then traveled the entire world. Despite growing up in a landlocked country, Kopar was determined from a young age to be a sailor and circumnavigator.

The only entrant sailing under the stars and stripes, he believes that sailing is all about being self-reliant, which is why the Golden Globe Race appeals to him more than any other regatta: “In the Vendée Globe their boats are like space shuttles, they have land support, minute-to-minute communication, all kinds of analysis. In this respect, the skipper is an operator as opposed to being a self-sufficient sailor.” What is arguably his longest race so far has seen him receive from us just a Wempe Maritime unified chronometer to determine longitude accurately, a Wempe Zeitmeister Sport wristwatch, and an ultra-precise Wempe barometer to forecast the weather.

The participants will be tracked passively by satellite for their own safety and can be followed live here. Beginning on July 1, we will additionally be feeding you regular updates on Istvan Kopar’s voyage around the world. We would also be more than happy to invite you to a consultation about our nautical instruments and chronometers for seafaring at one of our numerous showrooms. 

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