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It’s not over, but it is!

It’s not over, but it is!

Each of us who have been living the GGR these past few years have experienced it. Some more so than others. None more so than entrants. Pushing to extremes to make the start, then heading for the finish, then for whatever reason you’re out of the GGR is hard. You can read between the lines on all those entrants and each has suffered with the transition back to the “ordinary” world. For some it was and still is nothing short of shocking.

Our slow boat to Finland and deserved winner of the Spirit of the GGR Award Tapio has arrived home to a hero’s welcome. We are still waiting for IGOR, but Tapio for me was an end for sure. Over time we all experienced this unlikely hero in a personal way. To see his honor fleet of Optimist dingys and kids out sailing the last mile alongside was poignant for me. I know it would have been extremely emotional for him. Inspiring kids is everything and part of what the GGR means to Jane and me. There is an amazing back story to this man, as is the case for most GGR sailors.

Mark and Susie sailing together on the last leg of the AZAB are about to enter a storm before reaching Falmouth. It will be the first storm Susie has seen since her last in the Southern Ocean and while not as severe, I am sure they will have some interesting and maybe cleansing conversations. It has been hard for Susie. Ertan sails the same AZAB as training for 2022.

Abhilash is the family man with a GGR baby boy and life is full. Full includes dream time 2022. Gregor lives his life over the horizon, still tracking and wondering about his boat. For now it still gives a pulse. Are Wiig dreams of another GGR without rushing. His money BOX is empty but filling. Loic enjoys life like only a Frenchman can. Family, food and fun with a burning ambition to find a sponsor when the rest will fall into place. Philippe has moved on and now struggles to find a balance selling PRB and Antoine has new plans not far off which could mean a return!
Nabil went bush, extreme hair and beard, trimmed for trophies! Is he 2022? Capt. Coconut is back at work, then retiring around 2022? Istvan retired from the GGR for sure and Kevin was not dreaming of boats while waiting in the Que to top Everest. Francesco’s boat remains for sale with a new 2022 entrant just now looking to buy!

UKU loves playing DAD! and husband looking back on life and forward with excitement, while JL VDH now captains a club racer. He takes continuous bookings to tell his story and what a story it is, still ongoing with plans a plenty!

All our friends in Les Sables are enjoying a Hot summer, Celine is still organizing, Christophe is still shooting, Caroline still translating for me and Jesse and Tina still cutting the GGR Doco in Australia. Barry has officially retired!!!! but he hasn’t, as you will soon see. Yannick and Aida are doing a fantastic job of working hard in and for Les Sables being Yannick and Aida and all the LSO team Nathalie, Matthew , Lionel and Eric etc and our fantastic volunteers are busy with continuous events at Le Sands! We miss them all.

Jane and I are in the Tonga GGR Office on our boat EXPLORER on the land. Work is slow prepping for a re-launch, so arrival and kids Optimist sailing is delayed at the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club till then. Yes, it has been hard for Jane and me too. More than once we catch each other staring at the ceiling. I have not been able to write my usual “Thoughts Column” for months, even when I knew I must, and people were asking. It was impossible, as our strong emotions with entrant arrivals were high and often hidden.

Yes, GGR has been a HUGE high in our lives! Some said it would never happen. It did thanks to many. After all my expeditions it is the same. You are emotionally drained. When you stop the routine, it starts a reaction. You need to stop and dream again.

WE wait now for the Global media summary, but we know it was a success because it was! We prepare and discuss with GGR 2022 sponsors and 23 new entrants. The fun continues and it is now one year since Sir Robin Knox Johnston fired the cannon that began a journey like no other. Three years to go! There is a lot to write about. The book is underway. There is a lot to see and the Documentary will expose incredible stories, energy and emotion that will forever make this 2nd edition live on.

And now there is the Ocean Globe Race! It has been a long-held secret, but part of the original plan from 2014 when the GGR was conceived. Somehow, I have become an event organizer by default and not the sailor I intended. When I see all these characters, the fun and joy, the intense emotion up and down and very strong heartfelt friendships that will last a lifetime, I have no regrets. Jane is the same. She feels immensely proud that together, all of us, including you have created something from nothing. It will happen again and the OGR and GGR are perfect sisters.

Thanks to all of you the GGR family. What an incredible adventure it is, was and continues to be. WOW! Here we go again…. Life hey!

Don

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“Barnacles: I knew my race was over.” Tapio Lehtinen

“Barnacles: When I first saw them on the bottom before reaching Hobart, I knew my race was over.” Tapio Lehtinen

Final GGR finisher takes 5th place
Circumnavigation time: 322 days 8 hours 21 minutes

Dateline: 20/05/2019, Les Sables d’Olonne, France

Barnacle growth was the root cause of Finnish skipper Tapio Lehtinen’s slow solo circumnavigation but the 110 day difference between his and Race winner Jean-Luc Van Den Heede’s time was definitely enjoyable.

“I have certainly got my money’s worth from the entry fee.” Tapio had joked with Race organiser Don MacIntyre before his return to Les Sables d’Olonne at 20:21hrs on Sunday. “This is the best organised race I have ever taken part in…And the most selfish thing I have ever done… It is the fulfilment of a life-long dream…I’m not enrolling myself just yet, but yes, absolutely, I would do it again!” the 61 year old from Helsinki said at his press conference today.

“Yet asked what was the lowest moment in the race, the answer appeared to cover several months. “I had been sailing neck-and-neck with Istvan Kopar across the Indian Ocean when suddenly he started to get away. I thought there must be something wrong – perhaps a fishing line caught in the propellor – and dived overside during a calm spell before the Hobart film drop to investigate. It was not a rope or net, but barnacles growing all over the hull. When I first saw them on the bottom, I knew my race was over.”

Other skippers had taken the opportunity to clean their hulls during their compulsorary 24 hour stop in Tasmania, but by the time Tapio and his Gaia 36 Asteria reached Storm Bay Australian authorities had put a stop to it. Careening hulls had to be undertaken beyond the 200 mile territorial waters.

Tapio readily admits to an aversion to sharks, so when he prepared to dive overside during a calm period after leaving Tasmania he recalled “I was tying my improvised boarding ladder to the boat in preparation of diving overboard and spotted this huge shark swim alongside the boat – and that was the worst day of my life.”

Tapio was accompanied the last 10 miles to the finish by Bernard Moitessier‘s famous yacht JOSHUA a French entry in the original Golden Globe Race 50 years before. “I sense the smell of Tahiti in Les Sables” Tapio shouted across in reference to Moitessier‘s decision to foresake the success of finishing by continuing towards a second circumnavigation ‘to save my soul’ as he put it, before finally dropping anchor off the Pacific island.

Susie Goodall’s SITraN Teddy saved

Susie Goodhall has said very little about her harrowing experience when forced to abandon her yacht DHL Starlight after being rolled and dismasted in the Pasific but here is one piece of good news. Among the few things she carried with her in a small backpack when craned on to the cargo ship that came to rescue her, was her SITraN teddy bear she was carrying around the globe as a fundraiser and awareness opportunity for the great work of SITraN. Rather than accept the return of her bear it was decided that Susie should keep him for future expeditions and adventures so he sails on… That’s one special Teddy!

It is still possible to secure one of the remaining entrant SITraN Teddy bears (from Abhilash Tomy, Istvan Kopar, and Tapio Lehtinen) Check in to GGR Facebook page to bid for the remaining Teddies and help great research that SITraN does to combat Motor Neurone Disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Prize winners

WINNER GGR 2018 Jean-Luc VDH (FRA) Matmut 211D 23H 12M

Suhaili timber perpetual model and trophy model
RALF TECH Winners’ watch
BOATSHED.COM £5000 winners purse

2nd: Mark Slats (NED) Ohpen Maverick 216D 00H 18M
Trophy model of Suhaili

3rd: Uku Randmaa (EST) One and All 254D 18H 40M
Trophy model of Suhaili

1st Corinthian (Unsponsored) entry trophy

4th: Istvan Kopar (USA/HUN) 264D 01H 38M

5th: Tapio Lehtinen (FIN): McIntyre Adventure Spirit of GGR Trophy

Susie Goodall (GBR): Kay Kottee Trophy for First Woman entrant in 2018 GGR

2022 GGR

Already, 20 sailors from 10 Countries have signed up to compete in the next Golden Globe Race slated to start on 4th September 2022, and many more have expressed an interest to compete.

2022 GGR entrants to date:

  1. John Clarke (47) GBR – Nicholson 32 MKX
  2. Ian Herbert Jones (49) GBR – Tradewind 35
  3. Guy Waites (52) GBR
  4. Ertan Beskardes (57) GBR – Rustler 36
  5. Simon Curwen (60) GBR – Biscay 36
  6. Robin Davie (67) GBR – Rustler 36
  7. Confidenial GBR
  8. Arnaud Gaist (47) FRA Barbican 33 MKII (long keel version)
  9. Confidential FRA
  10. Guy deBoer (63) USA
  11. Doug Dean JOHNSON (53) USA – Rustler 36
  12. Matthew Wright (49) AUS
  13. Michael Date (57) AUS Aries 32
  14. Confidential AUS
  15. Michael Guggenberger (41) AUT – Endurance 35
  16. Gaurav Shinde (32) CAN
  17. Pat Lawless (62) IRE Saga 36
  18. Guido Cantini (50) ITA Vancouver 34
  19. Confidential NZL – Rustler 36
  20. Confidential NOR

Total: 10 Countries, 7 British, 3 Australian, 2 France, 2 American, 1 Austria, 1 Canada, 1 Irish, 1 Italy, 1 New Zealand, 1 Norway.

12 with Boats already.

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DAY 312: Tapio Lehtinen sighted off the Azores

DAY 312: Tapio Lehtinen sighted off the Azores

Now 1,100miles from the finish line
ETA 23-26th May

Dateline: 9/05/2019, Les Sables d’Olonne, France

Tapio Lehtinen, the 5th and final placed Finnish skipper competing in the Golden Globe Race enjoyed an unexpected rendezvous off Faial Island in the Azores yesterday with the local representative of his Windpilot self-steering sponsor.

Sailing his Gaia 36 Asteria with spinnaker set in glorious weather, Tapio was clearly enjoying his lengthy solo circumnavigation extended by barnacle growth on the hull. “It is light and peaceful and I’m making good progress towards Les Sables d’Olonne.” He quipped.

The 61 year-old from Helsinki also said he was gaining weight, despite running out of cooking gas three weeks ago. “Tesco gave me a lot of good food and I’ve now got used to cold porridge in the mornings and a cold dinner at night.” Ironically, the gas ran out just as he caught a flying fish and he has been eating smorgasbord ever since.

Overnight the winds picked up to gale force, which led to a 122 mile run during the past 24 hours – twice his average daily run since rounding Cape Horn more than 2 months ago. Tapio reported overnight: “You have to respect the North Atlantic, the SW has been howling & gusting over 50 knots through the night. Had #4 reef, 1/4 Yankee & 1/3 Staysail, but should have taken the main down as it hit the waves so badly that the vang broke. Should be able to fix it one more time with my Makita as the wind drops. Making great speed!”

The bad news is that in Tapio’s virtual race against Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s race winning time 50 years before, the gap between Asteria and Suhaili, has now extended to 678 miles, so the Finn will finish well outside Sir Robin’s 312 day benchmark circumnavigation in 1968/9.

Looking ahead, Tapio is approaching the Bay of Biscay at a good time of the year when the winds are generally stable and from a favourable direction. The Race tracker is predicting May 23, based on his average of 3.2knots since the start, but race organisers expect the barnacle growth will slow Asteria whenever conditions are light, and Tapio may not complete his quest until May 26.

GGR organisers are preparing a warm welcome for Tapio on his return.

Lessons learned from sailing small yachts in extreme conditions

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has published his long awaited Report considering the lessons learned from sailing small yachts in extreme conditions including the 5 dismastings suffered during the 2018 GGR.

Click here to download the Report

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DAY 295: Jean-Luc VDH crowned winner of the 2018 Golden Globe Race

DAY 295: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede crowned winner of the 2018 Golden Globe Race

Don’s speech on Prize Giving day

Thousands drawn to the open air presentation in Les Sables d’Olonne

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston publishes Report on lessons learned from dismastings.

2022 GGR skippers announced

Dateline: 22/04/2019, Les Sables d’Olonne, France

Don’s speech on Prize Giving day

Today is a day full of history and celebration, not only here in beautiful le Sables d’Olonne, but in Falmouth England and around the world! Our international GGR family have joined us on Facebook Live and great to see you all here joining the party! thanks for coming!!

Our great friend Sir Robin Knox Johnston 50 years ago today became an inspiration, SUHAILI became a champion and the world became a smaller place. He was the first ever solo around the world non-stop sailor. Then man went to the moon and the world began to change. Life itself became the fast lane and technology took control!

The Golden Globe Race is probably the slowest, longest, toughest, loneliest mind game on the planet! Does anything else even come close? GGR Self imposed deprivations, isolation in little boats against the great oceans, unpredictable chaotic climate change weather is extreme! Why would anyone dream of it let alone do it? and why would the people of Les sables d’Olonne ever support it?

The answer is not simple but to me it is clear. In life there are things we can control and others we cannot. Kids of the world know freedom. Every day for them is an adventure born of a vivid imagination creating beautiful dreams.

Les Sables d’Olonne dreams of a brighter future through a beautiful romance with the Oceans and human endeavor. Every entrant in the 2018 Golden Globe is a Dreamer driven to pure adventure on the Oceans. The same Human spirit that sent Sir Robin Knox Johnston around the world and man to the moon 50 years ago is alive and well in Les Sables and is the essence of the GGR story! .

295 days ago we waved 18 sailors goodbye on their Epic adventure. We thought we knew what they were about to do. We actually had no idea. Now we know. It was simply incredible! The GGR stands alone in sailing and our sailors are unique! Congratulations to you all. BRAVO!!!!

My definition of Adventure is ANY ACTIVITY WITH AN UNKNOWN OUTCOME. Tapio is still sailing and will be here soon! Igor starts again later this year and Jean Luc is no longer just the old man of the sea with a dream! He is finally a winner of the GGR!! What a hero he is along with every entrant here today!

Jane and I salute you all for what you have achieved and for supporting the GGR Adventure. To my small management team and all our partners who joined this GGR dream, and the GGR family following it now, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Every adventure has risk! Celebrating human endevour in the face of extreme challenge is a noble thing. Together we have all made this GGR a great success. It’s on again in 2022!

Finally to Sir Robin Knox Johnston, Yannick Moreau and all the people of les Sables d’ Olonne, thanks for taking us to your heart from the very beginning, thanks for working hard with us and BRAVO for now being part of the legend that is the Golden Globe.

Thousands drawn to the open air presentation in Les Sables d’Olonne

Exactly 50 years to the day that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston returned to Falmouth UJK after 312 days at sea to become the first man to sail solo non-stop around the Globe, 73-year old Frenchman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede was crowned winner of the second Golden Globe Race in Les Sables d’Olonne, France

And all but two of Van Den Heede‘s rivals made the pilgrimage to the Race finish port to applaud his performance in besting Sir Robin‘s original circumnavigation by 100 days aboard his Rustler 36 Matmut. 5th placed Finnish skipper Tapio Lehtinen is still more than 2,000 miles from the finish, but made a live satellite call broadcast to the thousands of spectators thronged the open-air seafront presentation. “I’m maximising on my entry fee for this race and enjoying every minute of the Race.” he joked.

Sir Robin also joined the celebrations via a live link from Falmouth to congratulate everyone, saying that their efforts have inspired so many people around the world to challenge themselves in this and other adventures.

Prize winners

  • WINNER GGR 2018 Jean-Luc VDH (FRA) Matmut 211D 23H 12M
  1. Suhaili timber perpetual model and trophy model
  2. RALF TECH Winners’ watch
  3. BOATSHED.COM £5000 winners purse
  • 2nd: Mark Slats (NED) Ohpen Maverick 216D 00H 18M
  1. Trophy model of Suhaili
  • 3rd: Uku Randmaa (EST) One and All 254D 18H 40M
  1. Trophy model of Suhaili
  2. 1st Corinthian (Unsponsored) entry trophy
  • 4th :Istvan Kopar (USA/HUN) 264D 01H 38M
  1. Last finisher by Prize Giving
  • Susie Goodall (GBR): Kay Kottee Trophy for First Woman in 2018 GGR
  • Tapio Lehtinen (FIN): McIntyre Adventure Spirit of GGR Trophy

2022 GGR

Already, 20 sailors from 10 Countries have signed up to compete in the next Golden Globe Race slated to start on 4th September 2022, and many more have expressed an interest to compete.

2022 GGR entrants to date:

  1. John Clarke (47) GBR – Nicholson 32 MKX
  2. Ian Herbert Jones (49) GBR – Tradewind 35
  3. Guy Waites (52) GBR
  4. Ertan Beskardes (57) GBR – Rustler 36
  5. Simon Curwen (60) GBR – Biscay 36
  6. Robin Davie (67) GBR – Rustler 36
  7. Confidenial GBR
  8. Arnaud Gaist (47) FRA Barbican 33 MKII (long keel version)
  9. Confidential FRA
  10. Guy deBoer (63) USA
  11. Doug Dean JOHNSON (53) USA – Rustler 36
  12. Matthew Wright (49) AUS
  13. Michael Date (57) AUS Aries 32
  14. Confidenial AUS
  15. Michael Guggenberger (41) AUT – Endurance 35
  16. Gaurav Shinde (32) CAN
  17. Pat Lawless (62) IRE Saga 36
  18. Guido Cantini (50) ITA Vancouver 34
  19. Confidenial NZL – Rustler 36
  20. Confidenial NOR

Total: 10 Country, 7 British, 3 Australian, 2 France, 2 American, 1 Austria, 1 Canada, 1 Irish, 1 Italy, 1 New Zealand, 1 Norway. 12 with Boats already.

Lessons learned from sailing small yachts in extreme conditions

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston also published his long awaited Report considering the tessons learned from sailing small yachts in extreme conditions including the 5 dismastings suffered during the 2018 GGR.

Click here to download the Report

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DAY 284: Tapio Equator – 2018 Prize Giving – 2022 Filling up!

DAY 284: Golden Globe Race Update

Tapio Lehtinen crosses the Equator
GGR Prize-giving timetable 19-22nd April

Dateline: 11/04/2019 Les Sables d’Olonne, France

As Tapio Lehtinen, the last of the Golden Globe race skippers, crossed the Equator on Tuesday to start the last part of his solo circumnavigation back to Les Sables d’Olonne, plans are now well advanced for the GGR prize-giving celebrations in the Vendee port over the Easter Weekend 19 – 22nd April.

The Finnish skipper who has been slowed by increasing barnacle growth on his Gaia 36 Asteria since crossing the Indian Ocean last October will miss the party – he is not expected to reach the finish line until late May at the earliest – but will join the other skippers via a satellite phone link.

Despite his extended time at sea, Tapio has plenty of food on board and has retained his sense of humour. On April 1, The Finn alerted Race HQ that he had met up with a boatload of girls in mid-Atlantic who, braving shark attacks, had dived over to rid Asteria of her barnacle growth. His Facebook post caught more than a few, some questioning whether this was outside assistance.

All other skippers, bar Australian Kevin Farebrother, currently climbing Mt Everest for the fourth time, will be attending the prize-giving. Most will be available for pre-booked one-to-one media interviews over the Weekend.

So too will 8 of the 2022 GGR Race entrants all keen to learn what they can from the 2018 Race skippers. The Suhaili Class for prescribed long keeled yachts between 32-36ft is already fully subscribed with 20 entrants representing 10 Countries, 12 of which already have boats. Three hail from Australia, two from France, 7 from the UK and two from the USA, together with one each from Austria, Canada, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand and Norway. A wait list is now open to accept provisional entrants and these skippers will be announced at the GGR Press Conference on Monday 22nd April.

There is also strong interest in the 10 places available in the new Joshua Class racing 40ft purpose-built steel replicas of Bernard Moitessier’s classic yacht. The first of these is expected to be launched this winter when entries for this class will open. For those keen to have a test sail, The French Maritime Museum based in La Rochelle will have Moitessier’s original Joshua in Les Sables d’Olonne for the Easter weekend offering the opportunity to sail on her.

Lessons learned from sailing in extreme conditions during the Golden Globe Race

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s independent report on lessons gained from handling small yachts in survival conditions during the GGR will also be published at the GGR Press Conference on April 22 with a live link and question/answer session with GGR skippers and Sir Robin in Falmouth, where the original Golden Globe Race skipper will be celebrating his victorious return to the Cornish port that day 50 years ago. The Press Conference and Sir Robin’s Q&A session will be broadcast live on Facebook.

GGR Prize giving programme 19 – 22nd April

Friday 19th and Saturday 20th – GGR Race HQ

Media check-in 09:00-17:00

 

One-to-One pre-booked interview opportunities with 2018 GGR skippers
Sunday 21st April

0900-1200: Closed briefing session with 2022 GGR Entrants

One-to-One pre-booked interview opportunities with 2018 GGR skippers

1500-1700: Closed de-briefing session with 2018 GGR Entrants

One-to-One pre-booked interview opportunities with 2022 GGR skippers

 

Monday 22nd April – GGR Media Centre

0900-1045: One-to-One pre-booked interview opportunities with 2018/2022 GGR skippers

1100-1200: GGR 2018 PRESS CONFERENCE – GGR Media Centre

Presenting 2018 Race Skippers and 2022 Race Entrants to-date.

2022 Race announcement

Live link with Tapio Lehtinen

12:00-1230: Live link with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston presenting his independent report on lessons learned from handling small boats in extreme conditions during the 2018 GGR.

1530 – 1645: GGR Prize Giving at the Atlantic Casino

1645: Live concert with Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and his band

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