Golden Globe: The struggles continue
Published on February 13th, 2019
(February 13, 2019; Day 228) – There has been good and bad news from Uku Randmaa and his Rustler 36 One and All in the effort to finish in third position for the Golden Globe Race in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.
Now within 2,500 miles of the finish line, the Estonian skipper has solved his immediate hunger problems by catching two large marlin during the past week, which should extend his meager supplies of basic freeze dried food to the end of the race.
Not so good, was news that one of his running backstays supporting the mast broke on February 9, which lost him vital miles over 4th placed Istvan Kopar who is now enjoying the same Tradewind conditions.
As One and All’s course meandered around on the tracker, Randmaa was forced to climb the mast twice to set up a replacement adjustable stay, and in doing so, gashed a finger badly. The deep cut has been festering since, which led him to seek medical advice from the GGR 24hr tele-medicine team at MSOS last weekend. He is now treating the wound daily and doctors are monitoring the situation.
But Kopar, who is trailing Randmaa by 433 miles, is fighting health issues as the American/Australian is suffering a recurring abscess under one tooth and a fungal infection under his nails. He too has called on the MSOS doctors for advice and is now taking a course of antibiotics to combat the toothache and applying antiseptic cream to his digits.
“I could not ventilate the boat in the Southern Ocean and the interior is now covered in black mold,” Kopar reported. “The black stuff is everywhere: on the plywood, sail bags, just everywhere. It is becoming a serious health issue, which could weaken my resistance to infections. I am washing everything down with bleach, but so far this doesn’t seem to be having much affect.”
Other issues onboard Kopar’s Tradewind 35 Puffin continue to center on steering. The cogs within the gearbox linking rudder and wheel pedestal, are disintegrating and ‘jump’ whenever there is any load on them, so he has ‘retired’ the system and made up a new emergency tiller from scrap materials to replace the one that broke several months ago. He has since managed to harness this to Puffin’s wind vane self-steering.
“I’m very proud of the new tiller,” admits Kopar. “I had to machine a new key from a piece of rigging, which I filed down by hand to make a perfect fit. The tiller is very long, so the big challenge now is getting around the cockpit because it gets in the way of everything.
“I’m keeping my safety line strapped on, because it is not easy – so much so that I’m thinking of taking up Yoga classes. The big question is whether the tiller will last for the rest of the race. There is a wooden connecting piece which could break under load and I have no more epoxy resin.”
But he has come up with a novel solution for one problem – stopping water running down the rudder stock into the boat. “I’ve cut up my hot water bottle to act as a seal which has stopped the water dripping down.”
Finland’s Tapio Lehtinen, running in 5th place aboard his Gaia 36 Asteria, rounded Cape Horn on February 6, and has made most ground during the past 9 days despite the barnacle infestation on his hull.
He will need to keep his wits about him during the days ahead, first because of a huge fishing fleet – perhaps 150 trawlers – working the banks 100 miles east of Puerto Deseado, Argentina, directly ahead of Asteria’s, course. The second issue are calms forecast to descend on this region tomorrow, which will slow his progress north.
That’s a worry because in the virtual race between Tapio and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s progress in Suhaili 50 years before, the 1968-69 winner is calculated to be 300 miles ahead when you compare Suhaili’s last confirmed position on February 9 with Asteria’s plot today.
Relative positions of Lehtinen and Knox-Johnston in their virtual race around the Globe.
The 2018 Golden Globe Race started for 17 skippers from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday July 1, 2018, with the inaugural solo non-stop around the world yacht race expected to take 9-10 months to complete.
The event marks the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world race in 1968-69 when rules then allowed competitors to start from ports in northern France or UK between June 1st and October 31st.
A notable twist to the 2018 Golden Globe Race format is how entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were available in that first race, with the premise being to keep the race within financial reach of every dreamer.
The rules allow for one breach of the strict solo, non-stop un-assisted circumnavigation without the aid of modern electronic navigation aids regulations that make this Race unique. However, those that do move down to the Chichester Class as if, like Sir Francis Chichester in 1966-67, they have made one stop during their solo circumnavigation.
Those who breach the rules for a second time are deemed to have retired from the GGR Event and the organisers have no responsibility or obligation to them.