Final finisher for Golden Globe Race
Published on May 19th, 2019
Les Sables d’Olonne, France (May 19, 2019) – Finnish skipper Tapio Lehtinen, the fifth and final placed competitor in the Golden Globe Race, crossed the finish line today at 20:21. Sailing his Gaia 36 Asteria with spinnaker set in glorious weather, the 61 year-old from Helsinki lengthy time of 322 days 8 hours 21 minutes for his solo circumnavigation was due to barnacle growth on the hull.
“I have certainly got my money’s worth from the entry fee,” remarked Lehtinen on his slow pace. “However, it was the fulfillment of a life-long dream. While I’m not enrolling myself just yet, I would do it again!”
He had been sailing neck-and-neck with Istvan Kopar across the Indian Ocean, but when Lehtinen’s boat slowed, he dove in the water during a calm spell 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 compulsory 24 hour stop in Tasmania, but by the time Lehtinen 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.
Lehtinen readily admits to an aversion to sharks, so when he prepared to dive overside during a calm period after leaving Tasmania, his effort to clean the hull was thwarted by this adversary. “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.”
Planning for the next race is already underway with 20 sailors from 10 countries having signed up to compete in the 2022 Golden Globe Race slated to start on September 4th.
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.