Guy deBoer: A bad decision by me
Published on September 22nd, 2022
The format of the Golden Globe Race is to provide an affordable opportunity to race around the world, with rules embracing the types of boats and equipment available for the inaugural edition in 1968. Call it a retro-race.
When the race was reintroduced in 2018-19 for its 50th anniversary, it achieved its goals, though there was a lot of attrition along the course. Eighteen started with five finishers. The goal for the 2022-23 edition was to get more people to the finish line.
With many prospective entrants not fulfilling the safety requirements, 16 solo skippers in boats between 32 and 36 feet crossed the start line on September 4 in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.
The first drop out came September 8 when, amid stormy conditions, Canadian Edward Walentynowicz decided he’d had enough. The next to tap out was more dramatic when Guy deBoer (USA) ran aground September 16 on the northern coast of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.
The course has four mandatory media checkpoints in which the skippers share images and interviews, and it was after the first stop on the southern end of Lanzarote Island of the Canary Islands when things went terribly wrong for deBoer’s Tashiba 36. Here’s the story he shared September 21, 2022:
I had been awake for over 30 hours getting the boat to the Lanzarote checkpoint. After the checkpoint, I chose to go down the east side of Fuerteventura and the angle of the wind was close hauled. I was sailing a course about 30 degrees above the island so I was safe.
But I knew I was tired, so I stood up and smoked a cigar which helped keep me awake. I stood up there for about two hours and finally decided to sit down for a minute, but I was so fatigued and fell asleep.
The reason the boat hit the rocks is that the breeze velocity dropped off significantly and in doing so the Hydrovane Self Steering Windvane turned the boat to port towards the rocks. I was not aware of that until the boat hit the rocks.
The action of the boat was very violent and I was almost thrown overboard as I was asleep in the cockpit. I went down below and got on the VHF radio for the May Day, and each wave would pick the boat up several feet and drop it. I was thrown across the cabin and I’d have to crawl back up. I did that for about 30 to 45 minutes until the boat got carried to the shallower water where it is now.
It’s a sad situation. When rethinking, if I went on the west side of the island as opposed to the east side, I wouldn’t have had a lee shore, so it was a bad decision by me and I’m paying the penalty for it today.
As for the salvage efforts, there are two companies proposing plans. One in Gran Canaria is putting together a plan using float bags and the other is a local company that is contacting the authorities to see if they have permission to bring cranes down to the beach. I’ve also hired a local attorney to review the documents to make sure I retain ownership of the boat once it is removed.
If everything proceeds to move forward the way I expected, in the next few days the boat will be in a boatyard where I can evaluate it for repair. The boat has not caused any environmental impact. The diesel fuel was evacuated from the boat the very next day and there’s no damage to the reef. It’s on lava rocks and there’s nothing there except slime on the rocks so um uh there’s no damage which I’m very happy about.
2022 GGR competitors:
Abhilash Tomy (43) / India / Rustler 36
Arnaud Gaist (50) / France / BARBICAN 33 MKII (long keel version)
Damien Guillou (39) / France / Rustler 36
Elliott Smith (27) / USA / Gale Force 34
Ertan Beskardes (60) / UK / Rustler 36
Guy Waites (54) / UK / Tradewind 35
Ian Herbert Jones (52) / UK / Tradewind 35
Jeremy Bagshaw (59) / South Africa / OE32
Kirsten Neuschäfer (39) / South Africa / Cape George 36
Mark Sinclair (63) / Australia / Lello 34
Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36
Pat Lawless (66) / Ireland / Saga 36
Simon Curwen (63) / UK / Biscay 36
Tapio Lehtinen (64) / Finland / Gaia 36 Masthead sloop
Edward Walentynowicz (68) / Canada / Rustler 36 (dropped out Sept. 8)
Guy deBoer (66) / USA / Tashiba 36 (ran aground Sept. 16)
About the 2022 Golden Globe Race
On September 4, 2022, the third edition of the Golden Globe Race started from Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Sixteen skippers will face eight months of isolation sailing 30,000 miles across five oceans solo non-stop and unassisted.
In 1968, while man was preparing to take his first steps on the moon, a mild mannered and modest young man was setting out on his own record breaking voyage of discovery. He had entered the original Golden Globe. Nine men started that first solo non-stop sailing race around the World. Only one finished. He was 29 year old Sir Robin Knox Johnston. History was made. Navigating only with a sextant, paper charts and an accurate and reliable time piece, Sir Robin navigated around the world.
In 2018, to celebrate 50 years since that first record breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It instantly gained traction with adventurers, captivated by the spirit and opportunity. Eighteen started with five finishers.
To embrace the original race, competitors must sail in production boats between 32 and 36 feet overall and designed prior to 1988 that have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. Additionally, sailors have limited communication equipment and can use only sextants, paper charts, wind up clocks, and cassette tapes for music.