Rescue underway in Golden Globe Race

Published on November 18th, 2022

(November 18, 2022; Day 76) – As one of the front-runners of the 2022-23 Golden Globe Race, Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) activated his EPIRB today at 0654 UTC, 460 nautical miles SE from Port Elizabeth, in South Africa.

The GGR Crisis management team in Les Sables d’Olonne and Race Founder and President Don McIntyre in Cape Town have been coordinating with the Cape Town MRCC and CROSS Griz-Nez in France.

At 0852 UTC, Lehtinen also activated his liferaft’s PLB indicating that he may have abandoned his Gaia 36 Asteria. The liferaft also has a VHF radio and GPS packed inside. MRCC Cape Town contacted nearby commercial vessels to divert to his position, with the closest ship 250 miles away.

GGR entrants Kirsten Neuschäfer and Abhilash Tomy, respectively 105 and 170 miles to his SSW, have been informed of his latest PLB position. Tomy was first to receive the message and diverted course towards Lehtinen’s latest position.

At 0922 UTC Lehtinen activated the emergency YB3 satellite tracking and texting device which is part of the grab bag and at 1002 UTC manually acknowledged the message sent by the GGR Crisis Team, indicating he was able, and had the emergency grab bag with him.

The grab bag contains food, water, and several critical pieces of equipment, including an emergency GPS, a Search & Rescue Transponder, a second 406 EPIRB, and a handheld GMDSS Radio.

His last message was for Asteria at 1105 UTC: “I GAVE ASTERIA A LAST SALUTE STANDING IN THE RAFT AS SHE WENT DOWN”

Conditions in his zone are manageable with light winds and 2.5-metre swell. With Neuschäfer now en route and closest a 100 nm away, the GGR Crisis Team released Tomy from the rescue effort. Neuschäfer is motoring and should have favorable winds later, expecting to be in the zone early on November 19. Forecasts suggest moderating conditions over the next two days.

MRCC Cape Town has established communication with the bulk carrier DARYA GAYATRI and requested to divert and render assistance. The vessel is currently 250 nm NW off Lehtinen’s position with an ETA on November 19 at 1200 UTC.
 
“Our thoughts are with Tapio, his family and friends during this challenging time,” said Don McIntyre, GGR Founder. “The South African Maritime Rescue Coordination Center is doing an excellent job of coordinating the rescue efforts. Tapio is an experienced seaman, well prepared for these conditions. We thank everyone for their messages of support for Tapio and those who are right now involved with his rescue.”

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2022 GGR competitors:
Abhilash Tomy (43) / India / Rustler 36
Arnaud Gaist (50) / France / BARBICAN 33 MKII (long keel version)
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
Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36
Simon Curwen (63) / UK / Biscay 36

Retired
Edward Walentynowicz (68) / Canada / Rustler 36 (dropped out, Sept. 8)
Guy deBoer (66) / USA / Tashiba 36 (ran aground, Sept. 16)
Mark Sinclair (63) / Australia / Lello 34 (retired in Lanzarote, Sept. 22)
Pat Lawless (66) / Ireland / Saga 36 (retired in Cape Town, Nov. 9)
Damien Guillou (39) / France / Rustler 36 (retired in Cape Town, Nov. 14)
Tapio Lehtinen (64) / Finland / Gaia 36 Masthead sloop (sank off Cape Town, Nov. 18)

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.

Source: GGR

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