Rescue underway in Golden Globe Race

Published on April 10th, 2023

(April 10, 2023) – Ian Herbert Jones (GBR), who had been racing his Tradewind 35 PUFFIN in the Golden Globe Race, had his boat roll over and dismast, with the skipper injuring his back and incurring a gash to his head. His location was northeast of Cape Horn when he became overwhelmed in winds gusting over 90 knots and a confused sea.

Jones was the last placed boat in the race, and had been relegated to the Chichester Class due to his use of safety electronics to coordinate stopover logistics.

At 1540UTC, he rang the GGR Race Office on Iridium phone to advise he was in extreme weather, running under bare poles, and trying to hand steer downwind. The yacht was laid over often by the force of wind and waves and there was a small amount of water down below.

The line was bad and contact was lost, but ten minutes later he called again, reporting how he could not launch his drogue to keep Puffin stern to the waves. He had been washed out of the cockpit twice and activated his EPIRB. Don McIntyre advised Jones that the extreme weather would last for at least another five hours, and that he should launch his drogue if possible, to assist down wind control on Puffin. Keeping the stern facing the wave is critical to avoid being rolled.

With only eight inches of water over the cabin sole, which was probably leakage through the cockpit, the manual bilge pump was working and Puffin was not sinking. At this time, the mast was secure and all safety equipment onboard was secure, although his electrical system was low on power.

Because he was unable to make contact with his Satphone, Jones decided to activate his EPIRB so that the Search And Rescue chain would be aware of his position and situation.

The Crisis Management Team (CMT) made initial contact with the MRCC (Main Rescue Coordination Center) Argentina on the phone, to confirm the EPIRB signal reception. MRCC confirmed receiving signal from Puffin’s EPIRB and that they had opened a case with the information contained in the GGR Safety Book provided by the organizer prior to the start of the race. CMT provided SITREPS as information came available.

At 1725 UTC, Jones had missed a planned safety call to GGR CMT, and 25 minutes later they received a message from PUFFIN YELLOW-BRICK YB3 satellite tracking and texting unit advising “Button ALERT…. 46., 57.250S 037, 12.382W.”

This meant that Jones had gone to the YB3 satellite texting and tracking unit, manually lifted the safety cover and pressed the distress alert button. This is recognized as a distress protocol for all GGR entrants, suggesting he was in trouble and could not text or use the sat phone. A SITREP was immediately forwarded to MRCC Argentina, followed by a call to explain the importance of this development.

Search and Rescue Puerto Belgrano are coordinating the rescue. Puffin was still in extreme weather. There are several ships in his vicinity, including a tanker 120 miles North of his position, and several fishing boats. MRCC Argentina is attempting to make contact with them and seek their support.

The low pressure system is moving quickly through Puffin’s position, currently SW 55 knots, gusting 88 knots. Puffin’s tracker position is updated every 15 minutes. At 1810 UTC, Ian’s second satphone and second YB3 tracking and texting device (normally on standby) were activated. Ready for use.


At 1842 UTC PUFFIN sent the following YB3 TEXT message: “Rolled Dismasted, injured Back, hard to move, 2ft water in boat.”

Then at 1844 UTC PUFFIN sent another YB3 TEXT Message: “Situation getting worse..need weather break to cut rig from PUFFIN.”

The 7.7 meter southwest sea also had a forecast 1.8 meter northeast secondary swell at nine second intervals at the same time. This is hard to comprehend, two opposing seas and suggests an extremely dangerous sea. With the mast down hanging over the side and Jones unable to cut the rig clear, the risk of damage to the hull is significant. The motion of the Puffin without a mast is also very dynamic.

At 2015 UTC Sat phone Message: “Cutting Rig away, water ingress under control, Back getting stiff, Gashed head.”

To listen to the latest Sat Phone call from Jones onboard Puffin, click here.

At 2015UTC, Jones rang with a poor connection but explained the water ingress was under control, he had gashed his head and his back was painful and getting stiff. Conditions were horrendous, but he must cut the rig away as it is bashing against the hull. He was part way through that task, but then lost contact.

At 2025 UTC, he rang again and received from GGR the latest weather forecast which had the winds and sea very slowly dropping in the next 12 hours, and discussed the possibility of a ship being diverted. He wanted SHIP ETA but advised ship NOT confirmed yet. Phone batteries were OK.

With Jones out of the race, this leaves five remaining skippers from the 16 that started the 2022-23 edition. Further updates will be made when available when they occur.

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Finish times will be adjusted as race organizers have issued credit for helping with the rescue of Tapio Lehtinen:
• Kirsten Neuschäfer: 35 hours + 30 litres of fuel
• Abhilash Tomy: 12hrs

2022 GGR Class:
1. Kirsten Neuschäfer (39) / South Africa / Cape George 36 – “MINNEHAHA”
2. Abhilash Tomy (43) / India / Rustler 36 – “BAYANAT”
3. Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36 – “NURI”

2022 GGR Chichester Class:*
1. Simon Curwen (63) / UK / Biscay 36 – “CLARA” (will stop to repair windvane)
2. Jeremy Bagshaw (59) / South Africa / OE32 – “OLLEANNA” (stopped in Hobart to clean hull)
* Competitors shift to this class by making one stop.

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)
Ertan Beskardes (60) / UK / Rustler 36 (retired in Cape Town, Nov. 16)
Tapio Lehtinen (64) / Finland / Gaia 36 Masthead sloop (sank off Cape Town, Nov. 18)
Arnaud Gaist (50) / France / BARBICAN 33 MKII-long keel version (retired near Saint Helena, Dec. 9)
Elliott Smith (27) / USA / Gale Force 34 (retired, Dec. 20)
Guy Waites (54) / UK / Tradewind 35 (stopped in Cape Town to clean/paint hull; retired in Hobart after losing his liferaft, Feb. 10)
Ian Herbert Jones (52) / UK / Tradewind 35 – “PUFFIN” (rolled/dismasted northeast of Cape Horn, April 10)

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 before finishing in Les Sables d’Olonne. Along the route there are several marks of the course and media requirements.

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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