Mark John Sinclair (59)




Name Mark John Sinclair

Born August 20th 1958

Nationality Australian

Country of entry Australia

Mark Sinclair has always been passionate about sailing and the sea. In 1968, at the age of 10, he started sailing, at the time when Sir Robin Knox-Johnston departed to become the first to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation. In 1984, Mark completed two solo crossings of the Tasman Sea and gained his Yacht Master Ocean Certificate. Before entering the GGR, when on leave from work, Mark typically sailed his S&S 41 Starwave single-handed around remote areas of Australia. When Mark found out about the 2018 GGR, he applied immediately, sold Starwave and deferred his plans to compete in the 2018 single-handed trans-Tasman race; Mark purchased Coconut, a Lello 34 class yacht, for the GGR.

Mark’s professional background includes hydrographic surveying of remote areas in ships, small boats and aircraft. He served 20-years in the Royal Australian Navy, commanding three ships and navigating four, at the time when celestial navigation by sextant was still the primary means of offshore navigation. He retired from the RAN as a Commander in 1996. Mark currently works as the Director of Fugro’s Hydrographic Services in Asia-Pacific and conducts hydrographic surveys worldwide. Mark is married with three children.




Name Coconut
Type Lello 34 Masthead sloop
Designer Bryan Lello
Builder Henry Vink Boat Builders Pty Ltd (SA)
LOA 34.08ft / 10.39m
LWL 24.00ft / 7.32m
Beam 9.30ft / 2.82m
Draft 5.60ft / 1.70m
Displacement 13693 lbs / 6211 kgs
Sail area 470sq. ft / 43.66sq. m

Coconut is a strong, seaworthy Lello 34 class yacht with a narrow beam and traditional long keel. She was built in Durban, South Africa in 1980. Long before Mark Sinclair acquired her, Coconut had already circumnavigated the globe, combining a cruise in the Mediterranean and through the Pacific Islands before returning to South Africa. When Mark saw a YouTube video of her sailing in the Roaring 40s from Africa to Adelaide, he was so impressed that he sold his yacht Starwave and purchased Coconut for his entry in the 2018 GGR.
Although of sound design, a significant refit was required to prepare Coconut for the race. This included building internal hanging knees to strengthen the hull, deck and coach house for the rigours of the Southern Ocean, fitting an aluminium watertight door, new hatches and windows, new chainplates, rigging, sails, electrics and safety equipment. The original mast was completely stripped back and converted from a single to two-spreader rig for additional strength and all fittings were rebuilt. The original Aries windvane and Farymann 22 HP diesel are retained and refurbished. Coconut was shipped to Europe in January 2018 and from the start of May, Mark set up base camp at Plymouth Yacht Haven in Turnchapel Devon, to conduct final preparations for the start of the GGR, whilst continuing to work remotely from an office in the nearby Fugro Academy training facility.

Skipper Updates

July 20th 2018 12:00 AM

Captain Coconut continues to take it in his stride, while maintaining an almost boyish enthusiasm for being at sea. The rough weather south of the Canary Islands lead Mark to rig jackstays in the cabin to stop him falling too far and not long after the wind collapsed. He reported that the sky was yellowed with the sand of the Sahara and like many entrants trying to get a sun sight, was very aware of how overcast it had been.

July 16th 2018 12:00 AM

Captain Coconut looked as relaxed and comfortable onboard as he has ever been, at the Lanzarote film drop. Acknowledging his mistake going too close to the Spanish coast, he found that once out of the Bay of Biscay it was a “big ocean with not much in it”. He is happy with 120 miles a day and concedes that he is not flying a spinnaker 24 hours a day. Its unclear whether anyone really is but when you don’t know, it is fair to assume that others are achieving herculean results. Coconut looked to be in good shape and Mark said that “everything was as I’d expect”.

July 11th 2018 12:00 AM

Captain Coconut has left his Camino wanderings along the Galician coast behind and is steadily working his way back up the fleet. He hasn’t touched the helm since the start and by all reports he is loving life at sea. Happy with 120 mile days he reports keeping his rig set within the capabilities of the wind vane self steering system. Mark is playing the long game.

July 6th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark may very well be sailing the Camino

Mark left Les Sable d’Olonne with a plan to keep north of the rhumline to Finnisterre but seems to have had a change of mind, taking the coast road to Galicia. No doubt making the most of coastal navigation and using the radio direction finder on those Spanish radio stations. He may very well be sailing the Camino.

April 5th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark will be based at Plymouth

Australian Mark Sinclair plans to be reunited with his Lello 34 Coconut, at the end of April. The yacht arrived in the UK in March on the same ship that dropped fellow Australian Kevin Farebrother’s Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha in Le Havre. Mark will be based at Plymouth Haven Marina throughout May making final preparations before sailing west to Falmouth for the Suhaili 50th anniversary celebrations between June 11-14.

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