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‘Barnacles: When I first saw them on the bottom before reaching Hobart, I knew my race was over.’ Tapio Lehtinen

Bitter sweet moment: Tapio Lehtinen shows the strong barnacle growth on the bottom of his solo yacht Asteria, and finds they are a delicacy in France selling for 80 Euros per Kilo
  • Final GGR finisher takes 5th place
  • Circumnavigation time: 322 days 8 hours 21 minutes

Barnacle growth was the root cause of Finnish skipper Tapio Lehtinen’s slow solo circumnavigation, but the 110 day difference between his and race winner Jean-Luc Van Den Heede’s time was definitely enjoyable.

‘I have certainly got my money’s worth from the entry fee.’ Tapio had joked with Race organiser Don McIntyre before his return to Les Sables d’Olonne at 20:21hrs on Sunday. ‘This is the best organised race I have ever taken part in… And the most selfish thing I have ever done… It is the fulfilment of a life-long dream… I’m not enrolling myself just yet, but yes, absolutely, I would do it again!’ the 61 year old from Helsinki said at his press conference today.

Yet asked what was the lowest moment in the race, the answer appeared to cover several months.

I had been sailing neck-and-neck with Istvan Kopar across the Indian Ocean when suddenly he started to get away. I thought there must be something wrong – perhaps a fishing line caught in the propellor – and dived overside during a calm spell before the Hobart film drop 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 compulsorary 24 hour stop in Tasmania, but by the time Tapio 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.

Tapio readily admits to an aversion to sharks, so when he prepared to dive overside during a calm period after leaving Tasmania he recalled: ‘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.’

Tapio was accompanied the last 10 miles to the finish by Bernard Moitessier‘s famous yacht JOSHUA – a French entry in the original Golden Globe Race 50 years before. ‘I sense the smell of Tahiti in Les Sables’ Tapio shouted across in reference to Moitessier‘s decision to foresake the success of finishing by continuing towards a second circumnavigation ‘to save my soul’ as he put it, before finally dropping anchor off the Pacific island.

Susie Goodall’s SITraN Teddy saved

Susie Goodhall has said very little about her harrowing experience when forced to abandon her yacht DHL Starlight after being rolled and dismasted in the Pacific but here is one piece of good news. Among the few things she carried with her in a small backpack when craned on to the cargo ship that came to rescue her, was her SITraN teddy bear she was carrying around the globe as a fundraiser and awareness opportunity for the great work of SITraN. Rather than accept the return of her bear it was decided that Susie should keep him for future expeditions and adventures so he sails on… That’s one special Teddy!

It is still possible to secure one of the remaining entrant SITraN Teddy bears (from Abhilash TomyIstvan Kopar, and Tapio Lehtinen). Check in to GGR Facebook page to bid for the remaining Teddies and help great research that SITraN does to combat Motor Neurone Disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Prize Winners

WINNER GGR 2018 Jean-Luc VDH (FRA) Matmut 211D 23H 12M 

Suhaili timber perpetual model and trophy model
RALF TECH winner’s watch
BOATSHED.COM £5000 winners purse

2nd: Mark Slats (NED) Ohpen Maverick 216D 00H 18M

Trophy model of Suhaili

3rd: Uku Randmaa (EST) One and All 254D 18H 40M

Trophy model of Suhaili

1st Corinthian (Unsponsored) entry trophy

4th: Istvan Kopar (USA/HUN) 264D 01H 38M

5th: Tapio Lehtinen (FIN)

McIntyre Adventure Spirit of GGR Trophy

Susie Goodall (GBR): Kay Kottee

Trophy for First Woman entrant in 2018 GGR

2022 GGR

Already, 20 sailors from 10 countries have signed up to compete in the next Golden Globe Race slated to start on 4th September 2022, and many more have expressed an interest to compete.

2022 GGR entrants to date:

  1. John Clarke (47) GBR – Nicholson 32 MKX
  2. Ian Herbert Jones (49) GBR – Tradewind 35
  3. Guy Waites (52) GBR
  4. Ertan Beskardes (57) GBR – Rustler 36
  5. Simon Curwen (60) GBR – Biscay 36
  6. Robin Davie (67) GBR – Rustler 36
  7. Confidenial GBR
  8. Arnaud Gaist (47) FRA Barbican 33 MKII (long keel version)
  9. Confidential FRA
  10. Guy deBoer (63) USA
  11. Doug Dean JOHNSON (53) USA – Rustler 36
  12. Matthew Wright (49) AUS
  13. Michael Date (57) AUS Aries 32
  14. Confidential AUS
  15. Michael Guggenberger (41) AUT – Endurance 35
  16. Gaurav Shinde (32) CAN
  17. Pat Lawless (62) IRE Saga 36
  18. Guido Cantini (50) ITA Vancouver 34
  19. Confidential NZL – Rustler 36
  20. Confidential NOR

Total: 10 countries (7 British, 3 Australian, 2 French, 2 American, 1 Austrian, 1 Canadian, 1 Irish, 1 Italian, 1 New Zealand, 1 Norwegian). 12 with boats already.


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