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DAY 249 – Uku Randmaa on the home straight

  • Istvan Kopar escapes the Azores High and now 1,300 miles from finish
  • Tapio Lehtinen caught in head winds with 5,000 miles to go
  • Mark Slats making waves at the HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show
  • GGR prizegiving – Save the date April 22

3rd placed Estonian Uku Randmaa has survived his last storm – 50knot winds and vicious 5m high seas – on Tuesday

The winds have now receded but the leftover Atlantic swell remains as his Rustler 36 One and All heads into the Bay of Biscay today. With 300 miles to go, Race HQ is now predicting a 09:00 UTC finish off Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday March 10.

For this 56 year-old solo circumnavigator, his homecoming could not come soon enough. He is out of food, and has not seen his wife and very young children for more than 8 months. It will be a warm embrace followed by a dash to get his first square meal since rounding Cape Horn on January 19. He joked with race organisers yesterday: ‘My boat is for sale. Any reasonable offer, but without food’.

He is promised a strong welcome in Les Sables d’Olonne led by the first two finishers Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and Mark Slats who are both making an overnight dash back to be first to shake his hand on the dock. Jean-Luc is returning from the Sail-In festival in Bilbao where the Frenchman will receive their top sailing award on Saturday, while Mark will drive through the night straight from his final public presentation at the HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show.

For regular updates and a live video feed of Uku‘s arrival and press conference, go to

Meanwhile, 4th placed American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar appears to have finally escaped the clutches of the Azores High pressure system, and now within 1,350 miles of the Les Sables finish line, is making great strides towards completing his solo circumnavigation around 18-19 March.

Finland’s Tapio Lehtinen is having less luck. Faced with head winds for the past few days in a boat covered in barnacles which has lost its ability to point high into the breeze, Tapio is currently heading southeast, 90° from where he wants to go to escape the adverse current running down the South American coast. He is not expected to finish until May.

Meet Mark Slats at the HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show

Second placed GGR finisher Mark Slats and his Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick are the stars of the show at this week’s HISWA exhibition in Amsterdam. The yacht is on display and open to the public in Hall 1 until Sunday. Mark and designer Dick Koopmans, who led Mark’s preparations for the Race, will be giving talks on the main stage on Friday and Saturday. Mark will also be signing his new autobiography ‘Held Op Zee’ (Hero at Sea) on Friday. The book includes a full account of his adventures during the Golden Globe Race.

Hall 16-10 MarchAll day Ohpen Maverick
Main StageFriday March 8 (15:00 – 16:00)Presentation
Stand 1.300Friday March 8 (16:30 – 17:30)Book Signing
Main StageSat March 9 (15:30 – 16:30)Presentation

Save the Date – GGR Prize Giving Programme – April 22

The 2018 GGR prize giving in Les Sables d’Olonne is set for April 22 – the day that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston completed the first solo non-stop circumnavigation 50 years before.

The Easter Monday celebrations will include a Press Conference and one-to-one interview opportunities with the 2018 GGR skippers, an announcement and introduction to skippers entering the next GGR in 2022, and publication of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s eagerly awaited independent report on lessons learned in heavy weather and survival techniques employed by skippers during the 2018 race.

There will also be opportunities to sail aboard Bernard Moitessier’s famous 1968/9 Golden Globe Race yacht Joshua throughout the weekend from Port Olona on 20/21/22 April, organized by the Friends of the Maritime Museum of La Rochelle.

So why not plan to celebrate the Easter Weekend in Les Sables d’Olonne!

Mark Slat’s Ohpen Maverick at the HISWA Show

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