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MEDIA ALERT: Istvan Kopar due to reach Les Sables d’Olonne finish at 09:00 UTC on 21st March

Day 260: At 04:00 UTC today, American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar and his Tradewind 35 yacht Puffin was within 250 miles of the finish line and expected to reach Les Sables d’Olonne around 09:00 UTC on Thursday 21st March

Kopar was making 5.1 knots, having managed to cover 120 miles during the previous 24 hours – a remarkable performance given the steering problems that have plagued his solo circumnavigation almost from the start of the Golden Globe Race last July. And he is still having issues, reporting yesterday that his replacement rudder blade on his wind vane self steering is too short and being lifted out of the water as his yacht traverses the waves.

The latest weather forecast suggests that the current north westerly winds will decrease overnight slowing progress to around 100 miles during the next 24 hours. Then on Tuesday the wind is predicted to become very light, suggesting a 70 mile day before building again on Wednesday but turning north easterly to turn the last 70 miles into a challenging beat to windward.

For regular updates on Istvan’s progress, visit www.facebook.com/goldengloberace/

This will be Istvan’s second circumnavigation – and probably the toughest.

5th placed Finnish sailor Tapio Lehtinen and his barnacle infested Gaia 36 Asteria remains trapped in a challenging wind hole in the South Atlantic. He has managed to cover less than 400 miles during the past 8 days – an average of just 50 miles. At this rate, he will not finish before mid-May, but reports that all is well onboard.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston celebrates his 80th birthday

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation 50 years ago, celebrated his 80th birthday yesterday. The BBC marked the occasion with a highly entertaining hour-long documentary on BBC Radio 4 about his record-setting circumnavigation in the 1968/9 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, narrated by Sir Robin. You can listen to it here: www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00036lz

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston pictured by Bill Rowntree on April 22 1969 at the finish of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Sir Robin, now 80, recounts his story on BBC Radio 4.

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!

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