Entrant 2018

Istvan Kopar (68)

The United States of America flag, produced by Daniel McRaeUSA



Name Istvan Kopar

Born March 8th 1953

Nationality American

Country of entry USA

Race GGR 2018

Boat Class Suhaili

Istvan Kopar, a Hungarian-born American, is a professional sailor and U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain who has logged more than 60,000 nautical miles sailing solo. His proudest accomplishment to date was his solo one-stop circumnavigation in 1990-1991 without the aid of GPS. He relied on a sextant, manual chart plotting, and weather forecasts broadcast in Morse code. Sailing a 31-foot boat that he had built himself, Istvan completed the voyage in record time for the size of his yacht. Istvan also skippered the winning yacht in the 1996/97 Hong Kong Challenge around the world yacht race. He was among the top finishers in the 1992 America 500-Columbus Transatlantic Race, and won the Kapry’s Trophy in the 1995 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC).

He says of the GGR: “This race is custom-made for me. My first hero and role model was Joshua Slocum, the first recorded solo circumnavigator. He had no land support, no modern navigation and communication devices, or even a mechanical wind vane. He was the real deal. And he was able to accomplish this historic achievement due to his upbringing and constant connection with the oceans and sailing.
We admire the other great sailors, but the gap between nature and its users has been getting more visible by the day. Those competing in the Vendée Globe or Volvo circumnavigation races are becoming increasingly dependent on manmade equipment, and less dependent on nature. They start to look and act like astronauts in space, getting more and more isolated from nature. There is a demand for that, and it is all well and good, but we still need ‘Optimists’ during our upbringing. And for the very same reason, we need races like the GGR to maintain our heritage and seamanship, as well as to increase the number of self-sufficient, independent, and consequently happy people in the world.”


Boat [Suhaili]


Name Puffin
Type Tradewind 35 Cutter
Designer John Rock
Builder Tradewind Yachts (NL)
LOA 35.01ft / 10.67m
LWL 25.82ft / 7.87m
Beam 10.50ft / 3.20m
Draft 5.51ft / 1.68m
Displacement 19442 lbs / 8819 kgs
Sail area 725sq. ft / 67.35sq. m

Istvan Kopar purchased the 1986-built Tradewind 35 class yacht Puffin in 2015 to compete in the GGR. Istvan and his team have since stripped the inside and outside of the boat and added more layers of fiberglass to improve her durability. Other modifications included decreasing the size of the cockpit and improving its drainage, adding a watertight bulkhead inside the bow, and installing an additional freshwater tank.
During this work Istvan removed his wristwatch, not just because it was an obstacle at times, but to stop himself from checking off the days like minutes. He has won much-needed support from friends and the industry, in particular Alexseal, Seahawk, Selden, Windpilot, Wempe, BaoBab Group, and Bayside Canvas. Puffin was relaunched in November 2017 following a comprehensive 2-year refit. Initial sea trials took place in Oyster Bay, New York, before she was hauled out again for the winter. Puffin is now painted bright orange and was due to be re-launched at the end of March. Istvan planned to use the transatlantic crossing to complete his 2,000-mile qualifying sail and intended to base himself in Southampton UK prior to the start.

Skipper Updates

March 26th 2019 12:00 AM

Istvan Kopar is enjoying a long car ride through Europe spending time with his sponsors in Germany….His boat is still for sale ??? with offers ready on his return, but will he change his mind?? Sponsors could make all the difference? I hope so as he has invested his sole in PUFFIN! A new wind vane like JL VDH’s Hydrovane Auxiliary steering system and remembering to shut the hatch to stop water getting below and this could be a great new story in 2022 !! The GGR is certainly an adventure that relies on the complete package of Planning , Preparation and Execution. One wrong decision and it can all change…

March 23rd 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is cleaning mould and drying out PUFFIN before heading off on a road trip with family and friends to get away from the water for awhile. His boat is still for sale so?? no mention of 2022 yet?? but he smiles a little when I say that?? He will return in about 10 days.

March 21st 2019 12:00 AM

American Hungarian solo yachtsman Istvan Kopar finally reached the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne, France at 13:58 UTC today to take 4th place in the 2018 Golden Globe Race.

March 19th 2019 12:00 AM

At 400 UTC today ISTVAN had only 127 miles to go and was making 5kts so it looks like he could arrive normally sometime on the 20th tomorrow, but in the next four hours his NW wind is forecast to stop and not return till late tomorrow. He will make very little progress.Then the wind will finally return from the NE or East directly from Les Sables where he wants to go, so he will be tacking! Even though he is so close today, it is going to be slow progress to the finish. He is NOT allowed to use his motor as he is less than 250 miles from the finish, so it is banned. ETA At the finish is still in the morning of the THURSDAY 21st.

March 18th 2019 12:00 AM

At 0500UTC Monday ISTVAN was making 5.1kts toward the finish with just 253 miles to go. He managed 120 miles in the last 24hrs reporting that his replacement wind vane blade maybe too short and is coming out of the water. During tonight this NW wind will decrease slowing progress, so a 100 mile day is expected.Then on Tuesday with just 150 miles to go, the wind is forecast to become very light, suggesting a 70 mile day and then on Wednesday as the wind builds slowly it will come from the North East!!! dead ahead, so he will be tacking back and forward to make the finish. ETA is still set for the 21st but may be in the morning. If the forecast light winds return earlier, or the direction changes, his arrival could be late on the 20th. but this is unlikely. He is close but wind will determine everything. The picture shows his position today, but the weather for TUE at 1400hrs UTC and Istvan at that time should be at the end of the blue line sitting in virtually NO WIND!..makes calculating an ETA very challenging.

March 14th 2019 12:00 AM


ISTVAN KOPAR is sitting on the top of the centre of a High pressure system sailing very slow. this will slow him for the next 24 hrs then he should start moving again for two days at 5kt averages then on the 198th at about 4kt average to reach within 200 miles of the finish in Les Sables but on current forecasts his problems start again with light headwinds for the 19th and 20th then no wind at all! Can he even make it by the 22nd? it is impossible to say but he will not be there till the end of the week!. No storms but challenges till the very end!

March 13th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is now in a large classic AZORES HIGH that will determine his progress for the next few days. The centre is eventually moving over his so he is sire to stop or slow dramatically tomorrow for nearly a day sometime tomorrow but for now progress is good at 4.7kts on track to the LES SABLES finish line. His ETA if 19th or 20th at this time. No mention of ongoing steering problems so for now it looks like it may last to the finish just 700 miles away…we are all waiting!!

March 11th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is actually looking OK if he keeps making North a little as well as East toward the finish. In two days he will either be getting head winds of beam winds all subject to what happens to the centre of the next high pressure forming just above him??? but it is fast sailing till then. He is currently making 5.6kts on track with only 928 miles to the finish!

March 9th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR has tacked across and is making for the finish line at last but another large HIGH pressure zone will appear in a few days creating more challenges for a fast finish. All is OK for now, sailing at 6.3kts and just 1150 miles to go!!

March 8th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR has made great progress North but should now start heading to the finish line in the East. He is clear of the AZORES High centre now and all wind should head him toward the finish as long as his steering gear holds up. He will be happy to cross the line for sure! A large group of 50 friends are flying in from America to meet him! His finger nails are getting better and he laughs easier on the phone, so he knows it will soon be over..Touch wood!

March 7th 2019 12:00 AM

Istvan is on the good side of his High pressure for now and making great progress North right where he needs to be. He will pass the AZORES soon and then should be able to head toward the finish!

March 6th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR needs to get North fast, but he does not know that yet. The the Centre of the HIGH is looming large and he is JUST staying ahead of it on the northern side for now. It is going to be a close run thing to see if he can stay with the good breeze at the top or get sucked into the no wind of the centre. He may just do it . He is making 3.3kts and so close ??? Too hard to call but there is no middle road..It will either be good sailing or total frustration in the next few days..

March 5th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is making 7.1kts this morning in strong NW winds that will start dropping fast in the hours ahead and his race with the centre of the Azores high begins. It is going to move over him and he will be just on the top edge?? so close to getting out, but will he?? It will dominate everything for him over the next three days and it is too hard to predict ISTVAN may get the other side of it or be stuck with little or worse! head winds. It is a close call ??? just have to wait ?? Good Luck ISTVAN!

March 4th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is making 5.1kts with 1660 miles to go, now 1000 miles behind UKU but moving in the right direction. He needs to get North not East? He ok for now with a day of good SW wind before they swing NW for one day and slow him considerably..then he has to juggle weather depending on his track..No easy answers but it could always be worse…for now it looks like two weeks to the finish!

March 1st 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is looking a bit better for wind and may just keep sailing slowly over the next two days to get him into the SW winds. Then he will probably get pushed to the NE and that may or may not be a problem depending on the movement of the next system that looks like and is acting like an AZORES High. He may or may not be on the wrong side and have head winds. But one day at a time! Things are OK.

February 28th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR finally has a little breeze to push him at 2.5 knts but the next week is one of low wind speeds and frustrations so he is not going to get too excited. He will keep moving but will have to work for that, as he faces multiple changing weather systems with center zones of no wind as obstacles. He reports today on soundcloud that his steering gear modifications are now working OK so he is confident he will steer to the finish eventually.

February 26th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN has been stalled and frustrated over the past four days in clams and light air. His distance to the finish today is shocking when you think back to last week when he was just a few hundred miles behind UKU. Now the gap to UKU is nearly 850 miles!! Unless something extraordinary happens it looks like UKU may lead the race home? Istvan is sailing at last in the NE trades making 4.9kts but sadly it is away from the finish like on a NNW course. More bad news is coming as just over a day ahead he has a blocking band of NO WIND that will again delay progress before he can get o the westerly winds on the other side! This is the transition zone of the wind shift, the center of a squashed AZORES High , flattened buy the powerful low pressure system above. Once he reaches those westerlies he will finally be headed toward the finish. At least his steering system is holding and progress on the water is steady, important factors if you want to finish and that is his priority!

February 22nd 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN has managed to repair once again his emergency tiller to the point he hopes and believes it should now go the distance to the finish. Stopping in AZORES is not a plan and he is totally focused on finishing. He has also now fallen back in love with his windvane. it works well on his tiller direct to the rudder rather than through the supplied wheel drum that was never his best piece of equipment. His toothache is held back now by antibiotics and so far the creams from the first aid kit has stopped his fungus infection from getting any worse. That’s all the good news. NOW for the BAD news. Istvan’s luck appears to be running out with the weather. If the forecast is correct the SE trade wind is falling apart around him and he will make very little progress over the next three days, virtually stopping and then when the wind returns it will not give him a smooth ride on track toward the finish but will push him once again north. He is certainly focused on finishing but UKU was still in his sights just 550 miles ahead, but now things are not looking so good for catching him.

February 18th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is struggling north at 4.6kts with 2572 miles to the finish, still with steering challenges but no fresh reports of new problems. At this stage he looks like sailing towards the AZORES as a precaution if his steering fails. He would then need to stop for repairs. He is still balancing sails which is easy to do with the wind in front of the beam, but if it turns to behind, it is a big problem. A sailor needs good steering and for now that is not what ISTVAN has…

February 15th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR on the other hand looks certain to get hooked up in areas of light wind as the Trades die off and he will be able to do nothing but wave goodbye to UKU! nothing is certain I suppose but with yesterdays report from istvan about his ongoing steering problems , the main thing on his mind today and over the next weeks is simply to finish with out having to stop somewhere now for repair. His Emergency tiller is fragile, his main steering pedestal failing. The GGR committee has decided that for safety considerations his outstanding 24hr Time Penalty will be added to his finishing time instead of requiring it to be served in the penalty BOX at 20 degrees North Latitude.

February 14th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is making better speed 6.1kts in the Trade winds than UKU and his steering is holding ok for now, even in the stronger winds. We look forward to the latest from his satphone call today! We wonder if ISTVAN appreciates that his Race is still on? He has been receiving weather reports from two hard working Ham radio operators so I think he is Racing but does not mention that on the phone very often!! His is a story of overcoming adversity like many, but can he close the Gap? he is just 650 miles ( 4-5days) behind UKU and with only 2911 miles to the finish!

February 12th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN is steering on borrowed time! He has no idea how long it will last. His main steering system is damaged and very fragile. His emergency tiller now in use was hand made onboard as the original failed months ago. He can sail well even with a fungus infection under his fingernails and around the boat. he is actually sailing a little faster than UKU today! At the moment UKU is 630 miles ahead with very little chance for ISTVAN to catch him as they both sail in the same tradewinds of around 15-25kts from the North East. He knows that UKU will arrive at the Azores HIGH before him and either UKU or ISTVAN may then get lucky or unlucky. It is a lottery with the weather deciding on the next move! it can still change the game so we must watch in about a week. This adventure which is the GGR has an unknown outcome for third place, but UKU is looking very good and ISTVAN can always dream! ..as long as his tooth ache is not too bad!

February 8th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is struggling in the doldrums that now appear to be opening up again. This morning he was making only 1.5kts but now he is making 5.4kts so the frustrations with squalls and changing weather looks likely to continue. Even worse is the change in forecast that had suggested an easy sail across this area is now changing for the worse. The Doldrums seem to be extending. It could be another four days of frustrations before he reached the NE trades now and his steering is a problem. The gearbox in the pedestal is failing fast with the bevel gears now regularly grinding a skipping. ISTVAN is hoping his made on board replacement Emergency Tiller will hold up if he needs to use it, or he may be forced to stop somewhere and that means CHICHESTER CLASS. With just 90 miles to reach the EQUATOR he could do it in just 18 hours or it could take two days!! ?? Watch this space.

February 6th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is just 460 miles behind UKU and making 4.3kts. The wind is soft but he is on the last edge of the trades entering the doldrums area. Wind is appearing but he needs to hurry across this zone because in three days this wind may disappear and he could slow down. He does not want to miss this opportunity! It will simply keep him in the Race!

February 5th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN has plenty of food on board. He is strong and while he suffers with various little challenges on board, NONE relate to the sailing ability and speed of his boat. His Rig, sails and navigation is OK. Not sure about his barnacles but I will find out this week. He can sail OK. His steering is a potential problem but for now he is OK. he is just 465 miles behind Uku right now. The Doldrums are closing up as he approaches so he should not lose time and will probably sail straight into the NE trades? they may then be just 450 miles apart. Anything can happen so it will be a pure boat race for the next two weeks, maybe even boring? but then the windows of opportunity and tactics open and there will be two of them. His radio is not performing well at all and the HAM radio operators are working hard to maintain a link so he can at least get a basic weather forecast. This may be critical for his ability to sail correctly when contemplating the Azores Hig and approach into the bay of Biscay later. It could change everything? Good luck to both!

February 4th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN is making the most of his trade wind sailing and regularly averaging 6kts. We are not sure of his Barnacle situation? This could make all the difference. We are not sure if Istvan even knows he is so close but we think he does. With all his electrical problems caused through the storm at the start of his Indian Ocean crossing his radio is effected and is not working well at all. Now he has some good news. If the weather forecast is correct in the next 12 -18 hours he will gain another 30 miles or more on UKU placing him to within 450 miles of each other. That is definitely striking distance! If UKU makes any mistake now the outcome could be a real surprise. The next good news is that if the forecast winds holds true, the Doldrums ahead are disappearing completely, closing up as the SE trades meet the NE trades and Istvan should sail straight through and not slow down. This will mean the Gap between the two when they are both in the NE trades will be three or four sailing days apart! Who will make the first mistake? that is more important than boat speed. Who will claim third place? WOW!

January 26th 2019 12:00 AM

Just 800 miles behind Uku, ISTVAN KOPAR is also enjoying the trades but they are not strong and will continue to push him toward the coast. The good news for him is that they will remain for many days and allow another opportunity to close the gap with UKU once he stalls in the doldrums! The next challenge then will be how fast ISTVAN can push through the same zone and if he can then hold that gain? He is enjoying the sailing though so watch this space in the future!

January 24th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR will enjoy the next two days of light winds if he knows the SE trades are coming down to meet him. He has some luck for sure if the forecast is correct. He will be off again chasing UKU RANDMAA. who by then will be about 1000 miles ahead. UKU is making the most of the trades but in about four days the doldrums are also coming south to meet him much lower than JL VDH and MARK experienced. Maybe he will slow and let Istvan gain again. The life of a sailor is never simple!

January 22nd 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is good at describing his constant challenges so we can expect to hear a bit in the next few days. The weather is all mixed up for him. In fact it is a mess. Not storms or calms or from the wrong direction….just a bit of everything , nothing and more. Yes total confusion is his best forecast for the next few days so his progress toward home will be on hold. he will just have to grin and bear it.. Now UKU will regain some distance lost.

January 21st 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR has challenges ahead to make any real progress for days and his turn now to watch UKU sail away. His current strong head winds could turn into NO WIND then light headwinds for the next four days or more as the HORSE latitudes start to impact his progress as it did for UKU. Looking a week ahead we see nothing but headwinds. The life of a sailor is always interesting for sure!!

January 18th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is sailing north fast and this will continue as the moderate SW wind builds into some very strong West winds. this will again let him make ground on UKU and in the next two days he could be just 250 miles behind on the track to the finish. Then he will enter a large head wind zone that could go on for weeks? that may give the game back to UKU?

January 15th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN had to stop yesterday for half a day to repair his wind vane wheel drum connecting lines to his main steering wheel. He is now making good progress again on track to the Northeast maintaining average speeds of around 5.5kts and continuing to gain on UKU RANDMAA who is stuck in a no wind hole. This trend could continue for a few more days and it may see the gap separating both (which was 1200 miles just days ago) eventually shrink to around 700 miles. That makes things quite interesting for these two as anything is possible with so far to go to the finish and the HORSE Latitudes delivering big doses of good or bad luck depending on where you are!

January 13th 2019 12:00 AM

Istvan is making the most of good breeze and favorable currents sailing at 5.2kts catching Uku a little each day, so things are happy onboard. UKU is sitting in a NO WIND Hole making at times less than 1kt, feeling as if he is getting dragged South by the wrong currents. His luck is not going to change in a hurry, as he is in an area of continuing light variable winds that could become normal over the next five days slowing his progress dramatically. The expected trade winds have gone for now. Even though ISTVAN is also going to struggle getting North, he may do better than UKU who is currently 1050 miles ahead. Can ISTVAN catch up? He will gain a little over the next few days maybe, but It will all come down to the weather. There is still a long way to go to Les Sables d’Olonne and the finish.

January 9th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN has been in strong 55kt winds sailing and five meter seas under TRYSAIL and STORM JIB the past 18 hours. He reports all well onboard. Conditions are expected to drop fast I the next few hours to enjoy some good sailing at last. TAPIO LEHTINEN has made some NORTH to move away from an approaching storm in two days but is currently becalmed now waiting for it. Seas are down to 2mtrs rolling swell so maybe there will be no sharks! and he can clean the bottom?

January 8th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR has heavy winds approaching his area. and was also issued the following weather alert today. ALERT 1800UTC WNW wind increase 35kt 2400utc W 45-55kt @ 0600UTC 9th Jan. WNW 30-35kt BUT storm just south so get North when possible from now. GDLK. If the forecast stays true Istvan should be able to clear the worst of this and keep sailing fast in the right direction but he will have some windy days!

January 6th 2019 12:00 AM

Istvan Kopar makes good speed North east in excellent conditions making 4.5 knots and will speed up during today before headwinds become his new reality tomorrow.

January 4th 2019 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is still smiling in his new world and likely to catch more water today with rain forecast and great sailing winds sending him NE on track. On the 6th his forecast headwinds will only last a few hours and then he is on his way again, so all is good right now as long as his steering gear box keeps rolling and his wind vane rope drum keeps turning.

January 3rd 2019 12:00 AM

Istvan Kopar has been becalmed for about 12 hours and has finally now received breeze. He is through the notorious Straight De la Mer between Isla de Los Estados and the main land with up to 6kt currents and steep seas going with the tide. He will now leave the Falklands to starboard going past with a very fast ride north for the next two days in good following winds and then hit solid headwinds. His Wind Pilot wheel drum connecting the wind vane to his steering system has apparently seized up in the past days causing further frustrations. Progress is sure and steady!

December 31st 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is getting ready for a BIG celebration around 1200UTC on the 1st January as he should be around Cape Horn by then. He has just 125 miles to go and the weather all looks reasonable for now. The sea is around 5-6mtrs constantly and winds averaging between 25-40 knts for the past 36hrs but no complaints as it is all from behind and his PUFFIN is moving well.

December 28th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR has timed his passage well toward the Cape with another two depressions just missing him in the next few days passing behind and north. He continues to make solid average speeds and is at 5.7kts today in Moderate Northerlies that will swing rapidly as the low passes. With 500 miles to run to the horn it looks like it may be late on the 1st before he turns the corner.

December 27th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is settled into the Southern Ocean routine moving well to the East and Cape Horn at 6kts. The 6mtr seas and 35-40kt wind continue with some lower conditions occasionally but the forecast is still OK for him to make a clear passage to the Horn. With 650 miles to go it should be his NEW YEAR present by the look, though he may have one day of light winds soon that could change that. So Far so good ! the Atlantic is waiting to welcome him!

December 26th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR has taken out his three Xmas day Reefs as the 40kt westerly wind has finally eased a little and is making 6kts toward the Cape Horn. That makes him happy for sure but it was a hard Xmas he will remember for a long time. The long range forecast over the next five days looks good with light to moderate winds and NO STORMS but with the dream now to pass into the Atlantic on New years day it could be a challenge as speeds may be slower than expected. I know he will be happy with some easy miles for a change so all seems well for now.

December 24th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR has made good ground over the weekend and is now 1000 miles from Cape Horn with more strong winds forecast in the next 24hrs. At the moment he has 35-45kts NW with a 6-7mtr sea that will soon swing SW 30-35kts that will hold right through Xmas day dropping finally on the 26th. The Sea however will stay at 5-6mtrs. Progress for a rounding on Dec 31st are still possible. His Wind Pilot wheel drum is still causing frustrations as it slips on the main steering wheel and it is bitterly cold. Xmas day for him will be one to remember! He is doing it hard and thinks the GGR is without Question the toughest sporting event ever…see his TWEETS!

December 21st 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR currently sits between two areas of heavy weather. One North the other South. He passed well through his last storm and now he is running to the east as fast as possible. He is very happy onboard and while he will be living a strong Southern Ocean life for the next week or more he is looking forward to Xmas and hopefully the Atlantic in the new year.

December 20th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR looks to be through the worst of the heavy winds and sea at 0800UTC today but the 6 mtr seas will continue for some time. While much of his electrical system was wiped out moths ago the boat is strong and his rig and sails are all in good condition ready for the next important 1500 miles toward Cape Horn. He is quite far south and can expect typical southern ocean weather for the next seven days with winds varying between 30 and 45kts and average seas from 4 to seven mtrs.It appears that his steering repairs may also be preforming OK but we look forward to hearing the story if he makes his scheduled weekly safety call today!

December 19th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR heading south kept him away from the little storm that passed close by overnight but now he needs to continue south to miss the worst of a 50-55kt north Westerly Front that will arrive in 18hrs with 6-7mtr seas. He will be effected with the worst of it for about six hours. The good news is he HAS CAUGHT WATER! that is a relief for sure and when 1500 miles still to go to CAPE HORN he will drink to that.

December 17th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is happy so far with his homemade steering bearings and thinks they should last to the finish. He is deep in the Southern Ocean and has plenty of BIG winds and sea all around that keep watching the weather. It will be tough days over the next few weeks before he gets around the horn but even with all the little issues and problems with electronics he is strong and the sailing and safety systems onboard are all good so the Challenge of the GGR is real for him right now.

December 14th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR has managed to outrun the worst of the storm which is passing over him right now and should see winds of around 45/55kts and 6mtr seas. The peak winds should only last about three to six hours . Fortunately the Storm track remained as forecast and is losing it’s intensity as it blows itself apart. Over the next 24hrs it will simply transform into boisterous Southern Ocean airflows and head straight toward UKU RANDMA who will come under it’s influence in about 200UTC on the 15th. He can expect the same 6mtr seas and 40-50kt NE winds for about 36hrs after they eventually swing to the SW. It will push him rapidly toward CAPE HORN. Once this system moves through UKU will have a clear run in what appears to be good weather at this stage for his rounding.

December 12th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR has been issued a weather alert with a dangerous storm approaching to his position in two days.We hope he can make at least 180 miles which is the lower marker on the distance track. We then have to hope the forecast track of this storm will be correct. Going South has risks as it moves closer to the center with the sudden wind shift zone? If he gets south he may Miss the worst of it. It changed and intensified in the last 18hrs. Yesterday we ALERTED Istvan to run East as fast as possible to outrun it but this now does not work as it has changed track. It will be up to Istvan to decide what to do . GGR can only offer advice . we update him every 12 hrs. Keep your fingers crossed.

December 10th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR struggles on with wobbly steering and lack of water. He sits too close to the NO GO zone, but the weather is good and he is happy about that. He has been here twice before sailing around the world and misses the idea of trying to catch SUSIE! UKU is too far ahead but this GGR is an adventure with an unknown outcome so for now he sits fourth in the ranking an amazing achievement. He will push as best he can to get home as quick as he can staying safe! He needs rain!

December 6th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR making 5.2kts has just one more day of good sailing then things start to lighten off. At least they are westerly winds but three days from now it looks like he will be becalmed in the center of a HIGH. This season the High pressure systems appear quite far south giving generally light winds just above the NO GO ZONE. Usually this area would expect more consistent westerlies and not too many big storms. The GGR plan to keep the fleet north of 46 South latitude has gone well, just that the one storm we had wrapped around SUSIE in nearly an identical way that it wrapped around GREGOR and ABHILASH in the Indian Ocean .

December 3rd 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR steering issues continue to worry him. All is Ok for now but there is real uncertainty as to how long it may all last. At the moment he is making good time east and it has not really slowed him up too much.He is planning to attempt fabricating two new bearings that could take weeks of effort. Still unable to catch any rain so now down to a six pack of beer, 16 bottles of water and about 10 ltrs left in the Tank.

November 28th 2018 12:00 AM

“GDTHISZONEWORSETHANDOLDRUMSCHAFESAWAYEVERYTHINGINCLUDINGOURSOUL”. At 600 miles in the wake of the English, ISTVAN is this morning idled in a high pressure band that will soon be filled by south winds that will gradually switch to the southwest, allowing him to go directly over the 46 ° south degree (limit of the forbidden navigation zone) for a few more days.

November 26th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan’s major concern is about steering…his new emergency tiller was made of ALUMINIUM and has now failed after just 12 hrs…in his main steering wheel all the bearings have collapsed and may not last another 1000 miles,it is already sloppy,so he may have to fit his emergency rudder but then he will be unable to sail the rest of the way to les Sables with that, so he is not sure what will happen…??? This is frustrating news! ISTVAN’s main halyard just snapped last night !! again so he must have some chafe at the top of the mast. He will wait to replace that ..not an easy job but for now the weather is reasonable for progress but headwinds may be on the horizon….

November 23rd 2018 12:00 AM

Steering problems are causing concern for ISTVAN. His main steering wheel bearings are wearing out and there is now a sloppy movement. It still steers but he has half a world still to go!..Will it make the distance. His windpilot self-steering gear wheel drum is also not efficient any longer and his EMERGENCY TILLER was a new aluminum one not as strong as the original steel unit so is now sloppy on the rudder shaft moving 20 degrees of play. ISTVAN is now under pressure to make a fix as there are still southern Ocean storm to come when steering is important.

November 22nd 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan just called GGR Race Control on his weekly safety sat phone call with steering issues, his emergency tiller is not working so well, his main steering wheel bearings are failing and his windpilot selfsteering wheel drum is not so good….his water tanks are nearly empty!l

November 21st 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN has accepted his time penalty for the ZONE and now heads north with headwinds leaving no other course. he has missed the gate and Susie and UKU will now pull away from him over the next three days. he has now asked GGR to consider a time allowance for his deviation from course and time lost assisting another sailor with emergency water in the Indian Ocean some months ago and GGR are now considering this.

November 19th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan is now catching up with Susie only 380 miles ahead but just clipped the edge of the North west corner of the NO GO ZONE sailing a total distance inside the zone of 1.59 miles. At the time he was sailing at 4.2 knts. Both Susie and Mark Slats have been sailing very close to line but Istvan is the first to move inside it. It appeared he would miss the corner but he was headed by the wind at the last minute and dipped through. A time penalty of 6h and 40 minutes have been applied for the incursion.

November 15th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan is feeling better in the Pacific than in the Indian Ocean. He enjoyed a gorgeous day yesterday, sunshine, moon and sky, birds, and dolphins swimming along Puffin for more than 30 minutes… But “i need rain” he said, because he is running very low on water, with less than 45 liters left. He is receiving the transmission and report of an hungarian HAM operator on HF. Few miles away from New-Zealand, he can reach the NZ radio frequencies to get some news update.
With still half a world to go, Istvan is planning to round Cap Horn for Christmas, and to be in the Atlantic for New Year !

November 14th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan, 200 behind the english, is delighted to pass his first Cape without being stuck in a storm like it was the case for the 4 other caps he rounded so far ! After New Zealand marking the entry into the Pacific, only remains Cape Horn.

November 12th 2018 12:00 AM

“GD NO TIME FOR READING CONSTANT HAS SLE and EPAIR ON WINDPILOT KEEP ME BUSY” The entry into the Pacific seems a little complicated for ISTVAN, currently in southern New Zealand. A strong north wind that will first hit TAPIO in the middle of the Tasman Sea will catch up within two days and if the US-Hungarian skipper should escape the strongest of this gust of wind, from which he will likely remain in front of, he may have to manage a sea a little messy near the coasts. Istvan finally went to the hairdresser this morning!

November 7th 2018 12:00 AM

The crossing of the Tasman Sea looks serene for ISTVAN, 900 miles from the Estonian and 200 miles from the English lady. The crossing of a violent depression in the south in 4 days, however, should raise a large swell that could make the approach of southern New Zealand uncomfortable, especially as the wind may be relatively low at that time …

November 5th 2018 12:00 AM

Sheltered from the storm since Friday, Istvan crossed the mandatory Gate yesterday at Kingston Beach, and has just left the Tasmanian shores at sunrise. Puffin attacks just now the first miles of the Tasman Sea, 200 NM behind the Englishwoman. Both will benefit from relatively mild weather in the coming days.

November 2nd 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN Had some real challenges trying to get into Recherché bay and has instead now safely anchored at SOUTHPORT BEACH as a PORT of REFUGE about 35miles south of the Boatshed.com Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania film drop. He will sit out the extreme weather there till early Sunday morning then head to KINGSTON BEACH.

November 1st 2018 12:00 AM

ETA Istvan to the Boatshed.com Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania Hobart film drop is 0200UTC on 2nd NOV or FRIDAY early afternoon Hobart local time. He will be running ahead of the strong STORM approaching from the SW. Istvan is racing ahead of it to hopefully reach the Boatshed.com film drop buoy before the peak and while he has not advised his intentions yet we think he may stay on the bouy till it passes.

October 29th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN is getting prepared to finish off with the Indian Ocean, in which he avoided the worst gales, but it has not spared him. With the accumulation of the technical problems for the American-Hungarian, he thought to have embarked the ghost of Murphy… It shows à good progression this week, catching up on Susie, still 320 miles away.

October 26th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan accumulates technical problems … His unit YB3 allowing him to write and receive text messages takes no longer any charge. GGR Race Control had to reactivate its second unit, hoping that the charging cable still works properly and is hopefully dry. This is in addition to the fact that he has only one satellite phone available remaining. The list of his spares is gradually dwindling, but he still has all the necessary means to communicate properly.

October 12th 2018 12:00 AM

Puffin is still drying out, everything electronic is stuffed on board and not even any time signals for Navigation…but he is still smiling and strong!! With the storm passing under him in the next days.
Even though ISTVAN KOPAR’s relatively northern position in the mid-fleet, encouraged by a warning message from GGR Race Control, should allow him to avoid the worst of the system. The general strengthening of the wind over the coming days, could be accompanied by a significant drop in temperature, but should also allow him to progress east and to gain ground on MARK SLATS.

October 9th 2018 12:00 AM

The peloton consisting of ISTVAN KOPAR, TAPIO LEHTINEN, and SUSIE GOODALL are slowly coming up on MARK and UKU and the arrival of a good depression in two days should allow these three skippers to nibble for more miles, around a wide band of high pressures that will move to ISTVAN and TAPIO before the arrival of the depression. “GD MURPHY MOVED IN PERMANENTLY HFLC DISFADIN GOUTAS THE LATEST DEVELOPM”

October 5th 2018 12:00 AM

ISTVAN KOPAR is pushed by the winds and should continue to progress properly these next two days, bows pointed to the east.
Today on the phone, he tells us that he had a relatively “calm week compared to the last storms”. He was able to refill his water supply with the rain, one day after he helped the English navigator in lack of water, by offering him his container. Also, he managed to repair his radio that works better now.

September 29th 2018 12:00 AM

Behind, ISTVAN KOPAR, as well as SUSIE GOODALL, TAPIO LEHTINEN, and LOIC LEPAGE will have to face a much more violent system. Fortunately, they are located, following the recommendations of the organization of the GGR, high edge of the gale. But their relatively northern position should also preserve them from the bulk of the swell and the wind.

September 25th 2018 12:00 AM

“GD TKS FOR THE GOOD NEWS and OUTSTANDING COORDINATION WISHING FAST RECOVER” ISTVAN KOPAR, has benefited from better weather conditions than the leading group, even if the swell generated by the gale of this weekend is still consistent. Alongside TAPIO LEHTINEN and LOIC LEPAGE, he is sailing on the high edge of a northwesterly wind system that will become even stronger before waning as he moves south-west … Wind directions will allow him to progress towards the direct route, fully East. Note that ISTVAN KOPAR who overtook TAPIO LEHTINEN is now behind the finland due to a tough passage of the depression this weekend.

September 20th 2018 12:00 AM

The next 48 hours are expected to be violent for the fleet…In fact, two low pressure systems could lift swells of more than 10m and winds exceeding 50 knots. Istvan Kopar has already faced it last night, Puffin was knockdown around 4:30, damaging his communication means, but he is ok.

September 19th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan still sailing along with Tapio, was heat by a storm last night : “WAS BEATING 35KT SENELY LAST NIGHT WHICH SHIFTED INTO ANLY STORM BY AM TRY” ; Puffin“ SAILNLY STORM GOT HERE AND AM AND GOT DROP TRY SANDD PLOYDROGUE ABOVE 60KT” He still seems to have some problems with his windvane, and is getting ready to face the new storm system developing in the south, and arriving through in the next 48h.. “GD YESTERDAY STORM SLOWED ME DOWN TODAY THE LACK OF WIND I HAVE NEVER BEEN A” “FAN OF THE INDIAN OCEAN BETTER PREP FOR THE WORTH”.

September 13th 2018 12:00 AM

“We are in the second quarter of the race now”. He says. Istvan reported to the Race Control this morning during his weekly safety call, that he saw the barometer go down at once last night around 4am, and was impressed by lightning, without thunder! Scary, unique and silent ..Then, the sun rose, beautiful and everything calmed down, the conditions were superb. Istvan #Kopar (via satellite) “Bien6èmeàpasserlecapd’Agulhas,3foiscôtéouestmaisc’étaitleSudouest”

September 10th 2018 12:00 AM

Day 70 : rounding Cape of Good Hope ! This morning, ISTVAN KOPAR and TAPIO LEHTINEN found themselves rounding the Cape at the same time within 1 mile of each other, allowing eye contact, after so many days of sailing, and after good trajectories. different …

September 6th 2018 12:00 AM

“GD IN MAJOR STORM IT’S ROARING STORMJIB AND TRYSAIL”Similar storm in Similar place in Similar time as SUHAILI 50 years earlier. Istvan Kopar Solo Circumnavigator getting on with his adventure is still smiling!”

September 4th 2018 12:00 AM

After his nice progress last week, Istvan seems to have had few troubles lately : (via satellite) “GD MY SELF STEERING LEFT ME ALONE AGAIN IN A NASTY STORM DURING THE WEEKEND” and he is writing this morning : “GD IN MAJOR STORM IT’S ROARING STORMJIB AND TRYSAIL”.

August 30th 2018 12:00 AM

This is going pretty well for the last trio of this GGR 2018. ISTVAN KOPAR is the fastest, at nearly 6 knots. He has traveled more than 130 miles in the past 24 hours. He even overtook TAPIO LEHTINEN, close to him in his north. Last, MARK SINCLAIR slips to nearly 5 knots, is catching up on Istvan.These last three boats should not suffer too much in the coming days, even if the wind will go down slightly. They will be the first to touch the front coming behind them and this powerful zone of fresh wind will reach them on September the 1st and then sweep the entire fleet!

August 22nd 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan goes to a headwinds zone that stands in his way South. He has been like in “Daroller Coaster” the past few days.

August 16th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan is progressing well at 5.3nds, and enjoys his adventure. He has not yet replaced the broken halyard, nor repaired that gas leak, but his water leak is almost fixed. He is worried about his water supply (via satellite): “FRESH WATER DUE TO LACK OF RAIN DRINKING WISA CONCERN NOW “ and the suddent icy cold temperature last night pushing him outside on the deck last night to check / monitor possible icebergs with his spotlight!

August 14th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan is enjoying a good breeze to go across for the moment, and he should be in a good position in the next few days to progress at a good speed. Istvan #Kopar (via satellite) GDYDPLUMBERTDELECTRITIANINTHEMOSTBUMPYTWRIDEEVERCROSSINGBRAZI

August 9th 2018 12:00 AM

At the back, Istvan speed off through the southeastern tradewinds well established. He told us today that he must find a solution to repair a leak at the bow of the boat, because at the moment he is emptying 50 liters of water every 2 days from the front compartment. He also mentions that he will have to clean up the many barnicles already attached to the rear of Puffin.

August 6th 2018 12:00 AM

This morning, ITSVAN KOPAR crossed the equator, in 13th position. Puffin is now well established in the southeast trade wind symbolizing the exit of the Doldrums when diving south. The Americano-Hungarian is indeed spinning at speed and has the best average of the race in the last 24 hours, with nearly 120 miles sailed. In its wake, only ANOINE COUSOT remains, in Chichester Class.

August 3rd 2018 12:00 AM

There are only two boats left in the northern hemisphere, in the 2018 Golden Globe Race, Antoine in the Chichester category, and Istvan who is closing the overall ranking. Istvan has finally tacked to the south west, and is still a little more than 300 miles away from the imaginary line, symbolic passage to the south… He reports in his last text message, a problem with his Winpilot, whose palle was damaged. Still some repairs to plan for Istvan!

July 27th 2018 12:00 AM


In the spirit of the GGR and accepting stress may have confused ISTVAN on Rule interpretation and on the basis that no real or materiel advantage has been provided to ISTVAN through the inappropriate use of his satellite phone and his stop in Port, an alternate time penalty has been decided. For breaching NOR 3.1.4 an 18-hour time penalty is given. For breaching NOR 3.1.5 a 6-hour time penalty is given. ISTVAN will now move from CHICHESTER CLASS back into the GGR ENTRANT status. Detail could check out GGR facebook.

July 20th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan has been wrestling with his boat desperately trying to get Puffin to self steer since the start. Now he is wrestling with whether to stop in the Cape Verde Islands to change his wind vane self steering system. The detail on his charts does not inspire him with confidence in approaching the islands and he knows that the process of changing systems will cost him many days. This is all balanced against the brutal experience of trying to sail the boat without effective self steering. Istvan is a man in conflict presented with tough decisions as a move to the Chichester Class looms large.

July 18th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan has been engaged in a battle to get his boat to self steer since the start in Les Sable d’Olonne. He has hand steered for most of the race. His messages and his face at the film drop in Lanzarote spoke of one thing, exhaustion. Many would have relented but Istvan is such a determined man. It must have been a heart breaking decision to head for the Cape Verde Islands where he intends to change his self steering equipment. In doing this he will join Antoine in the Chichester Class. Lets hope that this solves his problems and allows Istvan to get some proper sleep.

July 16th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan has been struggling to get his boat to self steer, reporting that “It is very frustrating. I can’t even go down below to use the heads without the boat going out of control. I have been hand steering since the start and have no energy for anything else. This is the big issue and the biggest challenge will be trying to control the boat in the Southern Ocean. That is really scary. Im sure I’ll be knocked down several times. If it wasn’t for my sponsors, I would give up.” Life is tough on Puffin.

July 11th 2018 12:00 AM

Istvan continues to have problems getting his boat to work effectively with the wind vane self steering system. This is still driving him to high levels of fatigue as he hand steers the Puffin for long hours. He has managed to master the YB3 texting unit now and is sending in his daily messages which is encouraging.

July 6th 2018 12:00 AM

Light winds have played havoc with Istvan's wind vane

Istvan had a frantic preparation in Les Sable d’Olonne and it must have been some relief to get to sea. Light winds have played havoc with his wind vane self steering and the friction of the steering system may be contributing to this. Consequently he is hand steering for most of the day and has fallen under the lure of the Galician coast. Nabil reported seeing him hove too, called out and got no response. No doubt getting little sleep, he sounds exhausted when he made his weekly phone call.

April 5th 2018 12:00 AM

Work on American Istvan Kopar’s Tradewind 35 Puffin has been delayed by four snowstorms to have hit his Oyster Bay base on Long Island New York during the past month, but he expects to set out on his first ocean test to Bermuda in mid-April.
“My schedule has been extremely overloaded. We are currently fitting a wind generator and solar panels and I am working on my safety gear and provisioning.”
Istvan plans to set sail for Bermuda accompanied by his team manager Ian Gumprecht to minimize the risks during this first offshore sea trial across the Gulf Stream before continuing across the Atlantic solo to Southampton where he will pick up new sails and finish the tune up.

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