OUT 2018

Mark John Sinclair (63)





Name Mark John Sinclair

Born August 20th 1958

Nationality Australian

Country of entry Australia

Race GGR 2018

Boat Class Suhaili

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.


Boat [Suhaili]


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

December 12th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SINCLAIR has today officially retired. He has taken too long to reach his half way point and he knows that. His barnacle garden did not help and he ran out of water sailing conservatively north of the best route to avoid storms and missed any rain! Such a warm welcome by family and friends and the prospect of now sailing slowly to cape Horn arriving late in the season makes an easy decision. He will miss everything about the GGR and has loved every minute and who knows about GGR2022?? We hope to see him in Les Sables d’Olonne Agglomeration in APRIL 22nd for the last big party!

December 10th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SINCLAIR is working on COCONUT and did NOT eat the huge Barnacles removed that probably slowed him by 1.5kts. He is also working on his mind. He is home to a warm reception. He is sleeping on a bed, eating fresh food, having long showers and laughing with friends. The temptation is great to stay? Will he? Or will he rush for Cape Horn. LIVELY LADY and Sir ALEC ROSE sailed around in March? Has COCONUT got enough time and is he going to be a CHICHESTER sailor…watches this space?

December 6th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SINCLAIR arrive in Adelaide for his resupply. His hometown welcome as friendly and exciting for him. We will now look forward to hearing about progress and future sailing date in Chichester Class. He had completely run out of water three days before arrival and used his hand desalinator to make his cup of Tea!

December 3rd 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SINCLAIR Is currently about 100 miles SW of Adelaide making about 4.5kts and is expecting generally light head winds over the next 24/36 hrs so unless he has some fuel left to motor he may not arrive until 0800hrs UTC on the 4th. DECEMBER at the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron. A large group of home town family and friends are expected to meet. he is down to last 6 litres of water – 2 days supply and does not have a large scale chart but he has sailed those waters for half his life and knows them well.

November 28th 2018 12:00 AM

No more racing strategy for MARK and IGOR. Respectively at 520 and 600 miles from their technical stopovers (Adelaïde for the Australian and Albany for the Russian), they are preparing to take both their boat out of the water to clean the barnacles of the hull which have very strongly slowed their progression these past month. while MARK should take a week to reach his home port, which will be easy to access since he knows it by heart, he should take another ten days to reach Australia. It will be interesting to see how the second part of the course will unfold for these two sailors. They will have found their full potential back after the stopover… but in Chichester class.

November 26th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark is now headed to Adelaide and the ROYAL SOUTH AUSTRALIAN YACHT CLUB to slip and resupply. He is very low on water and also have some barnacles on the keel and rudder he wants to remove. For a few days he has had SHARKS around the boat so he is not keen to dive and clear them. family and friends will be happy to see him and he will move to CHICHESTER CLASS on his arrival there. He is about 750 miles away so should arrive in about a week.

November 21st 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SINCLAIR is seriously looking forward to HOBART now and it has him concentrating. He says somewhere between 5th and 10th dec. he will arrive. he has a welcoming group of friends sailing and flying in and as he is very low on water now he may decide to stop. WE have not heard if he has a barnacle problem and all seem s the usual HAPPY HAPPY onboard but he admits with no real washing of clothes, things down below are quite interesting !!! ..No storms for the next few days and it is so far a gentle trip across the Indian for him! lets hope it lasts.

November 19th 2018 12:00 AM

Capt Coconut has advised that a stop at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania to pick up water (now less than 37ltrs left) and refresh supplies may be on the cards as he finally passes under CAPE LEEUWIN with even SUHAILI now over 1000 miles in front, heading to the entrance of Port Phillip Bay where SIR ROBIN will pass over letters for England to the pilot cutter. Family and Friends from Adelaide will be happy to see him.

November 14th 2018 12:00 AM

Capt’n Coconut finally changed charts as he approaches his home continent in the wake of the Suhaili. With the approach of Australia, MARK should have few broad zones without wind will surround him before finding moderate southwesterly winds this weekend.

November 12th 2018 12:00 AM

Coconut is now well ahead off Esmeralda, distant this morning by nearly 700 miles. After crossing the wake of GREGOR MCGUCKIN’s boat, Captain Coconut is close to the place where LOIC LEPAGE unfortunately had to scuttle his boat. That means he is finally getting closer to Australia, which is now only 600 miles away. Mark seems active on the boat : “USED RDF TRANSFORMER TO RUN SONY CASSETTE PLAYER THRU 12V DC”, and reports to us this morning that he was“LISTENING TO 1DAY CRICKET ON ABC,AUST VS S AFRICA IN TASSY”.

November 7th 2018 12:00 AM

Nice sailing conditions awaits Capt’n Coconut, now less than 1000 miles from the Australian coast, expecting to benefit from moderate but still downwinds to progress easterly in the wake of Suhaili.

November 5th 2018 12:00 AM

At 2500 NM away from this second Drop Point, MARK continues its slow progression towards the east, once again slowed down by a zone of high pressure which will happily be absorbed quickly.. Capt’n Coconut is only slightly faster than Igor with an averaged of 2.8 knots over the ground in the past two months. Hopefully good sailing breezes with catch up to them soon. ETA for Tasmania scheduled around the 10th of december..

November 2nd 2018 12:00 AM

Coconut always evolves in very manageable conditions. Mark has found Gregor McGuckin yacht and taken photos. He reports the AIS beacon is still operational and it is floating high in the water.

October 29th 2018 12:00 AM

Barely halfway through the Indian Ocean, Captain Coconut does not seem to be interested in winning. “BOURGUIGNON BEEF AND POTATOES FOR DINNER (LYOPHILISE)” indicates his last message in excellent “frenchglish”. This is the dream life for captain Coconut who does not seem to get sick of the slow speeds that transports him on a sea that he loves to contemplate … But Coconut is on his way now to check out Gregor McGuckin yacht currently adrift !

October 26th 2018 12:00 AM

Capt’n Coconut approaching Amsterdam island! From where he surely revive again the terrible storm which had taken place in this area, causing the dismating and retirement of his two comrades, Abhilash and Gregor … But he keeps the spirits high and continues its progression towards the East, half-way through the Indian Ocean, heading to Tasmania.

October 24th 2018 12:00 AM

Far from the Australian longitudes, Coconut continues his slow progression towards the east, between 3 and 4 knots of average. Fortunately, the moderate southwesterly flow in which he is currently evolving alongside Igor, will shift to the west-northwest, strengthening tomorrow, allowing them to slide faster on the direct route, in à reinforcing swell. At least they will soon have passed the first half of the Indian Ocean, often described as the most difficult from circumnavigators !

October 17th 2018 12:00 AM

After his weekly safety phone call, Capt’n Coconut is still smiling, and determined to head east and get to Hobart. All well onboard happy as usual with boat all OK, still challenged with weather but at least he his comfortable. And enjoying very much his Marine life! “SAILED PAST SEAL BASKING IN SUN-CLOSEST LAND CROZET I,600NM!”; “3 STORMY PETRELS TRYING TO LAND ON PITCHNG MAST-CAREFUL LADS”; “2 SQUID ON DECK,3RD ON MAINSAIL BETWEEN 2ND & 3RD REEFING PT”!…”ALBATROSS LANDING CLOSE ASTERN EXPECTANTLY-SORRY SQUIDS OFF!”.

October 10th 2018 12:00 AM

On his way heading south, 4600 miles from the leader, MARK SINCLAIR will try to be in Hobart before Christmas! But Coconut is stuck in the bellybutton of a high pressures system from which Mark is trying try to escape by running down south, to hang on to some downwinds that would allow Coconut to curl its trace to the east, to head back in the right direction ! If he is in last position with Igor so far, he closes the line of uncredible adventurers inspired by an immense quest, which must inspire the greatest respect. Already 100 days of loneliness spent at sea … Everything is fine on board, but he ran out of lemons and is missing them already…

October 9th 2018 12:00 AM

1100 miles from Breton, IGOR ZARESTSKIY and MARK SINCLAIR also fight with the calm of the Indian. At 50 miles from each other, they chose two different routes, the Russian persisting towards the north while the Australian plunges to the south. After a strong slowdown tomorrow, MARK should find some wind.

October 8th 2018 12:00 AM

Finally, at nearly 4500 miles from JEAN-LUC, an ocean of difference, MARK SINCLAIR visibly struggling à little bit being pushed north in a confused sea by a very unstable wind from south-southeast. 2.6 knots, these last 4 hours. And not on the direct road … The worst is that in front of them should be a large area of high pressure in two days …

October 2nd 2018 12:00 AM

At the back of the fleet, MARK SINCLAIR is struggling to find its rhythm in the Indian Ocean. Captain Coconut is still so close to the coast that he can still captures African radios. But once is not custom, and this morning it is at the rear of the fleet that it progresses best. MARK SINCLAIR advance full east, in a good vein of northwesterly wind that pushes Coconut reaching in a relatively manageable sea.Less than 750 miles off the African coast, he still has all the Indian Ocean to cross ..

September 26th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SINCLAIR in a moderate westerly wind, should see its progression curbed once again the next 24 hours by the passage of a small band of weak winds before being soon caught by a strong depression next Friday… the violent Great Southern routine begins only for this sailor. MARK SINCLAIR is this morning nearly 4000 miles from JEAN-LUC VAN DEN HEEDE!

September 25th 2018 12:00 AM

At the tail end of the fleet, 3800 miles from the leader JEAN-LUC VAN DEN HEEDE, MARK SINCLAIR definitely decided to get off the African coast and current Agulhas. He should now finally find good north winds, the same ones that will arrive a little before on IGOR ZARETSKIY, still OK, nearly 300 miles ahead of the Australian.

September 19th 2018 12:00 AM

The very large storm that is going to hit the rear of the fleet arrives by the west-southwest and will raise a huge sea, with swells that should exceed 10 meters … But the worst off is probably MARK SINCLAIR. Stuck off Port Elizabeth, on the edge of the strong current Agulhas that runs along the shores of Eastern Africa to the south. He will be caught up with a strong wind blowing opposite to the current direction and a huge sea raising. Fortunately for the skipper, this delicate phase should be relatively short because the system will move quickly but MARK SINCLAIR is probably preparing himself to experience the most uncomfortable hours since he left Les Sables d’Olonne on July the 1st. Mark #Sinclair (via satellite) “RUNNING B4 SW GALE INSIDE AGULHAS CURRENT AWAITING ABATEMENT”.

September 18th 2018 12:00 AM

Still safe near the African coast, MARK SINCLAIR will probably slow down a little to escape this dangerous mix of wind against current that looms in front of his bow. Its proximity to the coast allows it to easily get the latest weather forecast. On his last phone call this morning, he gave us a FULL explanation on Capt’n Coconut. Mark Sinclair cruising itinerary and big decisions ahead !! .. Whales, seals and cool local music!

September 13th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark #Sinclair (via satellite) LAND HO! Capt’n Coconut Mark Sinclair made his film drop off Cape Town and is underway again and Dale was out there to say HI! “COCONUT MEETS PIPPIN AT GATHERING OF LELLO CLAN IN TABLE BAY”.

September 10th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SINCLAIR and IGOR ZARESTSKIY, respectively 2600 and 2850NM from the leader, are entangled (at respectively 1.5 and 2.2 knots) in a calm zone that should last until tomorrow evening, before it also generate headwinds … and then find à good downwnids. But Mark does not play against time, he has even planned to approach Cape Town to drop his films, which will cost him a few days on his comrades already on the direct route EST …Mark remains focused and occupied on board : “ASCENDED MAST TO UNFOUL HALYARDS AND ADJUSTED FURLER ANTIWRAP” “MEN AT WORK PLAYING ON MAGIC 828KHZ- COCONUT SUNDAY ROUTINE”.

September 4th 2018 12:00 AM

Heavy weather for Capt’n Coconut !Yesterday Mark had to face “2 SQUALLS OF 45KTS TODAY-NO3 JIB REEFED DOWN TO HANKERCHIEF”. And this morning : “HOURLY SQUALLS, HAIL & FRIGID EARS WHEN WOOLY HAT BLOWN OFF” when he was on deck at the bow. He confirmed this morning that it’s “haly and really cold”, “still 200 NM from Cape Town” that he intents to pass by or to reach next tuesday afternoon. He reckons his ETA for les Sables d’Olonne is 22d of April!

August 29th 2018 12:00 AM

“SADDENED TO HEAR ARE DISTMASTED – SING OUT MATE IF HELP REQD” This was the message delivered by Capt’n Coconut to his comrade Are WIIG who suffered a knock down this weekend. Coconut has progressed honorably this last week, coming back from far away, finally coming back from the west! And gradually catching up, and decreasing the gap to reach TAPIO and ISTVAN a little less than 60 NM in front of him. The 3 of them brought the rear, nearly 2000 miles in the wake of the leaders. Mark writes: “FIRST LOGBOOK FULL – 192 PAGES OF COPPERPLATE MANUSCRIPT.” and that he is “FINE SAILING UNDER MOONLIT SEA”

August 22nd 2018 12:00 AM

Mark really appreciated the presents for his birthday ! He was 60 on Monday 20th August, and had a VHF connection on that day, with a sailor next to his boat who had relayed a message from his daughter. He is one of the skippers who stay the most West in the GGR group.

August 17th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SINCLAIR, still further west at the back of the fleet, is unfortunately trapped in à high pressure area which seems to want to develop around him in the next 24 hours, before he has to fight with headwinds next… Cap’n Coconut keeps his spirits up and stays busy on board: “LIGHT W BREEZE,RESIDUAL N SWELL,COLLECTED 20LITRES IN SQUALL” and “BECALMED OVERNIGHT, ROLLING TO THE SWELL, CLATTER BANG …”.

August 14th 2018 12:00 AM

Enjoying his sailing time and looking after the boat and not pushing it too much, trying to find the best setup to adapt the size/type of sails/and balance of the boat to progress efficiently on the Ocean with Coconut. Mark #Sinclair reports (via satellite) it’s “POSITION BY ASTRONAV (SUNSIGHTS) 60NM OFF IS MARTIN VAZ BRZL” and a “FAIRY TERN FROM TRINDADE HITCHED RIDE ON COCONUT FOR NIGHT”.

August 7th 2018 12:00 AM

Coconut looks much further south than Istvan on the traker, but his route to the west worth him the least position in the overall ranking today, gradually dragging Coconut away from the direct route to the Cape of Good Hope. Cap’tn Coconut is having a raff time and few browses on board but nothing serious. He sounded still very happy this morning on the phone,and enjoying his chat session on the radio everyday with the other entrants, mentionning “Antoine, Uku, Are, Abilash, Gregor and Susie yesterday”. Marc was reporting ” FLYING FISH GLIDING OFF EITHER BOW AS COCONUT THUNDERS SOUTH”

August 6th 2018 12:00 AM

There are only two boats left in the northern hemisphere, in the 2018 Golden Globe Race. Cap’tn Coconut is no more than a hundred miles from the symbolic line while Isvan is still far behind him, just over 300 miles … Sailing at about 6 knots, he should cross the line in a few hours. Mark reports that it has been very hot lately and that he enjoys the music on board, smiling character as always!

August 3rd 2018 12:00 AM

There are only two boats left in the northern hemisphere, in the 2018 Golden Globe Race. Cap’tn Coconut is no more than a hundred miles from the symbolic line while Isvan is still far behind him, just over 300 miles … Sailing at about 6 knots, he should cross the line in a few hours. Mark reports that it has been very hot lately and that he enjoys the music on board, smiling character as always!

August 1st 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SINCLAIR, not far from ABHILASH TOMY and LOIC LEPAGE, is now out of the Doldrums and is also pointing south. Slightly set back on the eastern side, MARK SINCLAIR did not escape to the last brake on the exit of the Doldrums, but managed to catch up a little on its direct rivals. The southeastern tradewind does not seem fully established for “Captain Coconut” who mentions the strong presence of rain… these violent showers still allowed him to recover 55 liters of water! Still at the back of the fleet, Captain Coconut like a real Robinson Crusoe, is on a long-term strategy and intends to enjoy this adventure with a great A!

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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