Entrant 2018

Mark Slats (44)




Name Mark Slats

Born April 8th 1977

Nationality Dutch

Country of entry Netherlands

Race GGR 2018

Boat Class Suhaili

Mark Slats is another to have completed a solo circumnavigation before, sailing the 46ft Alan Buchanan designed yacht Cornelia in 2004/5. The Dutch sailor who was born in Darwin, Australia and moved to the Netherlands at the age of 8, has bought the Rustler 36 The Ohpen Maverick – the first one to be built.
Mark has his own business renovating old houses, but found preparing for the GGR and the 2017 Talisker Transatlantic Rowing Challenge took up a great deal of his time. “I’m out training 8 hours each day and been spending the rest planning for these two events. It is very time consuming!”

Remarkably, Slats overcame the disappointment of losing his fellow rower in the 2-man class, shortly before the start of the Talisker Challenge, but went on and won the singlehanded class, in record time after finishing 4th overall, ahead of all the 2-man crews!

Mark’s GGR challenge is managed by Dutch naval architect Dick Koopmans. The yacht was sailed across the North Sea to his home port of Wassenaar near the fishing port of Scheveningen earlier in 2017, and had a 3-man team fitting the boat out under Koopman’s direction while Mark was rowing across the Atlantic.
Why has he entered the GGR? “Because I live for this stuff” he says.


Boat [Suhaili]


Name The Ohpen Maverick
Type Rustler 36 Masthead sloop
Designer Holman & Pye
Builder Rustler Yachts (UK)
LOA 35.33ft / 10.77m
LWL 26.92ft / 8.21m
Beam 11.00ft / 3.35m
Draft 5.50ft / 1.67m
Displacement 16805 lbs / 7623 kgs
Sail area 693sq. ft / 64.38sq. m

Mark Slats is one of seven GGR skippers to select the Rustler 36 production yacht for the Race. It is the most popular class by far.
“The boat is in pretty good shape.” says Mark, adding. “The team has stripped off the teak deck and will step a new mast and rigging before our planned re-launch in March 2018. Dick Koopmans is making a study of the expected weather conditions around the course and designing a sail plan to suit. From March, I will be sailing full time to be ready for the race start on July 1st.”

Skipper Updates

February 22nd 2019 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is due home on Saturday so follow the GGR tracker if you are planning to meet him! The GGR 2018 Prize giving is exactly two months from Today and all are welcome to attend in Les Sables so hope to see you then!

February 15th 2019 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is just arriving in FALMOUTH for a few days of visiting friends before setting sail again for home. He is enjoying the sail with Dolphins, fresh food, GPS , an electric autopilot and movies!! not ot mention plenty of great music! The life of a normal sailor!!

February 14th 2019 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is underway again to Falmouth to visit friends then home shortly after.

February 4th 2019 12:00 AM

MARK continues to wind down amongst friends and family. He walks with a smile every day, happy it is over, happy to be with his mother, sad he did not win but proud to be part of History and happy knowing he did his best. He is one of the original GGR entrants who was racing from Day one! He did just that and we in the last few days we have seen some of his pictures and films and know his story, so you should get excited!!! He has an amazing story to tell and he will very soon in his book and documentary. You will love it!! The GGR2018 does not stop if they retire or cross the finish line. All Entrants will all tell their story and even then it is hard to tell everything the first time. Little bit will come out for years! WELL DONE MARK! Congratulations and thanks for being part of the GGR! Now he is going sailing again soon!! To sail his boat back home. I guess he feels at home on the sea!we will leave the tracker running so you can know when to expect him for the BIG party when he arrives! Good luck and sail safe always.

January 26th 2019 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is racing at 6.9kts on course now 330 miles behind JEAN LUC VDH who is just 400 miles from the Les Sable finish.Meanwhile MARK will enjoy perfect sailing conditions and should continue to steadily but slowly close the gap even more toward the finish. Unless something dramatic happens it will be impossible to overtake him even though the last 100 miles for JL VDH could be VERY SLOW! MARK may be about 270 miles behind as JL VDH crosses the finish and should then have a quick run to the line, but there are a few wind holes and another storm in the area so only time will tell. An early ETA is suggesting late Wednesday the 30th January for the next big party!!

January 24th 2019 12:00 AM

In the next 36hrs MARK will turn EAST toward the finish line , finally leaving the center of the high behind and chasing JL VDH boat for boat directly behind. He will be about 350 miles astern and JL VDH will have only 350 miles to the finish. Normally this is impossible for Mark to catch up, but anything can still happen. Will JL VDH be safe and let this storm blow through. ? it only lasts 24hrs and drops quickly. He would then arrive 24hrs later but still a good day or more ahead of MARK? No one knows and the forecast can change again in the next few days. It leaves plenty of drama and suspense to the end and Challenges and Opportunities for both sailors. They are both winners of course but only one can be first?

January 23rd 2019 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is heading north at 4.7kts along the edge of the no wind zone in the center of the High pressure. He cannot turn east until he is above that and fortunately it is moving down to meet him. He will have to balance his course very carefully with his barometer to ensure he does not move closer to the center, or he will have no wind and stop. Mark and JL both need no more weather reports. Weather now is irrelevant in many ways. JL VDH must go straight to the finish. MARK needs to do the same and he can simply use his barometer to make that final turn east. At that time we will all see the distance to JL VDH, his final challenge. Then it is a simple boat to boat race. It will not be easy for Mark but anything is possible as all adventures have an unknown outcome! The GGR is proving to be one Tough Adventure and an incredible Race to the finish. They and all the other entrants are winners.

January 22nd 2019 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is now challenged to reach the favorable winds as he suffers with head winds on the bottom of the High which rotates the air in a clockwise direction. He is on the wrong side. He needs to and probably will tack north later today. It could get worse depending on the center? It could even move to block progress. The next two days will determine the final challenge for MARK. After that it may be a straight boat race and there is no question that Mark can be faster in most condition but how far behind JL VDH will he be when this vital last run to the finish begins.? It looks like we may be watching the most important two days of the GGR for these two great sailors right now! It could determine the winner IF the weather forecast is correct for the next eight days and if both sailors do not break something as they will both push to the MAX!

January 21st 2019 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS has been able to motor and sail across the center of the previous high into the same weather system as JL VDH thanks to his last reserves of fuel. This has kept him very much in the Race. He kept his reserve fuel for just this type of situation, but even he would not have thought over the past months that this plan would be so important or successful! JL VDH ran out of fuel some months ago. The High pressure they sail in now will deliver Mark moderate headwinds once again, so his current 6kts North may turn to a NE course then Northerly again as the wind veers East. This looks good for the next couple days and generally is right for making to the finish. BUT then it gets a little more complicated as the center of the high starts to dominate what each sailor can do??..and right now it could be anything??

January 18th 2019 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is facing a real challenge now and there is no easy answer. what ever he does now will not give any advantage in the short term he had held his course high sailing to windward for days rather than take the western route around the Azores HIGH , maybe with the intention to go to the east. But the center is now blocking his way. He must decide now! Today! Is it WEST or EAST? If he does nothing he may be stuck in a no wind zone for a few days which is not good so expect to see a move today. Light head winds to the east is shortest track. Go west for faster sailing and it is a longer track?? He cannot talk to anyone about weather but he can listen in to the same weather forecast twice a day that JL VDH receives. One decision at a time and one step toward the finish but which is the right decision? I have no idea?

January 15th 2019 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is holding onto port tack and heading North East! in Light head winds. Is he planning to try the inshore coast road past the Canaries and along Portugal? or will he tack back soon and cover JL VDH? the traditional route via the AZORES. A few are talking about that but the AZORES must look good as in the next 12 hours his wind will swing North East and Mark will tack and the chase will enter a new Phase as this is the start of the formation of the traditional AZORES HIGH that is the gateway to the finish. It will send both on a ride in favorable winds for the next WEEK! as long as they stay away from the center where there is NO WIND. Now the tactics are over and boat speed is the focus.

January 13th 2019 12:00 AM

Mark Slats continues to push hard to windward in light winds with speeds dropping to 4.8kts still in the right direction. Conditions will soften over the next 24hours and the direction could swing NW that will allowing him to continue North a little easier. The small Low pressure system to the North for now is dominating the wind direction and may favor Mark more than JL VDH who has stronger wind, but the direction is not helping him as it is right from where he needs to go. In 36 hours the Low pressure system dissolves into a constant light NE wind flow for both Mark and JL so their overall relative position may not change too much before then. While they both must push North for now, there is a traditional AZORES HIGH forming ahead of them in the future with NO WIND in the middle that will block their path. Then the race will be to get across to the NW and meet the favorable SW winds that will push then across the top of the Azores and into the final run towards Les Sables. First one across may well win the GGR so the next week is critical.

January 9th 2019 12:00 AM

Mark is maintaining speeds of between 5-6kts every hour of every day. He hopes first to get close enough to JL VDH to reach the same weather system as JL VDH and then second to chase him down. It looks like he may achieve his first goal, but JL VDH is a fighter with great experience and knows this part of the world intimately. Nothing is certain for now. The forecast suggests JL VDH may be on Starboard tack for many days ahead. This is the strong side of his mast, but you can be sure he will be checking it every few hours in the last run to the finish. MARK has a new problem as his water supplies are getting very low. He has just 15 or 20ltrs left and the trades usually offer no rain, so he may need to make that last for a week or more…Just enough maybe? He is a big guy who drives himself like his boat…HARD!

January 8th 2019 12:00 AM

MARK STATS is pushing himself and his boat to the limit right now into 25kt winds and 3mtr seas. His challenge is to balance the desire for speed with looking after himself and the boat. he is a great sailor but this is now his biggest challenge. Not JL VDH! the weather is consistent and he is making an average 5.7kts every hour of every day heading in basically the right direction! things are changing in the RACE but it is still a long way to the finish and anything can happen.

January 7th 2019 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is pushing his boat hard. He can sense a chance to take the lead in the closing stage of the GGR if the weather is good to him. It is only a chance but the odds grow every day in his favor. For him it is now about speed, not adventure and capitalizing on seven months of effort on the water and years on land.

January 6th 2019 12:00 AM

Mark is currently making 5.3kts in the NE Trades and this is expected to hold right to the same area where JL VDH currently sits. He is holding high sailing into the wind to stay as far East on the course as possible so his boat is being pushed hard once again. It sets the scene for a tactical battle and luck with the weather having a very real part to play in the week ahead. Remembering too that while both are sailing Rustler 36 yachts Mark has the standard mast height and JL VDH has a shorter mast with damage.

January 4th 2019 12:00 AM

MARK has been eating plenty of fresh fish and slowed a little yesterday in unsettled Doldrum type weather with thunderstorms and squalls, but looks like he is clear into the start of the NE Trades now and once again sailing well at 5.9 kts. The trades should strengthen and become consistent in the next day or so and he will rapidly catch up to JL VDH as he now sails out of the Trades and will have to make new tactical decisions with the weather. He must also serve his 18 hour time penalty that will come up in the next 24 hrs. He is just 85 Miles from 20 North lat. The next week will be very important for both sailors as it will possibly set the scene for the run to the finish. If Mark can quickly make ground and move out into a similar weather pattern as JL VDH he may be able to hunt him down, but if JL VDH gets a break with the weather and makes good decisions and they enter this new area in two distinctly different weather systems it may be difficult? Mark loves the chase! He is 880 miles behind today with 2900 miles to the finish!!

January 3rd 2019 12:00 AM

Mark Slats Tracker was still down but he cut open a 12 volt fan to salvage a magnet from the motor and has now successfully REBOOTED the YB3i main tracker. He is finally back up!. He continues to sail fast in favorable beam reaching conditions. Winds are going light but the good news for him is NO Doldrums. Mark should sail out of the SE trades direct into the NE trades sometime in the next 24hours so he may be making good gains on JL VDH in the next few days as he has to suffer his 18 hour time penalty and the brake out of consistent trade winds into new challenging weather systems.

December 31st 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS reports all well onboard with no mention of problems with his mast base or Aries wind vane mounts so his repairs must be doing OK. He is just 250 miles from the Equator and still trailing Jean Luc VDH by 975 miles so he is having to work hard not just to catch up but for now just to keep up. He is making 6.5knts (one knot faster than JL VDH) with 25kts trade winds on the beam. The forecast is suggesting he will be able to sail fast through the area of the doldrums which for now have disappeared.

December 28th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is in the TRADES making 5.9kts on course but so is JEAN LUC VDH so the rate of closure is very slow right now and it may stay this way for the next few days. Not good enough if Mark has visions of beating him boat for boat over the next four weeks or so. The good news though is that in the next few days the Doldrums area of light confused winds is closing completely and will stay that way till about the 4th January. this will at least mean that Mark may not be slowed down trying to pass through this ZONE if the forecast is correct and he can get north fast enough! They are currently about 980 miles Apart with so Mark needs to gain on average about 30 miles a day. Both sailors are focused and appreciate that anything can happen beside boat speed! it is an Adventure above all else and they have unknown outcomes!

December 27th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS has finally reached an area of consistent east wind that will slowly now move SE. It is not strong trades but he can work his big sails well so speed will be maintained now in the chase of JL VDH.For now he is moving faster than JL VDH but there is only 3000 miles to take out 1000 miles to catch him. The Doldrums also must be crossed but long range forecast suggest it will be a very narrow band when Mark arrives and may even not make much effect at all. At least the head winds are over and Mark has the bit in his teeth. Only time can tell.

December 26th 2018 12:00 AM

To complicate this MARK SLATS has just about reached the Easterly trades with a definite wind shit on Xmas day that has allowed Mark to sail at 6kts on course North matching JL VDH speed and holding his own at last.. He has been working hard to reach this zone and is on the edge of it but it looks like he may have one more day with it swinging against him again today before it finally settles in his favor for good speeds and easy sheets for a comfortable ride.

December 24th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS has tacked onto Starboard now heading NNW into moderate headwinds holding as high as he can. He is suffering the same fate in this ZONE of headwinds as JEAN LUC VDH when he sailed through and that effectively allowed Mark to catch up nearly 300 miles. Now the roll is reversed as JL VDH is pulling away fast in the SE trades before the narrow band of Doldrums just ahead and that will probably continue for a few more days. The gap is 1000 miles today and JL VDH may stretch the lead to 1200 or more before MARK can ease sheets in the Easterly trades and try to close the Gap Boat for boat to the finish! All is well onboard both boats and MARK is pushing hard so stopping for a Xmas break will happen between sheeting sails and driving hard. JL VDH is happy on Starboard tack ( the good mast side) and wondering how fast he can get through the Doldrums. That will be important !

December 21st 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS continues to surprise everyone with his high speeds sailing to windward. He is regularly making 6kts. The forecast continues to show headwinds for him for many days to come and he says it is very boring and beating into it . When you live on a constant heal everything is hard to do, eating sleeping and usually depending on the wind strength with his water and spray everywhere on deck. The forecast is suggesting the headwinds will increase in strength!

December 20th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS spent a few hours in the water two days ago cleaning the bottom of his boat. He event went with sand paper to smooth the glue from left over Goose barnacles. he say his boat is faster now than ever with many supplies eaten so she is a little lighter and he knows his boat after the long journey so far. He still sails in head winds at 5.9kts better than expected and not far off his perfect course. From yesterdays phone conversation is obvious he works hard to catch J L VDH! Slowly he gets closer and all is well in his world!

December 19th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS continues to drive hard. he is keeping the boat on the edge no matter the conditions and had his companionway Dodger ripped off by a wave yesterday. Now the wind is still from the front and the sea has dropped a little and yes that means more comfort but then Mark is in a Hurry so he then drives faster!! The forecast suggests head winds generally for the next five days. This is the same region that JEAN LUC VDH is now leaving so there is no way around. He did catch two surprises though! one is a tasty Mahi Mahi fish for lunch and the other is some sunburn form the now tropical conditions.

December 14th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is still powering north at 5.6kt despite having relatively light winds from the south as the center of a large LOW pressure system moves over him but his luck is about to turn a little. In the next 6-9 hours his winds will trun to the north and he will be beating to hold his ground. As predicted he is now just 700 miles south of JEAN LUC VDH who is struggling to make any NORTH at all with light to moderate headwinds pushing him east for now. The bad news is that these conditions will continue for at least the next four days so the pressure will begin to mount. While MARK SLATS will also be making slow progress for the next couple days , his weather forecast suggests he may then start making good speed north to continue closing the Gap!!!

December 12th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is driving as hard as he can but still with the reality that he must finish and anything can happen when the finish line is still many weeks away. he has set new sails stored for this last leg to the finish and feels at one with his boat. The only think that is not exciting for him right now is the food that all tastes the same now. JL VHD is on his mind all the time. The Race is exciting for him!

December 10th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is hand steering through the night surfing on the best waves driving hard knowing he can make big gains on the leader of the GGR in the next week. His boat is in good shape and he is feeling strong and excited at the new race to the finish. It is still thousands of miles away be for mark every day every hour is important. Anything can happen to any GGR sailor so he has to be careful himself, but he is running on excitement! Can he do this?

December 6th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is on course in light winds at 3.5kts but will speed up tomorrow for just one day then runs into more light winds. He has lost a little ground to JL VDH in the last two days as they are now 1100 miles apart. It appears they will be close rivals for the next three days at least with little chance for Mark to make solid gains till then.

December 3rd 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS passed under CAPE HORN just before 0600UTC 2nd DEC. about 4.7miles off making 6.7kts in about 20-25kt Northerly Offshore wind. He is now chasing Jean Luc Van Den Heede and heading home to Les Sables d’Olonne. Distance between Slats and race leader J-LVDH was 1,000 miles as he rounded. Slats has taken another 300 miles this past week. The last few days has given Mark favorable winds and looks like that will continue and send him up the western side of the Falklands the same as JL VDH. It may aslo drive him closer to him as JL is expected to slow a little very soon.

November 28th 2018 12:00 AM

“GOOD SAILING HERE THERE WAS EVEN SUN TODAY FOR 17 MIN R”. The meteorological configuration is intense for MARK which is only 600 NM from Cape Horn, less than 4 days of navigation. As the Dutchman gets closer to the Atlantic gates, the northwesterly winds will grow considerably, even exceeding 60 knots … Fortunately, this orientation should limit the swell which should not exceed 6 or 7 meters … But the approach of the mythical rock is expected to be tough for MARK anway, who, even if he confesses to take a lot of pleasure to cross the Pacific, will be surely very happy to find the less agonizing waters of the Atlantic.

November 26th 2018 12:00 AM

Good fast sailing makes Mark Happy!! and right now he should be. Weather forecasts suggest he will have a fast ride for the time to Cape horn and may well just get around before a BIG STORM due to arrive at the same time as him so keep your fingers crossed. hard to predict weather a week in advance but all systems on board seem well and he is firing!! on the hunt for JL VDH. He may well see JL VDH slow in the next three days so closing the gap is on the agenda..

November 22nd 2018 12:00 AM

“PLENTY WIND DOWN HERE BUT GOOD SAILING”. Behind the leader, Mark Slats does not weaken pushed by these strong north-westerly winds, which will accompany Ophen Maverick in its descent towards the south, chasing Matmut. The Dutch adventurer is facing a new challenge, catching up with the one that nothing seemed to stop as his trajectory was fluid before his mast damage. The challenge is very ambitious but possible and this last leg of the race promises to be thrilling …

November 21st 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS is very happy. He has enjoyed the trip across the Pacific and as he now turns the corner of the No Go Zone toward cape Horn his boat and all systems are fine! he admits his is chasing JL VDH hard now and it is a new enthusiasm for both. yes it is very much a race with a lot at stake . but can Mark make the right balance . he knows he must, not push too hard and pace himself. he too has to finish! …

November 19th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark Slats is now 1350 miles from JL VDH taking out another 200 miles in the past five days. All is well onboard for him also enjoying a great week of steady progress which looks set to continue in the coming days. All the heavy weather has been passing below his position and when he dips SW on the final run to the Horn again the weather looks OK for at least the next week!

November 16th 2018 12:00 AM

A rather happy and positive sailor this morning in the middle of the Pacific!
These strong winds are also delighting our Dutch golgoth: “REAL PARADISE SAILING 20KT AND 2METERSEAS JUST GREAT”. The weekend promises to be nice for MARK which continues its good progress since entering the Pacific. He has been swallowing miles with a good regularity for weeks now and in addition to JEAN-LUC’s knockdown he has caught up 600 miles! And he should continue its come back because the coming week is very promising for the Dutchman, with moderate winds and a manageable sea.

November 14th 2018 12:00 AM

For MARK SLATS, a little less than 1500 miles away from the leader, will continue to benefit from strong westerlies in the next 5 days, to keep stilling miles from the leader, before he also begins his descent to the south, when he reaches the end of the prohibited navigation zone, in 800 NM. Abord Ophen Maverick, Mark has just recovered another 30 liters of rainwater yesterday : “ANOTHER 30 LITERS OF DRINKING WATER IN THE POCKET”.

November 12th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK is getting closer to the leader, being only 1600 NM behind, due to Matmut’s mast issues last week, but also to favorable good downwinds. Ophen Maverick has well progressed in recent days, sailing just above the forbidden zone at 46 ° South. The Dutch skipper will be accompanied by a moderate wind from south-southwest that will allow him to keep progressing comfortably in an easy sea.

November 7th 2018 12:00 AM

The giant Dutch, who had crossed a very frustrating Indian Ocean, admitted during yesterday’s safety sat phone call that he had a great time sailing in the Pacific, where he finally found the strong winds that he had so sorely missed while approaching Hobart. And the week promises to be fast and comfortable for the skipper who also confided to want to lift his foot a bit to preserve his mount.

November 5th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark has an unexpected storm form around him which was not totally expected. Initial indications were that it would move away from him but instead it intensified and has delivered strong winds.

November 2nd 2018 12:00 AM

At the front of the fleet, behind the leader, the navigation is much more comfortable for MARK who does not at all that forget his little comrades which he was concerned about in his last message because of the storm. He is sailing at a good speed in the middle of high pressure system, that will soon be filled by a strong northerly wind to propel Maverick full east at good speed.

November 1st 2018 12:00 AM

All good with Mark Slats chasing down JL VDH!!!! and Rowing to keep up.

October 29th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS has slightly come back, under the symbolic bar of 2000 miles … not to worry the leader but probably enough to stir up the enthusiasm of the Dutch who intends to catch up on the largest ocean, the Pacific. During his stp in Hobart, he explained that he still believes in it ! And with more than 10,000 miles to go, we must admit that many things could still happen …

October 26th 2018 12:00 AM

Already at the end of the Tasman Sea, Mark is very happy to finish this most difficult part of the race, to finally reach the Pacific, his favorite ocean! He left Australia in a very good energy and he is doing well.

October 24th 2018 12:00 AM

After an express stop and quick interview in Hobart Bay on sunday, Mark is already half way through the Tasman Sea, which separates New Zealand from Tasmania. Maverick is sliding at about 7 knots in a good southwesterly wind that will strengthen tomorrow passing to the northwest after a short period of calm.

October 18th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK, who has slowed down a little bit due to his knockdowns and a coastal injury due to heavy weather conditions few days ago, is still a bit on hold, even though he was progressing at over 5 knots, thanks to a powerful sailing setting that he chose not to ride on furling gear. Brave, he did not move away from his objective, to reach Hobart as quickly as he can, where he could be expected from Saturday.
Indeed, he should have some good north winds coming over at the end of the day that would allow him to dive to Tasmania, to the mandatory Drop Point.

October 16th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark Slats injured after suffering 2 knock-downs ! At 16:00 UTC monday, the Dutch skipper Mark Slats alerted Race HQ, which is monitoring and following Mark’s situation, as he might have been injured, hit by a toolbox flying across the cabin which may have resulted in him sustaining a cracked rib. The tough Dutchman was not too concerned and reported that the winds had suddenly picked up to 30-35 knots with a 3 metre southerly swell was hitting Ophen Maverick on the beam.

October 15th 2018 12:00 AM

“FINALLY SOME GOOD SAILING AFTER 16 DAYS”. MARK SLATS is still 700 miles from Hobart and does not hide the satisfaction of progressing over 6.5 knots this morning. If these two last weeks have at least allowed him to refill his water supply, they offered his pursuers the opportunity to come back à little more. After 15 very frustrating days, alternating between windlessness and headwinds, he is now sailing beam reach, in a southerly wind that will even strengthen … before a further slowdown in two days. The high pressure system off western Tasmania will be filled fortunately the following day with the arrival of a depression that will generate northerly winds, then will turn to the west and allow MARK SLATS to bend its route toward the south to join his second imposed stopover.

October 12th 2018 12:00 AM

Definitely, MARK SLATS is really struggling to approach Tasmania! He can not stand these northeasterlies that are harming his boat by forcing him to sail upwind in an uncomfortable swell that causes his Rustler 36 to crash into the waves at an infernal pace … worse, his route slightly south imposed by the wind and the sea brings it closer each hour a little more of the forbidden navigation zone (below the 42nd parallel) established to avoid the competitors the worst time. If he gets too close, he may well have to tack on … a nightmare! Maverick could see a large area of high pressure in front of him within four days …

October 10th 2018 12:00 AM

Like à Viking, the giant Dutch traces his route with difficulty at the moment, still sailing upwind. In a relatively weak wind, MARK sees his bow slamming wave after wave, without much he can do … and it will last for a while!

October 9th 2018 12:00 AM

Behind VDH, at almost 1700 miles, MARK SLATS never stops hallucinating! After the light wind under spinnaker, it’s now time for upwind! The solid Dutchman takes his patience but it is easy to imagine that the frustration is picking up with the slowdowns. Mark #Slats (via satellite) “UNREAL NOW EAST TO NE BUT SAILING”.

October 8th 2018 12:00 AM

Still in 2nd position 1600 miles behind the leader, MARK SLATS hallucinated yesterday to sail under spinnaker for more than 4 days and to be forced to resort to sunscreen. In the Great South, it’s the world upside down!

October 2nd 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS, at 1460NM, is still losing some ground, on the southern edge of a band of high pressure that will move around him for the next two days … But after the huge storm he survived, the Dutch does not seem to have the taste to complain and enjoys this peaceful navigation. He does not believe to having to deal with a system of high pressure that will stop his progress in the coming days …Mark #Slats (via satellite) “NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD RUNNING FOR HIGH PR IN SOUTHERN OCEAN”; “NE10KT BUT VERY COMFORTABLE SAILING AND GETTING SOUTH AGAIN”.

September 29th 2018 12:00 AM

A slowdown will be welcome for MARK SLATS who will also be struggling to progress eastward in very changeable winds. More than 1400 miles from the leader this morning, he lost ground again in the calm that followed the hell of the storm that he alone escaped racing back (while ABHILASH TOMY and GREGOR MCGUCKIN dismasted a week ago).

September 26th 2018 12:00 AM

Just back from the hell of the terrible storm from which he was the only one out of, the giant Dutch is back in racing mode and progressing to 6 knots in a vein of north wind over a flat sea. If he has to settle for a cloudy sky that prevents him from drying the inside of his boat, previously flooded by a huge wave, he seems happy to find calmer elements. Mark #Slats (via satellite) “RUNNING UNDER REEFED STAYSAIL,GREY O/CAST DAY,HOLDING ON!”

September 24th 2018 12:00 AM

Inside, water everywhere, 60 cm above the floor, which rolled from one side to the other depending on the movements of the boat, putting out state the little electronic equipment authorized by the race (satellite phone, radio HF) and even causing a mini fire in the lighting of the cabin, plunging the sailor in the dark .Gradually, MARK SLATS secures the situation, evacuating the water and drying its radio HF in a bag of rice, to remove the maximum humidity. And it seems like it works! Even if nothing is displayed on the screen of the device. The Dutch skipper is racing again at more than 6 knots average and should see, after a little respite in recent hours, the northwesterly wind strengthen a little and the sea to grow again, but nothing comparable with the incredible violence of what he experienced last weekend. He writes this morning:”ALL GOOD SAILING 30/35KT FIRST PROPER SLEEP IN 3 DAYS”

September 24th 2018 12:00 AM

The giant Dutch has just come out of hell … a storm that hit the first peloton of the race with an incredible violence and led to the dismasting of its two main pursuers, ABHILASH TOMY and GREGOR MCGUCKIN. “UNBELIEVEBLE WINDS AND SEAS BUT ALL GOOD SO FAR SURVIVALMODE” was laconically telling a text message sent Friday morning, before the situation deteriorated seriously for MARK SLATS who, if he has yet experience other things, admitted to have lived the most terrifying hours of his adventurer life. Pushed into the sea the first time while he was handsteering in a monstrous swell raising over 15 meters, he only owed his life to his survival harness before watching the door of the companionway of his boat explode under the pressure of another nasty wave.

September 21st 2018 12:00 AM

Mark #Slats (via satellite) wrote this morning : “UNBELIEVABLE WINDS AND SEAS BUT ALL GOOD SO FAR SURVIVAL MODE”. The elements are unleashed and the Great Southern Ocean shows an impressive face this morning. A very intense depression fell on the first peloton last night and they are now in the heart of a system that will continue to hit the next 24 hrs. Northern winds could reach 70 kts, raising a huge swell ever 10 meters …

September 18th 2018 12:00 AM

This morning, Abilash sails a knot faster than GREGOR MCGUCKIN and is only a big day of MARK SLATS, which sees its second place more and more threatened …

September 12th 2018 12:00 AM

Dutchman Mark Slats on his Rustler Ohpen Maverick lost on more day on the leader this week. He now has Ireland’s Gregor McGuckin (Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance) within a day’s distance behind after the Irishman clawed back 4 days.“ALL GOOD BIG SEAS RUNNING DOWNWIMD SOUTHERN OCEAN WEATHER “Mark was very enthusiastic and talkative during his safety phone call yesterday morning, he sounded very good and very busy on board!

September 6th 2018 12:00 AM

“LIGHT WINDS WITH BANGING SAILS IN A MESSY SEA SAILORSLIFE AH”MARK SLATS, however, is trying to keep up the pace and is sneaking on the edge of a high pressure band that should threaten him tomorrow, then he will have to sail upwind in a good southeasterly breeze. “FINALY GREAT NW20 WINDS SPIRITS ARE HIGH ON OHPEN MAVERICK :)”

September 4th 2018 12:00 AM

On his last weekly Sat phone call this morning :Mark has been getting some weather information from a Ham radio in South Africa, and a message from his girlfreind which cheered him up à bit. Mark is wandering if he is doing to much North on his route. The water temperature is not cold yet neither the air temperature, but he made some gloves and used them once, but more worried about socks at the moment, only two and half pairs of socks. His stock of sugar might be low, but he counted down his chocolate pieces and sweet to balance it. He climbed up the mast this morning but it’s something in it it’s wrong, he’ll inspect it properly in Hobart. Many birds around the boats at the moment !“HEADWINDS AGAIN 20/EAST UNREAL THIS WERE ARE THOSE WESTERLIE”

August 29th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark “HAD A ROUGH NIGHT WINDS ARE SLOWLY CALMING DOWN BIG SEAS STILL.”Still 500 miles behind VDH, he composes with agitated seas raised by a strong current from the south. The Dutch seems to regret not having installed a furling gear because the change of sails starts to become dangerous at the bow of the boat. This is perhaps why he is currently caught up by GREGOR MCGUCKIN. This morning: “GOING THROUGH SOME NASTY SEAS BUT ALL GOOD MAVERICK IS GOINGS”

August 27th 2018 12:00 AM

In the wake of VDH, MARK SLATS, spent a week-end for the less agitated … A low-pressure system appeared on Friday morning and winds over 50 West knots with snowfall in Cape Town! The giant Dutch reports being knocked down three times .. MARK SLATS, having just passed the Cape of Good Hope this morning, is now fighting against strong current to progress.

August 22nd 2018 12:00 AM

Still second after Jean-Luc, Mark heads down Est to the Good Hope Cape. He really appreciates the VHF connections especially with that guy who told him about a coming high pressure calm zone he has to avoid. As to find a solution to his lack of gloves, he has tested a bottle filled with hot water by way of a warm water bottle, to warm his hands after work outside with the gennaker and it works !

August 16th 2018 12:00 AM

MARK SLATS who has been in a hole at 3kts will start moving again with solid winds on course in the next 12hrs and start chasing down JL VDH . His lack of any sort of gloves is not effecting him now but it is on his mind as changing headsails with hanks and no gloves in close to 0 degree temperatures in the weeks ahead will not be fun!

August 14th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark, taking the 2nd position in the overall ranking, finally tacked south yesterday, “GOOD SAILING WIND IS EAST SO MAKING PROGRES :)” But a system of high pressure is emerging right in front of him and he could well be stopped soon! Mark mentioned today in his weekly Satphone call that he has a lillte leek at the front to be fixed next, and that he has just realised that he forgot his gloves ! Also he is starting to run out of book s already half way through.. So he’ll start again reading after Tassie.

August 9th 2018 12:00 AM

The route is curving now frankly for the first two supporters of the western option. MARK SLATS must be happy to see his overall ranking back to top speed. This morning, he is in 5th position and seems to be enjoying the flood that fell on him yesterday. Mark is one of the few competitors to succed in collecting more than 70 liters of water since he left Les Sables d’olonne, as he explained to us yesterday on the phone. He confirms it today in writing : “ALL GOOD PLENTY RAIN HERE WATERTANK FULL TAKING BATH IN CPIT”.

August 8th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark SLATS is back on the track ! He tacked to the Eastern route few days ago, and has been flying since then on an average speed of 6 to7 knots ! He might be back from the West soon and into the leaders peloton if he keeps going strongly downwinds. But Philippe PECHE and Jean-Luc VDH, still leading, are maintaining their speed around 6 knots and sailing south at an average of more than 120 miles a day, and the wind is expected to pick up shortly. The eastern pack of the fleet is progressing well, led south by Are WIIG and Uku, followed further north by Tapio (4th overall), and Igor 150 miles further north. Only Susie, standing out from the pack, took an intermediate option in between the “cowboys” of the West, Gregor, Abhilash, Loïc and Cap’tn coconut, who are sailing fast, but far from the route. Istvan (10th) is catching up on the fleet, and Antoine sails behind at an average speed of 4 knots, waiting for stronger tradewinds.

August 7th 2018 12:00 AM

The desire to go east, MARK SLATS certainly shares it, still 700 miles to the west. Far from the direct route, he slipped from the second to the 12th position and has for a while shown speeds of approach to the goal (compared to the ideal theoretical route) very low, or 0.7 knots in the last 24 hours! He hopes to compensate for this delay by bypassing the calm winds. In the downwind, he has been sliding for seven days at 7 knots in pure speed and should maintain this position if he manages to stay in this strong winds stripp that should accompany its progression towards the east … unless a high pressure systeme in formation in his back catches up … However, Mark happy with his 70 liters of rainwater collected, reports that he is preparing for the Great Southern Ocean and has already organized and tidyed the boat. He enjoys his 30 minutes daily radio communication with the rest of the fleet, and intends to maintain its position to catch up with the leaders again, he said this morning.

August 1st 2018 12:00 AM

At 750 miles west of Philippe Peché, MARK SLATS continues its way down… After settling in the Top 3 and overall ranking all July, he is 8th this morning, the fault of his frank option West that remote him from the shortest route to South Africa. If its actual speed is a little more than 6 knots, its famous “VMG” is the lowest of the fleet in the last 24 hours (with 16 miles traveled only …). The next few days will decide the relevance of this option and MARK could take advantage to get around an area without wind that would slow down sharply PECHE and VAN DEN HEEDE

July 20th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark continues to push hard in that trio of frontrunners. He repartees that he is still learning about his boat and has discovered that it doesn’t need to be pushed hard to deliver good speeds. This might be an important discovery if he is to avoid breaking his boat. He has gone further west than Philippe and Jean Luc and we will see what the results are. The doldrums may well upset the rankings.

July 13th 2018 12:00 AM

Second to make the film drop at the southern end of Lanzarote, he had Video 8 film and two letters to hand over. A very excited fellow Dutchman sailed out to meet him and it seems Mark has quite a following. His film drop went smoothly and he effectively gained about forty miles on Philippe in the process.

July 11th 2018 12:00 AM

Mark Slats is on fire. Not literally but he continues to push hard at the front of the fleet. He was very chatty on his phone call this week and reported that the HF chat show conducted within the fleet was well attended. Its indicative of entrants craving some social contact. He has been making contact with ships to get their positions but is seeing less of them now.

July 6th 2018 12:00 AM

prepared to row

A giant of a man, he has thrown his single minded determination at the race. Prior to the start he made it clear that he was prepared to row if the wind did not blow. The light conditions over the fleet this week may have presented the perfect opportunity for rowing but while always in the front group, he has not managed to row his way free.

April 5th 2018 12:00 AM

Dutch entrant Mark Slats says that he is now fully recovered from his record breaking Transatlantic row back in December, Mark and his project manager Dick Koopmans expect to complete the refit of his Rustler 36 THE OHPEN MAVERICK and relaunch her during the last week of April ready to be rigged, and start sailing trials.
“We’ve completed all strengthening work, filled in the windows to stop any leaks, and are now working flat out to be ready for the start”
In between, Mark has been on a speaking tour around Holland publicising the GGR, and this week, has an invitation to lunch with the King and Queen of the Netherlands.

Clips & Pics Skipper