Mark Slats (41)



Name Mark Slats

Born April 8th 1977

Nationality Dutch

Country of entry Netherlands

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.




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

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.

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