Guy deBoer (USA), a competitor in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, has run aground on the North coast of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. It was South African GGR entrant Kirsten Neuschäfer (SA) who relayed deBoer’s VHF radio Mayday call to GGR Race Control on September 16 at 03:10 am UTC. His Tashiba 36 had run aground just 10 miles from the Lanzarote Marina Rubicon film drop gate in which all the solo skippers must pass to deliver media.
deBoer had passed through the gate a few hours before, with the incident prompting the activation of his EPIRB. At 04:24 UTC, he rang the GGR Race control on his Sat phone.
Spirit was sitting on rocks, away from the beach, tilting 45°, being pounded by heavy seas crashing over the boat. The surf was pushing her slowly forward grinding over rocks, and while he had his life raft ready, decided to remain inside Spirit which was holding up. He planned to wait for daylight since he could not see the coast. The conditions for a safe use of the life raft, or exit onto the rocks beaten by the surf were not right.
At 04:10 UTC the MRCC Las Palmas informed GGR Control that first responders were on the beach, 50 metres from the boat sitting on the bedrock. Conditions were difficult and he decided not to evacuate the yacht. At 04:36 UTC, deBoer finally abandoned his yacht by foot, greatly assisted by the local police and firefighters. A Government salvage tow boat was already en route towards them. The skipper was taken to a local hotel without injuries.
Following an early morning Government assessment, it was considered too difficult to tow Spirit back to sea at high water. The authorities decided to pump all fuel from the boat to avoid a potential spill and are now working with deBoer ’s team and an insurance company on salvaging the Tashiba 36 with the least environmental impact. The area is a popular tourist surfing spot.
“At 9:30am on Monday (September 19), I am meeting with a large salvage company to consider the best course of action which at this stage looks like dragging her back over the hard rocks, fortunately not fragile reefs,” said deBoer. “She has an incredibly strong and thick hull so should be able to take that ride! She has taken a pounding so far and the hull is fine. I hope to see her sail again, but certainly we cannot just leave her there.”
The mood was very different earlier that night and the day before as a freshly shaved deBoer went through the Lanzarote Gate happy and confident to be in 5th position. Kirsten Neuschäfer could not hide her disappointment at being 6th crossing the gate 25 minutes after deBoer.
Her Cape George 36 had sailed out of the Bay of Biscay unscathed and was in excellent shape, although she was tired from the long hours under spinnaker at the helm of Minnehaha, even if, as she said, “The boat doesn’t need me and can sail by herself…”.
Hours before them, Pat Lawless had beaten Abhilash Tomy in their week-long fight for the 3rd spot. The option east of the fleet cost Lawless dearly earlier in the week but enabled him a magnificent come back on September 16 and 17. His enthusiasm is infectious and he was radiant when told his position in the fleet!
Infectious also is his right knee, a pre-existing medical condition to the GGR which has come back unexpectedly during the first week of sailing. He is in regular contact with the Race doctor, MSOS Direct, and taking antibiotics as advised. He was advised to stop in Lanzarote to stock up with stronger antibiotics on board, but this would have meant losing contact with the leaders, as well as accepting external assistance and being moved to Chichester Class.
“There is no way I want to move into Chichester Class, not for a minute, so I sail on!” shared Lawless. “It will be fine.”
He could reconsider this decision if it gets worse and make a stop in Cape Verde Islands in a week or so sailing south.
Abhilash Tomy holds 4th place and revealed during the film drop that after leaving Les Sables d’Olonne he suffered for 10 days with severe PTSD syndrome. He could not eat for those 10 days. Re-living his rescue and severe back injury inflicted during the 2018 edition of the GGR upset his ability to concentrate. This reaction surprised even himself. Now he is back into the 2022 edition with real focus and determination.
A few miles ahead, it is Simon Curwen in his Biscay 36 CLARA solidly in the lead after breaking away from Tapio Lehtinen who chose a less direct route under his biggest spinnaker in a bid to find stronger winds. He didn’t. Both were very satisfied with the result, although they too, were disappointed for Damien Gillou. They were definitely looking forward to a direct confrontation with the French favorite now still 550 miles astern!
While the tight mid-fleet group of Guy Waites, Michael Guggenberger, known as Captain Gugg, Ertan Beskardes, and Jeremy Bagshaw have all gone through the gate by today, the remaining miles will be more challenging for Elliott Smith, Ian Herbert-Jones. A big wind hole arriving from Madeira is taking over the Canaries and is meant to stay until September 20, slowing down their progression towards Lanzarote.
At 750 miles further south from Lanzarote, just to the east of the Cape Verde island on the African coast, a tropical depression/Hurricane may be forming on September 22d and building into the following day. Forecast winds are expected to be around 50 knots. This is right in the path of the GGR leaders and middle fleet. GGR control is monitoring it closely.
2022 GGR competitors:
Abhilash Tomy (43) / India / Rustler 36
Arnaud Gaist (50) / France / BARBICAN 33 MKII (long keel version)
Damien Guillou (39) / France / Rustler 36
Elliott Smith (27) / USA / Gale Force 34
Ertan Beskardes (60) / UK / Rustler 36
Guy Waites (54) / UK / Tradewind 35
Ian Herbert Jones (52) / UK / Tradewind 35
Jeremy Bagshaw (59) / South Africa / OE32
Kirsten Neuschäfer (39) / South Africa / Cape George 36
Mark Sinclair (63) / Australia / Lello 34
Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36
Pat Lawless (66) / Ireland / Saga 36
Simon Curwen (63) / UK / Biscay 36
Tapio Lehtinen (64) / Finland / Gaia 36 Masthead sloop
Edward Walentynowicz (68) / Canada / Rustler 36 (dropped out Sept. 8)
Guy deBoer (66) / USA / Tashiba 36 (ran aground Sept. 16)
About the 2022 Golden Globe Race
On September 4, 2022, the third edition of the Golden Globe Race started from Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Sixteen skippers will face eight months of isolation sailing 30,000 miles across five oceans solo non-stop and unassisted.
In 1968, while man was preparing to take his first steps on the moon, a mild mannered and modest young man was setting out on his own record breaking voyage of discovery. He had entered the original Golden Globe. Nine men started that first solo non-stop sailing race around the World. Only one finished. He was 29 year old Sir Robin Knox Johnston. History was made. Navigating only with a sextant, paper charts and an accurate and reliable time piece, Sir Robin navigated around the world.
In 2018, to celebrate 50 years since that first record breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It instantly gained traction with adventurers, captivated by the spirit and opportunity. Eighteen started with five finishers.
To embrace the original race, competitors must sail in production boats between 32 and 36 feet overall and designed prior to 1988 that have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. Additionally, sailors have limited communication equipment and can use only sextants, paper charts, wind up clocks, and cassette tapes for music.
Published on September 18th, 2022