Palestinian skipper Nabil Amra has officially retired from the Golden Globe Race. He is heading into port with self steering problems

17 July

Nabil Amra is expected to make it into Marina Rubicon later today after retiring from the Golden Globe Race.

The 42-year-old skipper made his announcement last night, thanking all those who had supported him in his bid to circumnavigate around the world non-stop and unassisted.

On the official Team Palestine GGR Facebook page, Amra said it was with ‘heavy hearts’ that he had decided to retire.

‘The truth lies in the statement “To make it to the start is the win”. The challenges that were overcome with a lack of a sponsor, the lateness of the refit, diesel leaks, water leaks, last minute solo miles and safety checks to just name a few, makes the accomplishment to be at the start line on race day one like no other. To that my friends – we celebrate!’

Amra has struggled to prepare for the race, and was completing his qualifying 10,000 solo miles just days before the race’s official start at Les Sables d’Olonne on 1 July.

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The failure of a weld on his self steering gear aboard his Biscay 36, Liberty II, forced him to return to the Canary Islands after he had successfully passed through the First Gate.

Amra’s retirement came just hours after Australian skipper Kevin Farebrother decided to call it a day, announcing that his Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha was now up for sale.

Meanwhile, French entrant Antoine Cousot, who is now in the Chichester Class after stopping at Marina Rubicon to repair the windvane on his Biscay 36, Métier Intérim, is expected to continue his circumnavigation later today. The Chichester Class is for entrants who are forced to stop once.

USA/Hungarian skipper Ivan Kopar, is also struggling with windvane self-steering in his Tradewind 35 Puffin.


16 July

Former 23 SAS soldier, Kevin Farebrother has officially retired from the Golden Globe Race.

The 50 year old Australian skipper has been dealing with problems with his windvane self steering which left him hand steering. This has led to severe fatigue, with Farebrother reporting to race control that he was hallucinating while trying to continue in his Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha.

Skippers of Golden GLobe Race - Kevin Farebrother has now dropped out

A disappointed Kevin Farebrother. Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

The fireman and mountaineer, who has ascended Everest three times, said he had been unable to get into a routine and does not feel comfortable about continuing.

‘I’m not cut out for solo sailing,’ he said, telling race organisers that he could not contemplate sleeping below decks.

‘For me it is like getting into the back seat of a moving car to sleep when no-one is at the wheel. As a result, I’ve had very little sleep over the past two weeks…My boat is now for sale!’ he added.

Farebrother, who is now in Marina Rubicon in Lanzarote, is not the only one struggling with equipment problems.

Antoine Cousot is now in the Chichester class.Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

Antoine Cousot is now in the Chichester class.Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

French entrant Antoine Cousot on his Biscay 36, Métier Intérim has also stopped here to fix some windvane problems.

The 47-year-old professional sailor is planning on staying a few days, but the stop means he is now in the race’s Chichester Class, which is for entrants who are forced to stop once.

Palestinian/US skipper Nabil Amra is also returning to Marina Rubicon, battling strong head winds in his Biscay 36, Liberty II after a weld on his self-steering failed.

He is now faced with either putting in to an African port or sailing back upwind to the Canaries to affect repairs and join Cousot in the Chichester class.

Meanwhile, USA/Hungarian entrant Ivan Kopar, is also struggling with windvane self-steering in his Tradewind 35 Puffin.

‘It is very frustrating. “I can’t even go down below to use the heads [toilet] without the boat going out of control. I have been hand steering since the start and have no energy for anything else. This is the big issue and the biggest challenge will be trying to control the boat in the Southern Ocean. That is really scary. I’m sure I’ll be knocked down several times. If it wasn’t for my sponsors, I would give up,’ he told race organisers.

One consoling thought is that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston suffered similar problems 50 years ago and was forced to hand steer for two-thirds of his solo non-stop circumnavigation in his yacht Suhaili. “Robin did it, so I will give it a go too,’ added Kopar as he cleared the first gate in Lanzarote.

Irish Golden GLobe skipper Gregor McGuckin

Gregor McGuckin is now in fifth place. Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

Of the 17 skippers who crossed the start line in Les Sables d’Olonne in France on 1 July, only 14 are left heading south.

UK entrant, Ertan Beskardes  withdrew at La Corunna, after having problems with dealing with the isolation from his family.

Meanwhile the only woman in the race, Susie Goodall has discovered her solar panels are not working, and has dropped behind Norwegian Are Wiig, who has a blown out spinnaker.

Irish entrant, Gregor McGuckin has moved up to 5th place in recent days in his Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance.

Meanwhile the battle for first place is still tight between French leader Philippe Péché and his Rustler 36 PRB and his Dutch rival Mark Slats in Ophen Maverick. Slats is certainly keeping up the pressure as the Golden Globe Race fleet make the most of the trade wind conditions as they head toward towards the Cape Verde Islands.

They are being closely followed by third placed French veteran racer Jean-Luc Van Den Heede.

All three are racing Rustler 36 yachts, which, at times have been touching speeds of 8knots under spinnakers overnight.