Rampant barnacle growth on the hull of Guy Waites's Tradewind 35 means he is struggling to make the boat move in the 2022 Golden Globe Race
If so, this will put him into the Chichester Class for race entrants who make one stop.
The 54-year-old RYA Ocean Yachtmaster applied Seajet Shogun to Sagarmatha‘s hull before the race start; this is the same brand used by the winner of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, Jean-Luc van Den Heede.
However, Sagarmatha has been in the water since 19 May 2022.
‘I am surprised by the performance of the antifoul to a certain extent, but the problem has been made a little worse by the fact that I was delayed leaving the UK to get to Gijon in Spain [for the Golden Globe prologue race]. One of the things I had to forego was the final liftout and final antifouling of Sagarmatha,’ explained Waites, who cleaned the boat’s hull the morning of the race start, ‘rubbing off a bit of weed’ which had grown.
The UK sailor said the barnacle growth is all over the antifoul on the hull, but his feathering propeller, which is bronze and stainless steel, and ‘has no antifoul on it whatsoever, is absolutely spotless and shiny and clean.’
Waites, who prepared the boat in Whitby and is a member of Scarborough Yacht Club, said he first looked under the Tradewind 35 after passing through the Lanzarote photo gate; there was no gooseneck barnacle growth.
The first sign of the crustaceans was after he had passed through the Doldrums, but they were small, and he chose to continue sailing to make the most of the south east Tradewinds.
‘As soon as the boat started moving in the southeast trades, the last thing I wanted to do was to stop the boat. I naively thought that I could get to Cape Town and do something about the barnacles there,’ he said.
‘As I got down towards Trinidade, I put the camera over the side and the whole of the boat was covered in barnacles from the bottom of the keel to the waterline. A few days ago, I went over the side to try and get them off; I couldn’t even see the stern of the boat, the barnacle growth was so bad that it was completely covered. The shell part of the barnacles are about the size of a mussel and then their tubular parts are about a couple of inches long and they’re really stubborn. I wasn’t making any impression with the scraper that I had. I also don’t have the lung capacity to hold my breath to keep diving to try and get them off.’
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Waites has chosen to sail towards Itajaí in Brazil as it is the nearest port and is also a host city for The Ocean Race; it should take him between 10-15 days to make landfall.
He is hoping he will find facilities for lifting out Sagarmatha and for re-applying a new layer of antifouling.
‘It might be that the only thing I could do is scrape off the barnacles and give the antifouling on the boat a little bit of a light sand to get it active and put the boat back in the water. Who knows what antifouling I will use? It will be just a case of what is available,’ he explained.
Waites said he believes he will still make the Hobart Gate in Tasmania before the cut off time of 1200 local time on 31 January 2023. If he doesn’t, he will become a GGR Voyager, which will mean he will have to stop racing and can only continue towards Cape Horn after 1000 local time on 1 December 2024.
‘I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that I’m not in the race anymore. but may as well make the most of the opportunity. The one thing motivating me is the thought of spending the rest of my life looking back on this with regrets because I didn’t carry on, so I just keep telling myself every day to keep going.’
‘I’ve come too far in the whole project, with the support and financial assistance of so many other people and sponsors, I just don’t want to let anyone down by just giving up. At least I can say I’ve sailed solo around the world via the Three Great Capes, which is something in itself,’ he added.
UPDATE: On 3 November 2022, Guy Waites tweeted that he had now decided to head to Cape Town ‘to keep the race alive’.
Guy Waites has shared his barnacle experience with the majority of the 2022 Golden Globe Race skippers, and many of them have taken advantage of the St Helena high pressure system to clean their boat hulls.
South African Jeremy Bagshaw, who painted the hull of his OE32, Olleanna, with Coppercoat, tweeted a few days ago that he had scrapped away gooseneck barnacles.
UK-Turkish sailor Ertan Beskardes has also had an ‘ early morning swim to clear the unwanted guests’ from the hull of his Rustler 36, Lazy Otter, while Abhilash Tomy in his Rustler 36, Bayanat has mused that ‘I wish I had the perseverance of a barnacle.’
Pat Lawless, who painted the hull of his Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel with Seajet Shogun, has spent the weekend scraping off barnacle growth.
‘I was fed up when I saw all the GOOSE BARNACLES on Saturday. But 60% are gone now. Will keep at it,’ he tweeted yesterday.
Fellow entrant Tapio Lehtinen has also been vigilant about keeping barnacle growth down. He knows only too well the impact they can have on a boat’s performance, and has been over the side several times in the race to remove the crustaceans from the hull and rudder.
In the 2018 Golden Globe Race, gooseneck barnacles covered the hull of his Gaia 36, Asteria, slowing the boat down so much that he finished the race in 322 days, 10 days longer than Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s circumnavigation in the 1968-69 Sunday Time Golden Globe Race.
Lehtinen, who is from Finland, came fifth in 2018, and has been racing hard in the 2022 race to stay at the front of the fleet.
Current positions of the Golden Globe Race 2022 skippers on 1 November 2022 at 1600 UTC
Simon Curwen, (UK), Biscay 36, Clara
Tapio Lehtinen, (Finland), Gaia 36, Asteria
Kirsten Neuschafer, (South Africa), Cape George 36 cutter, Minnehaha
Pat Lawless, (Ireland), Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel
Abhilash Tomy, (India), Rustler 36, Bayanat
Damien Guillou, (France), Rustler 36, PRB
Michael Guggenberger, (Austria), Biscay 36, Nuri
Ertan Beskardes, (UK), Rustler 36, Lazy Otter
Jeremy Bagshaw, (South Africa), OE32, Olleanna
Elliot Smith, (USA), Gale Force 34, Second Wind
Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Tradewind 35, Puffin
Arnaud Gaist, (France), Barbican 33 Mk 2, Hermes Phoning
Guy Waites (UK), Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha
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