Golden Globe Race solo skipper Jeremy Bagshaw is back in the race, having removed the barnacles from the hull of his boat. But he is worried they may return

Barnacles growing on the hull of his Golden Globe Race boat has been the biggest challenge so far for Jeremy Bagshaw.

The 59-year-old South African moored at Simon’s Town in False Bay after passing through the Cape Town media gate to remove the crustaceans before continuing.

Under race rules, competitors are allowed to moor or anchor if needed, but are not allowed to receive any outside physical assistance.

A boat with a blue hull sailing

Olleanna is the smallest boat in the 2022 Golden Globe Race fleet. Credit: Macmedia2021/ Simon McDonnell

He used a BBQ grill scrapper to remove them.

The hull of his OE 32, Olleanna was painted with Coppercoat before the race start. Although it is now clean, Bagshaw fears the barnacles will return.

‘I am very concerned the barnacles will return. There is nothing to say they will not come back again and if they do, I’ll be devastated. I just cannot see myself getting overboard in 14-15° water and trying to scrape them off in the South Indian or South Pacific Ocean; that’s not going to happen. So any attempt to remove them, if they do come back, is only going to happen after Uruguay,’ he told Yachting Monthly.

The OE32, Olleanna, is currently becalmed, with her skipper, Jeremy Bagshaw making just 52 miles in the last 24 hours. Credit: John Stickland

Jeremy Bagshaw painted the hull of his OE 32 with Coppercoat antifouling before the race start. Credit: John Stickland

He believes he picked up the barnacles while sailing through the Cape Verdes archipelago; within a few days the boat felt ‘sluggish’. Bagshaw sailed for around five weeks with the growth, losing up to 20-30 miles a day to his fellow skippers.

‘I was absolutely mortified by the coverage, and the extent and the depth of barnacles. It wasn’t as bad as the photographs I saw of Tapio’s boat after the last race [Tapio Lehtinen came 5th in the 2018 event, after barnacle growth on the hull of his boat slowed him down] but it was getting there. I am not a technical person so I’m not in a position to really start saying why I had such bad barnacle problems. I need to do more research on that, and it is not unique to my brand of antifouling,’ he added.

The hull of Tapio Lehtinen's Gaia 36, Asteria, after finishing the 2018 Golden Globe Race. The growth of barnacles on the hull meant it took him 322 days to finish the race. Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

The hull of Tapio Lehtinen’s Gaia 36, Asteria, after finishing the 2018 Golden Globe Race. The growth of barnacles on the hull meant it took him 322 days to finish the race. Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

He said it was ‘unbelievably difficult’ to continue after False Bay, which is his home cruising ground.

‘I could hear all the sounds of my home port, I could smell the smells and saw the familiar faces cruising around. I really, really had a hard time getting the barnacles off. For the first two or three hours, I didn’t feel like I was making any impression at all. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to just say right, enough is enough, I am staying here. I had to be quite stern with myself,’ shared Bagshaw.

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Barnacle growth has impacted other members of the Golden Globe Race fleet including Guy Waites, who is trying to reach Cape Town to lift out his Tradewind 35 masthead sloop to remove the barnacles and re-antifoul the hull. One this happens, he will move into the Chichester Class for entrants which make one stop. It is also doubtful whether he or French sailor Arnaud Gaist, who has mast and rigging issues, will make the Hobart Gate in time.

Under race rules, entrants must make the Hobart Gate in Tasmania before the cut off time of 1200 local time on 31 January 2023. Those who don’t become a GGR Voyager, which will mean they have to stop racing and can only continue towards Cape Horn after 1000 local time on 1 December 2024.

Golden Globe Race skipper Jeremy Bagshaw sailing while wearing sunglasses

Jeremy Bagshaw is regretting not bringing more books and snacks for the circumnavigation. Credit: Macmedia2021/ Simon McDonnell

Apart from barnacle growth, Bagshaw said Olleanna was ‘working as it should’.

He is pleased with his rig, sails and gear, especially his Windpilot windvane steering system, which is called Ellen after Ellen MacArthur ‘because she is compact, extremely focused, very strong and steers a hell of a lot better than I do. My Windpilot handles the boat beautifully in the strong downwind sailing conditions. I have’t found the limit yet [of the Windpilot].’

He says he is coping well with the isolation, and takes part in the daily HF chats with the rest of the fleet.

Bagshaw is regretting not bringing more books and snacks, as he is finding that his sailing is ‘focussed around food’ due to boredom, ‘which is a bad thing because I probably don’t have excess food at all’.

Jeremy Bagshaw is pleased with the performance of his Windpilot self-steering gear. Credit: Katy Stickland

Jeremy Bagshaw is pleased with the performance of his Windpilot self-steering gear, particularly the performance downwind. Credit: Katy Stickland

Daily, he is busy with sailing, navigation and maintenance, and at night he manages a couple of 40-50 minute snoozes ‘but I’m not tired at all. I find I’m coping quite adequately with the short sleeps at nighttime.’

Like many others in the Golden Globe Race fleet, Bagshaw is struggling to receive weather information and is relying on his barograph. Now he is in the southern Indian Ocean, there will be less shipping; in the northern hemisphere, he was able to contact two or three ships a week to receive weather information.

‘You just have to deal with what you get. We’re not sailing IMOCA 60s so we’re not able to get in a position where we can get in front of a beneficial system. You just have to take educated guesses. We’re always going to be reactive rather than proactive, and so the complete lack of weather information is annoying but it’s not fatal,’ he stated.

Jeremy Bagshaw has been sailing since a child, starting out in dinghies before moving on to offshore boats. Credit: Nichelle Swanepoel

Jeremy Bagshaw is making good progress and should reach the Hobart Gate by early to mid-January. Credit: Nichelle Swanepoel

Bagshaw has experienced one day of ‘Roaring Forties, weather, with a north westerly coming through gusting at around 40 knots but since then nothing. Today it is Mediterranean type weather; beautifully sunny, hot and a gentle 15 knots of easterly winds. This is not what we were expecting at all. I was expecting a lot more frontal systems but as I get a bit further south those will probably become a feature.’

Olleanna was raced by Norwegian Are Wiig in the 2018 Golden Globe Race before the boat dismasted. He set up a jury rig and sailed 400 miles to Cape Town.

Current positions of the Golden Globe Race 2022 skippers on 29 November 2022 at 1600 UTC

Simon Curwen, (UK), Biscay 36, Clara
Kirsten Neuschafer, (South Africa), Cape George 36 cutter, Minnehaha
Abhilash Tomy, (India), Rustler 36, Bayanat
Michael Guggenberger, (Austria), Biscay 36, Nuri
Jeremy Bagshaw, (South Africa), OE32, Olleanna
Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Tradewind 35, Puffin
Elliot Smith,  (USA), Gale Force 34, Second Wind
Guy Waites (UK), Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha
Arnaud Gaist, (France), Barbican 33 Mk 2, Hermes Phoning


Edward Walentynowicz, (Canada), Rustler 36, Noah’s Jest
Guy deBoer, (USA), Tashiba 36, Spirit
Mark Sinclair (Australia), Lello 34, Coconut
Pat Lawless, (Ireland), Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel
Damien Guillou, (France), Rustler 36, PRB
Ertan Beskardes, (UK), Rustler 36, Lazy Otter
Tapio Lehtinen, (Finland), Gaia 36, Asteria

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