American skipper Guy de Boer has spoken about how his Tashiba 36, Spirit ended up the rocks while taking part in the 2022 Golden Globe Race
The American skipper fell asleep in the cockpit of his boat after passing through the first of the event’s photo gates in Lanzarote.
‘I was awake for over 30 hours getting the boat to the checkpoint and after going through I chose to go down the east side of Fuerteventura [..] I was close hauled and I was sailing 30° above the island so I was safe and I knew I was tired, so I stood up and smoked a cigar to help keep me awake,’ he explained.
‘I stood up there for two hours, and I decided to sit down and the moment I sat down, I fell asleep because I was so fatigued, and the reason the boat hit the rocks is the breeze velocity dropped off significantly and in doing so the boat turned to port towards the rocks, and I was not aware of that until the boat hit the rocks,’ explained the 66 year old, who was almost thrown overboard.
‘Each wave would pick the boat up several feet and drop it; I was thrown across the cabin, and I had to crawl back up. It did that probably for 40-45 minutes, and each wave it got almost easier as the boat got more protected in the shallower water. It is a sad situation. Truly rethinking [it], if I went on the west side of the island rather than the east I wouldn’t have had a lee shore. It was a bad decision by the skipper, which is me and I am paying the penalty for it,’ admitted de Boer, who had hoped to be the first American skipper to win a a solo non-stop around the world yacht race.
Uninjured, he issued a Mayday and managed to leave the boat with assistance from the local coastguard.
A salvage operation is now underway, with proposals to float the boat or crane it from the beach. Spirit will then be moved to a boat yard for repairs.
‘The boat has not caused any environmental impact; the diesel has been evacuated from the boat. There is no damage to reef, it is lava rocks [where the boat hit]. There is no [environmental] damage which I am very happy about,’ stated de Boer, who earlier in the race lost all radio contact. His AIS detector alarm was also damaged during the confused seas of the first week. He narrowly missed a collision with a fishing boat earlier last week after the vessel failed to see his AIS transponder and didn’t hail him on VHF radio, which was still working.
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Leading the fleet is British sailor Simon Curwen, who was the first to pass through the Lanzarote photo gate.
Tapio Lehtinen, who finished fifth in the 2018 Golden Globe Race, is chasing him in his Gaia 36, Asteria, closely followed by the only Irish entrant, Pat Lawless. Former Indian commander Abhilash Tomy in his Rustler 36, Bayanat is hot on their heels, along with South African Kirsten Neuschafer in her Cape George 36 cutter, considered by many to be one of the fastest boats in the fleet.
Behind them are Jeremy Bagshaw in his OE32, the smallest boat taking part, British former Clipper Race skipper, Guy Waites, Ertan Beskardes in his Rustler 36, Lazy Otter and Michael Guggenberger in the only ketch in the fleet, the Biscay 36, Nuri.
French favourite Damien Guillou, who returned to Les Sables d’Olonne to make repairs to his Hydrovane windvane steering system, is catching the fleet, having already sailed past fellow French sailor, Arnaud Gaist and Australian Mark Sinclair.
Smith, who is sailing a Gale Force 34, Second Wind, has repairs to make while underway before he hits the trade winds. His through deck mast collar packing is damaged, allowing movement of the mast, and his hull deck rub rail is constantly leaking. But, he has managed to build a companionway dodger to help protect him from the elements.
It is expected the gap between the splits in the fleet will become wider as the faster boats break away as they head towards the island of Trindade, before turning for the second photo gate in South Africa.
Current positions of the Golden Globe Race 2022 skippers on 21 September 2022 at 1200 UTC
Simon Curwen, (UK), Biscay 36, Clara
Tapio Lehtinen, (Finland), Gaia 36, Asteria
Pat Lawless, (Ireland), Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel
Abhilash Tomy, (India), Rustler 36, Bayanat
Kirsten Neuschafer, (South Africa), Cape George 36 cutter, Minnehaha
Jeremy Bagshaw, (South Africa), OE32, Olleanna
Guy Waites (UK), Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha
Ertan Beskardes, (UK), Rustler 36, Lazy Otter
Michael Guggenberger, (Austria), Biscay 36, Nuri
Elliot Smith, (USA), Gale Force 34, Second Wind
Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Tradewind 35, Puffin
Damien Guillou, (France), Rustler 36, PRB
Mark Sinclair (Australia), Lello 34, Coconut
Arnaud Gaist, (France), Barbican 33 Mk 2, Hermes Phoning
Edward Walentynowicz, (Canada), Rustler 36, Noah’s Jest
Guy deBoer, (USA), Tashiba 36, Spirit
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