Mark Sinclair has finished his 2018 Golden Globe Race. The Australian solo skipper took 174 days to sail from Australia to France
The last skipper in the 2018 Golden Globe Race has finished.
Australian solo sailor Mark Sinclair, 63, took 174 days to sail from Australia to Les Sables d’Olonne in France, arriving on 27 May.
He restarted the race on 5 December 2021 from his home port of Adelaide having stopped there three years earlier when a lack of water and slow progress, due to barnacles on his boat’s hull, meant he could not continue in the 2018 Golden Globe Race.
Under the race rules, he was allowed to restart, but in the Chichester Class for entrants who make one stop. In total, he has spent 332 days at sea.
The winner of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede completed the race in 211 days.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who won the 1968-69 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, circumnavigated in 313 days.
Sinclair, who endured 50 knot winds and 6 metre seas when he rounded Cape Horn, as well as damage to his 1980 Lello 34, Coconut said he felt ‘relief’ at arriving in Les Sables d’Olonne, adding that the race was ‘bloody hard but a really good experience.’
‘It gets to the stage when you are just sailing and it doesn’t matter. A day extra doesn’t matter; the sun rises and sets, the moon waxes and wanes, but I really don’t like rough weather and I had a lot,’ he said.
He said while rounding Cape Horn he experienced ‘storm after storm after storm’, which left him with bruises and cuts and feeling like he had done a ‘few rounds with Muhammad Ali.’
‘It was relentless and you can see the boat has been picked up and thrown down, bits came off. Equipment was broken. I’ve got a 1904 chronometer which was thrown off its gimbals and smashed, I was hit in the head by a metal water bottle.’
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‘Through the Le Maire Strait I was on the tidal stream which swept me through into a Force 10 and through some overfalls and I tried to reef the staysail; there was a bit that was badly reefed but I couldn’t go up forward. I had three reefs in the main, and so I drove through with three reefs in the main. I took the vang off as the boom was in the water most of the time which took the strain off,’ explained Sinclair, who is a hydrographic consultant.
He made slow progress up the Atlantic, beleaguered by variable winds, and heavy weather; multiple knockdowns left him with no working satellite phone (although the race bans modern equipment, a satellite phone is allowed for weekly check-ins with Race HQ), his number 4 staysail was swept away and his number 3 jib was ripped in a Force 9 wind. The metal HF radio receiver whip on Coconut‘s transom was also bent 90° by the waves.
He said he now had ‘a list of jobs to do’ and this would determine if he would race in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, which starts on 4 September 2022; he had originally planned to finish the 2018 race in April.
Sinclair’s Lello 34 has a damaged forestay and staysail inner forestay due to the failure of two split pins; the boat also has engine problems.
‘If it is a fuel problem, it is good,’ he said. ‘But if I have to replace the engine, it is not just going to be an issue of cost but of time. It is a 40 year old diesel [engine] and I’ve repaired the head once before. I need to go through these list of jobs and I think the issue of what happens with the 2022 race depends on that.’
‘I am not a racing sailor, I am more of a seamanship kind of guy but it has been a really good experience and I’ve learned a lot,’ added Sinclair, before he enjoyed a cold beer and some fresh fruit after stepping off Coconut.
For the last few weeks he has been eating dehydrated food and drinking powdered milk. He had also run out of toilet paper.
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