With just over a 1,000 miles left until he finishes his Golden Globe Race, skipper Tapio Lehtinen has rendezvoused at sea with a team from the self-steering firm, Windpilot
Photographer Les Gallagher and Windpilot’s Horta representative Harry Schank rendezvoused with the Finnish skipper’s Gaia 36 Asteria 4 miles west of Faial in the Azores.
The 61-year-old was pre-warned about the plan for the photo shoot with his sponsor via his ham radio operator Jari Jussila after Peter Foerthmann from Windvane had contacted Jussila and Lehtinen’s shore team representative, Hannu Hollmen to check the solo skipper would be able to cope with meeting people in the middle of the Atlantic.
Commenting, Foerthmann said: ‘Tapio looked to be in great shape. I can hardly believe how young and healthy this cruise has made him: gone is the frown that seemed never to lift from his face during the pre-race preparations and gone too, apparently, are the worries that put it there and made us almost feel sorry for the man at the time. Tapio, it is clear, has found whatever it was he went to sea to find.’
Tapio Lehtinen, the last Golden Globe Race skipper still sailing, has finally crossed the equator as he continues his circumnavigation…
After 263 days alone at sea, American-Hungarian Golden Globe Race skipper, Istvan Kopar has crossed the finish line
The 73-year-old French skipper, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede has won the Golden Globe Race
The rendezvous was completed with respect to the rules of the Golden Globe Race, which state that no skipper is allowed outside assistance during their circumnavigation.
Lehtinen, who has been plagued by barnacles on the hull of his Gaia 36, still has more than 1,000 miles to sail before he crosses the finish line at Les Sables d’Olonne in France.
Last night he faced 30 knot winds, strengthening to near gale force, but was sailing into better weather this morning.
In his daily text to the race HQ, he said: ‘It aint over until the fat lady sings. You have to respect the North Atlantic, the SW has been howling & gusting over 50 kn through the night. Had #4 reef, 1/4 Yankee & 1/3 Staysail, but should have taken the main down & boom in as it hit the waves so badly that the vang broke. Should be able to fix it one more time with my Makita as the wind drops. Making great speed:)’.
Race organisers are currently predicting that Lehtinen will finish on 23 May, with a time of over 326 days.
1 Jean- Luc VDH (FRA) Rustler 36 Matmut
2 Mark Slats (NED) Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick
3 Uku Randmaa (EST) Rustler 36 One and All
4 Istvan Kopar (USA) Tradewind 35 Puffin
5 Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria
Chichester Class (No time limit)
Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda (plans to restart from Australia in October 2019)
Ertan Beskardes (GBR) Rustler 36 Lazy Otter
Kevin Farebrother (AUS) Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha
Nabil Amra (PAL) Biscay 36 Liberty II
Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB
Antoine Cousot (FRA) Biscay 36 Métier Intérim
Are Wiig (NOR) OE32 Olleanna
Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya
Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
Francesco Cappelletti (ITA) Endurance 35 007
Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland
Susie Goodall (GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight
Mark Sinclair (AUS) Lello 34 Coconut