Fifth placed Golden Globe Race skipper Tapio Lehtinen has now passed Cape Horn and is heading into the Atlantic Ocean in his barnacle covered Gaia 36

Finnish solo skipper Tapio Lehtinen has conquered Cape Horn.

The 61-year-old rounded the landmark in his Gaia 36 Asteria in 40 gusting 50-knot winds and five metre breaking seas at 2010 UTC on 6 February 2019.

Lehtinen’s progress in the Golden Globe Race has been slowed considerably by barnacle growth on the hull of Asteria, which, according to race organisers,  has cut the yacht’s speed in half. At one point, he fell behind the time set by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Suhaili in the original 1968-69 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race.

It is predicted the 1981-92 Whitbread Round the World Race veteran will cross the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne in France on 7 May 2019.

Tapio Lehtinen sitting on the deck of his Gaia 36 during the Hobart stopover in the Golden Globe Race

Tapio Lehtinen has now rounded Cape Horn for the the second time. Credit: Jessie Martin/PPL/GGR

Being interviewed before the start on 1 July 2018, Lehtinen admitted he wasn’t a ‘risk taker’.

‘I am participating because I love sailing, I enjoy being at sea. I accept the challenges, but I am not a risk taker. I take pride in preparing well and sailing in a seamanlike way. I’m competitive, but realise that in order to do well in this race, I first have to finish,’ he said.

It is highly unlikely that he will make up enough ground to catch Uku Randmaa and Istvan Kopar.

The race between the two skippers for the final podium position has now tightened, with just 500 miles now separating Randmaa and Kopar.

Estonian skipper Randmaa has been struggling in recent days, stuck in the Doldrums aboard his Rustler 36 One and All. He is also running out of food with more than 3,000 miles to the finish line.

Uku Randmaa leaving the Canary Islands

Uku Randmaa is expected to reach the finish by 7 March 2019. Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

He has less than 30 bags of freeze-dried food and 30 bags of cup-a-soups left, with another month of sailing ahead. Worse, his attempts to catch fish to supplement his now meagre 500-calories-a-day diet have not gone well.

Randmaa, who has previously circumnavigated the world with stops between 2011-12,  is also facing pressure from American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar, who has been enjoying 6-knots in his Tradewind 36, Puffin.

Istvan Kopar on his Puffin

Istvan Kopar has narrowed the gap, and is just 500 miles behind Uku Randmaa. Credit:Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

This has enabled him to eat 398 miles from Randmaa’s lead, and now both skippers are in the same weather system, increasing the competition for third place over the final 3,000 miles back to Les Sables d’Olonne.

Back at the French port, Golden Globe Race winner Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and second placed Mark Slats are getting used to life on land again.

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Van Den Heede, 73, reportedly found it initially a struggle to walk any distance after stepping ashore in his home port, but he certainly held his own at his celebration party later.

Slats, 41, has been having difficulty sleeping, waking up after 90 minutes overcome by the urge to get up and check the sails. Van Den Heede has had the same problem, and has gone back on his boat to sleep to try and get some rest.

Both sailors lost weight during the race – Van Den Heede shed 11kg while Slats lost 18kg.

As part of their efforts to help save the planet, both skippers retained all their rubbish onboard.

This has now been weighed and compared with the food and other disposables taken onboard at the start.

Van Den Heede brought ashore 14 bags weighing 93kg and Slats had 15 bags weighing 113kg.

Latest positions at 09:00 UTC 07 February 2019


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