Uku Randmaa is the third Golden Globe Race skipper to round the iconic landmark

Estonian Golden Globe Race skipper Uku Randmaa has rounded Cape Horn.

The 55-year-old, who previously circumnavigated the world with stops between 2011 and 2012, sailed his Rustler 36, One and All past the iconic landmark at 0400 UTC today (19 December 2018). He was four miles off and sailing in 20 knot north-northwesterly winds and 3 metre seas.

A few hours earlier he had seen Cape Horn and had sent a message to Race HQ: ‘It is unbelievable that I can see the Horn. I am thankful for my Gods.’

Randmaa is the third race entrant to round the iconic landmark. Current race leader, French skipper Jean-Luc Van Den Heede past Cape Horn on 23 November 2018, followed by second placed Mark Slats eight days later.

A Golden Globe Race skipper sitting on his yacht at the race start

Uku Randmaa has previously circumnavigated the world with stops. Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

Slats is continuing to chase Van Den Heede, and is now 794 miles behind the Frenchman’s Rustler 36 Matmut, with some 4,300 miles to cover before crossing the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne in France.

Van Den Heede has had to make further repairs to the crack in Matmut‘s mast, which developed after the yacht pitchpoled in the Southern Ocean. The connecting bolt attachment to the mast that holds all four lower shrouds is damaged and although the 73-year-old has made a temporary binding, he is having to sail conservatively and  ‘nurse’ the rig upwind to avoid the boat from slamming and sending shockwaves up the mast.

Slats’ Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick has so far escaped any serious damage. He also has the advantage of bigger hanked headsails without the weight penalty that Matmut carries with her roller furling systems.

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The 41-year-old has had his fair share of problems recently though, with stomach problems as a result of drinking bad milk and heavy head winds which forced him to lie hove to – the first time the Dutchman has stopped sailing in the race because of bad weather.

Fourth placed American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar successfully avoided the storm which was due to hit him last week after heading south into the NO-GO zone.

He has since repaired the failing bearings within the steering pedestal aboard his Tradewind 35 Puffin, and is now dealing with another low pressure system. This is forecast to be one of the largest storms of the race so far, with  60-70 knot winds and 12-15 metre seas.

Mark SLats wearing just shorts onboard his yacht

Bad weather last week forced Mark Slats to hove to for the first time in the race. Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

Race HQ has advised Kopar to head south of the first small storm but not drop below 53S latitude before tomorrow (20 December 2018)

Finland’s Tapio Lehtinen is in fifth place, and is some 6,300 miles behind Jean-Luc Van Den Heede.

Russia skipper Igor Zaretskiy, who has stopped in Albany, Western Australia to make repairs and clean the barnacles off the hull of his Endurance 35, Esmeralda is preparing to fly home to Moscow for a health check.

Zaretskiy, who is now in the Chichester Class for entrants who make one stop, suffered a heart attack in 2010 after winning the Jester Challenge solo transatlantic race, and after undergoing a further health check in Australia last week, has been advised to return to Russia and see if further surgery is necessary.

The 18 skippers taking part in the Golden Globe Race

There are now just five skippers left in the Golden Globe Race out of 18 entrants. Credit: Christophe Favreau/GGR/PPL

Golden Globe Race organisers said there is no time limit for Zaretskiy to restart in the Chichester Class – Francis Chichester stopped for 48 days in Sydney during his one-stop circumnavigation in 1966/7 – but ‘there are practical limitations’.

After the end of March, the onset of winter storms in the Southern Ocean makes it unadvisable to attempt a Cape Horn rounding until the following spring.

Latest positions at 09:00 UTC 19 December 2018

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

Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda


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