The final podium position in the Golden Globe Race has gone to Estonian skipper Uku Randmaa

Estonian solo sailor Uku Randmaa has revealed that he survived on one meal and a cup a soup a day for around half of his Golden Globe Race.

The 56-year-old, who claimed third place in the race  yesterday (10 March 2019), had to slash his food intake after leaving the race’s final gate in Hobart, Australia.

‘I think I must have lost at least 20kg,’ said Randmaa after crossing the finish line at Les Sables d’Olonne in France at 0900 UTC.

‘By Hobart, I knew I was going to run short of food so I divided up what I had left by two…and then I divided it by two more. I had two meals a day; a freeze dried dish and a cup of soup, but it has been very good for my health. If I did physical work, I got tired early, but it was not a major problem,’ he revealed.

Uku Randmaa greets his wife

.Uku Randmaa is greeted by his wife Maibi at Les Sables d’Olonne. Credit: Jane Zhou/GGR/PPL

After almost 252 days at sea, all he had left in his larder was three packets of powdered soup.

The solo circumnavigator was greeted at the dock by his wife Maibi and young twins Thor and Orm who were born shortly before his departure.

His fellow competitors were also there. Winner Jean-Luc Van Den Heede was one of the first to shake his hand followed by Dutchman Mark Slats, and two who were rescued in mid-ocean, Loïc Lepage and Susie Goodall.

Thousands of well wishers also lined the river entrance to catch a glimpse of this quiet spoken 56-year-old Estonian solo circumnavigator and his boat.

Randmaa had to deal with white-out conditions during his approach to Les Sables d’Olonne as a result of a rain squall. He told race organisers that he could not see further than the bows of his boat.

Uku Randmaa arriving at the finish line of the Golden Globe Race

Uku Randmaa circumnavigated in just under 252 days. Credit: GGR/PPL

He was handed a bottle of champagne on arrival, and a very welcomed pizza. Thanking God for his safe return, Randmaa poured some of the champagne into the water, then thanked his Rustler 36 One and All, sprinkling more on the mast and saved the biggest amount for his 2nd crew-mate – his Hydrovane self steering before passing it round his fellow Golden Globe Race skippers,

Reflecting on his solo and non-stop circumnavigation around the world, Randmaa said he was constantly worried about something breaking on board.

‘The hardest part of the voyage was lack of wind. I was stuck in the St Helena high pressure system for more than a week. My biggest worry was keeping the boat in one piece. I was worried that if something broke I might not be able to finish the race,’ he said.

Randmaa said he was also amazed by the amount of plastic rubbish in the oceans.

‘The biggest pollution – mainly plastic – was after rounding the Cape of Good Hope. There were streams of it in the ocean. At one time time I came across a door and on another occasion, a complete tree. If I had hit that, I think my steering would have broken,’ he noted.

Uku Randmaa at Les Sables d'Olonne

Uku Randmaa said he found the lack of wind the worst part of the race. Credit: Jane Zhou/GGR/PPL

What did he enjoy most? ‘Oh, the Southern Ocean: the waves, the loneliness. The waves were amazing. I watched them for hours and everyone one was different.’

Barnacles were a continuous problem. ‘At Hobart, someone said ‘I have good and bad news for you Uku…The good news is that you could cut 10 days off your voyage time. The bad news is that you have to clean the bottom yourself! It was quite scary to see your boat from outside. The waters were round 6°C. I wore my survival suit but it was very buoyant so I had to put lines under the keel and pull myself down to scrape the hull,’  commented Randmaa.

‘This was my biggest dream in life and I am very, very happy to have realised it…And for that, I have to thank my wife,’ he added.

Randmaa rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 5th place, and moved up to third in the harsh conditions experienced in the South Indian Ocean that led to the rescue of three other competitors, Indian Abhilash Tomy, Irishman Gregor McGuckin and Frenchman Loïc Lepage.

The Estonian was in 3rd place by the Hobart film stop and maintained this position to the finish despite a 72 hour penalty he received on 20 January for private routing information gained from a ham radio operator.

American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar, who is in 4th place,  is now within 950 miles of the finish and is expected to reach Les Sables d’Olonne on 18-19 March.

Position of skippers at 0800 UTC 11 March 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