Golden Globe Race skipper Mark Sinclair faced storms and equipment failure while rounding Cape Horn as he continues towards France to finish the 2018 race
The 63-year-old singlehanded sailor endured 50 knot winds and 6 metre seas while passing the milestone around seven miles offshore.
‘I tried to come round in the lee of the islands there, but I couldn’t see them and was running under bare poles towing a drogue,’ said Mark Sinclair, who uses a tyre to slow down his long-keeled 1980 Lello 34, Coconut, believing that it gives him more control than a conventional drogue.
‘I had to keep gybing because I was worried about the islands and I didn’t know where I was. That kept me in exposed water so I got beaten up all the next day running under bare poles with a drogue out the back up to Le Maire, but I couldn’t go through Le Maire Strait at night as I couldn’t see anything and the tides were not right, so I had to hang around there and then pushed through and got hit by the second storm.’
He said the second storm ‘came through early’ sweeping Coconut ‘into the overfalls in storm conditions’, He said sailing in these conditions was ‘like climbing Mount Everest in the dead zone.’
‘It was just like a washing machine. I could do nothing about it. I just had to keep persevering and clean up the detritus later.’ said Mark Sinclar. ‘The staysail has been fantastic and the reefed. No 3 headsail has been good. I have had the trysail out quite a lot and had the mainsail up through the overfalls and it did perform really well. Four reefs are unwieldily but the right answer is to have three reefs in the mainsail but have them in the position of 1.5 reef, 2.5 reef and 4 reef,’ he told Golden Globe Race organiser, Don McIntyre.
The Australian sailor, who is affectionately known as Captain Coconut, set out from Adelaide bound for Les Sables d’Olonne, France on 5 December 2021, exactly three years after stopping his 2018 Golden Globe Race due to a diminishing water supply and barnacle growth on his hull.
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Mark Sinclair said Coconut had coped well in the storm conditions, although he sustained some slight injuries and equipment damage.
‘She [Coconut] is pretty tough. The Nomad AIS connection was destroyed by a can of baked beans. I got hit by a metal water bottle and have a cut on my left eye. It was very violent. I feel like I’ve done a few rounds with Muhammad Ali. My ribs are sore and I am so bruised. I have a cut hand and face and very cold hands. But all the important stuff is still there. I have got so many things to try and fix, but nothing really important,’ said Sinclair.
‘Her performance is a real testament to the design, the work done strengthening her, and the work done on the mast. She has been sailed very hard over the last two days. She really stood up to it. The boat can really outperform me. To all those Lello owners, you have a good boat there,’ he continued.
Mark, who will be competing in the Golden Globe Race 2022, hopes he will reach the equator in the next month.
‘I can think about coming back next year. You are faced with certain decisions and you have to make them. That is all behind me now and I am sure when I warm up and get everything sorted I will think about it but at the moment I am pleased to be alive,’ he added.
Enjoyed reading Mark Sinclair rounds Cape Horn as he continues his Golden Globe Race?
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