Breaking: EPIRB activated by French GGR sailor.

Loic Lepage is the second sailor to activate his EPIRB in the 2018 Golden Globe Race for small sailing yachts on October 20, 2018, UTC. Lepage’s 32-foot yacht was taking on 30 liters of water per hour after its broken mast punched a hole in its hull before Lepage could cut it away. The French sailor lost his rig in 25-knot winds and 3-meter seas earlier on October 20, 2018, UTC. Lepage rested after removing the broken mast awaiting daylight on October 21, 2018, local time before activating his EPIRB with consultation with rescue coordinators in Australia. At the present time, his pumps are able to keep up with the water flow and he is believed to have a life raft on board.


Pictured above, French GGR skipper Loic Lepage was sailing his Nicholson 32 Mk 10 yacht LAALAND. Photo by Benjamin BRION/PPL/GGR.

He was approximately 600 miles southwest of Perth, Australia, drifting northeast at about 1 knot late on UTC October 20, 2018. His last known position was 39 degrees 1.117 minutes south and 104 degrees 1.67 minutes east. Lepage’s boat has a tracker that updates every thirty minutes. The closest Golden Globe Race participant was 480 miles downwind. Thus, his best prospects for rescue are likely from a non-race participant. There are several boats participating in the Longue Route event, which is a non-stop around the world rally to commemorate Bernard Moitessier’s participation in the 1968 Golden Globe Race. Several are downwind and closer to Loic Lepage than Istavan Kopar of the United States, who is the closest Golden Globe Race participant to Lepage. You can see their positions relative to the Golden Globe Racers here.

In the first 111 days of the race only one other sailor has set off his EPIRB, Indian Naval Commander Abhilash Tomy. The later suffered a dismasting in a violent storm that also gave Cmdr. Tomy a severe and debilitating back injury. Two other boats have been dismasted. Gregor McGuckin’s boat was dismasted in the same storm that Tomy’s was with 70-knot winds and up to 15-meter seas. He opted for rescue as his boat was close to Tomy’s when a multinational rescue effort reached the Indian sailor. Are Wiig of Norway sailed his dismasted boat into Cape Town under jury rig.

Eighteen sailors set out on the 2018 non-stop, solo, unsupported, around the world sailing race in July 1, 2018. Only eight were still in the main race at the time of writing. Lepage was the only sailor in the Chichester class for boats that make one unsanctioned stop in Cape Town. Lepage ran out of drinking water, due to lack of rain showers experienced in the Doldrums and South East Trades. He also reported problems with his radio and was unable to pick up weather forecasts. The stop in Cape Town to make repairs and replenish his stores knocked him out of the 2018 Golden Globe Race into the Chichester class competition.

Most of the remaining participants in 32-to-36-foot sailboats are less than half-way finished. The 1968 Golden Globe Race only had one finisher out of nine participants.

Here is the statement from the GGR Facebook page:


At 1810UTC 20th Loic rang GGR to advise he was concerned about 30l of water every hour entering the boat from an area that he cannot easily access. His pumps are working and he can keep up with the flow for now. GGR then contacted JRCC in Canberra Australia to advise that Loic will activate his EPIRB in the next 15 minutes. After considering options he has decided to activate his EPIRB.

The last position received at 1900UTC was 39 1.117S and 104. 1.67E making 1.2K on 45T. Positions now being received every 30 MInutes on the GGR LIVE tracker

Nearest GGR Entrant with an engine is Itvan Kopar 480 miles downwind to the east. Strong westerly winds will mean it is unlikely he will be able to haed west for the next 24 hrs. There may be other yachts to the west of LAALAND in an event called the LONG ROUTE. GGR are endeavouring to make contact with the roganisers to discover the MSSI Number of thoise yachts and their positions from AIS #GGR2018

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