Dutch Sailor Mark Slats arrived at the finish of the 2018 GGR, Golden Globe Retro Sailing Race, in Les Sables D’Lonne, France at 11:18 PM local time on January 31, 2019, after 214 days at sea. He sailed around the world solo-nonstop and unassisted in the Southern Ocean around the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. After a 36-hour time penalty, his official time will be 216 days. He will be second place because the third place skipper Uku Randamaa is over 3,000 nm from the finish. Mark Slats was the second GGR 2018 finisher in sailing a Rustler 36. Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (VDH or JLVDH) finished in just less than 212 days smashing Sir Robin Knox Johnston’s 1968 Sunday Times’ Golden Globe Race record of 312 days. We quote the biography of Mark Slats at http://www.goldengloberace.com:
“Mark Slats is another to have completed a solo circumnavigation before, sailing the 46ft Alan Buchanan designed yacht Cornelia in 2004/5. The Dutch sailor who was born in Darwin, Australia and moved to the Netherlands at the age of 8, has bought the Rustler 36 The Ohpen Maverick – the first one to be built.
Mark has his own business renovating old houses, but found preparing for the GGR and the 2017 Talisker Transatlantic Rowing Challenge took up a great deal of his time. “I’m out training 8 hours each day and been spending the rest planning for these two events. It is very time consuming!”
Remarkably, Slats overcame the disappointment of losing his fellow rower in the 2-man class, shortly before the start of the Talisker Challenge, but went on and won the singlehanded class, in record time after finishing 4th overall, ahead of all the 2-man crews!
Mark’s GGR challenge is managed by Dutch naval architect Dick Koopmans. The yacht was sailed across the North Sea to his home port of Wassenaar near the fishing port of Scheveningen earlier in 2017, and had a 3-man team fitting the boat out under Koopman’s direction while Mark was rowing across the Atlantic.
Why has he entered the GGR? ‘Because I live for this stuff’ he says.”
Eighteen sailors got to the start line, but only five remained by day 212 of the fiftieth anniversary GGR 2018. Van Den Heede led most of the way as Are Wiig, Abhilash Tomy, Gregor McGucken, Loic Lepage, and Susie Goodall’s sailboats were dismasted. This retro race for 32-to-36-foot sailboats runs through the stormy Southern Ocean. VDH’s boat was pitchpoled a few thousand miles from Cape Horn. VDH was able to enact a repair and sailed on more slowly allowing Dutch sailor Mark Slats to almost catch him south of the Azores High. A tactical misstep of motoring though the center of the high instead of sailing more quickly to its west cost Slats any chance of taking the lead short of disaster as Van Den Heede stretched his lead to over 400 nm. Slats was told by Dutch authorities to not use HAM without a license limiting his weather information. He was penalized for a satellite phone message from his manager. Jean Socrates said he received his position over SSB.
Video from VNR/PPL/GGR and Mark Slats was reproduced with the permission of the GGR 2018.
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On the Slow Boat Sailing Podcast Linus Wilson has interviewed the crew of Sailing SV Delos, WhiteSpotPirates (Untie the Lines), Chase the Story Sailing, Gone with the Wynns, MJ Sailing, Sailing Doodles, SV Prism, Sailing Miss Lone Star, and many others.
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