Dutch solo-sailor Mark Slats puts in a dig into the Golden Globe Race 2018’s retro-sailing rules as he leaves Les Sables D’lonne for the first time since he finished his 214 days at sea. His first tweet read, “PRETTY GOOD SAILIG PLENTY WATER AND FOOD AND GPS IS GREAT” Slats is sailing his Rustler 36 Ophen Maverick to his home of the Netherlands by way of England.
The 2018 Golden Globe Race bans the use of GPS and satellite communications. Slats told Slow Boat Sailing in an interview, which is yet to be released, that he was upset about the 32-hour time penalty that pushed his finish time back to 216 days. He felt his manager was well within his rights to give the satellite phone weather warning under race rules. Slats also said he felt the penalty was disproportionate compared to the 18-hour penalties imposed on Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, who won the race in 212 days, and fourth place Istavan Kopar who is over 2,000 nm from the finish.
The use of banned Spectra braid by Van Den Heede to repair his shroud, the receipt of GPS positions by race participants, the allegedly illegal use of HAM radio by Van Den Heede and Slats, the satellite phone use violations, and the accusation that Van Den Heede received banned weather routing, have dogged the retro race. The race prides itself on using technology from 1968, the first running of the solo, non-stop unassisted race. With the exception of satellite phone infraction the race chairman and founder, Don McIntyre, has dismissed accusations of “cheating” as nonsense.
Eighteen boats started the race on July 1, 2018. After 227 days, five boats have been dismasted, eight boats retired for other reasons, two boats have finished, and three more are in the Atlantic Ocean sailing to France. The closest skipper in 3rd place is Uku Randamaa was 2,500 nm from the finish at UTC 16:00 on February 13, 2019.