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"I GAVE ASTERIA A LAST SALUTE STANDING IN THE RAFT AS SHE WENT DOWN" - Solo Sailor Tapio Lehtinen 'DISTRESS' Activation in the Golden Globe Race

18th November 2022
Tapio Lehtinen is sailing in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, a solo, non stop adventure, around the world. He departed from Les Sables d’Olonne France on Sept. 4th this year and after passing through the Cape Town film gate, was heading toward Australia in the Southern Ocean.
Tapio Lehtinen is sailing in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, a solo, non stop adventure, around the world. He departed from Les Sables d’Olonne France on Sept. 4th this year and after passing through the Cape Town film gate, was heading toward Australia in the Southern Ocean Credit: Etienne Messikommer / GGR2022

Today at 0654 UTC, Golden Globe Race competitor Tapio Lehtinen activated Asteria’s EPIRB, 460 nautical miles SE from Port Elizabeth, in South Africa, while sailing in the solo non-stop round the world race.

The GGR Crisis management team in Les Sables d’Olonne and Race Founder and President Don McIntyre in Cape Town have been coordinating with the Cape Town MRCC and CROSS Griz-Nez in France.

Tapio Lehtinen's Gaia 36 ASTERIA Life Raft Position. Picture Credit: Nora Havel / GGR2022Tapio Lehtinen's Gaia 36 ASTERIA Life Raft Position. Picture Credit: Nora Havel / GGR2022

At 0852 UTC, Tapio also activated his liferaft’s PLB, indicating that he may have abandoned ship. The liferaft also has a VHF radio and GPS packed inside. MRCC Cape Town contacted nearby commercial vessels to divert to his position, with the closest ship 250 miles away.

GGR entrants Kirsten Neuschäfer and Abhilash Tomy, respectively, 105 and 170 miles to his SSW, have been informed of his latest PLB position. Abhilash was the first to receive the message and diverted course towards Tapio’s latest position.

Entrants' YB Tracker Positions.Entrants' YB Tracker Positions

At 0922 UTC, Tapio activated the emergency YB3 satellite tracking and texting device, which is part of the grab bag and at 1002 UTC, manually acknowledged the message sent by the GGR Crisis Team. indicating he was able, and had the emergency grab bag with him.

Tapio Lehtinen onboard AsteriaTapio Lehtinen onboard Asteria

The grab bag contains food, water and several critical pieces of equipment, including an emergency GPS, a Search & Rescue Transponder, a second 406 EPIRB, and a handheld GMDSS Radio. 

His last message was for Asteria: at 1105 UTC: "I GAVE ASTERIA A LAST SALUTE STANDING IN THE RAFT AS SHE WENT DOWN”

Every GGR2022 Entrant has two YB3 Tracking / messaging Units. Picture Credit: Nora Havel / GGR2022Every GGR2022 Entrant has two YB3 Tracking / messaging Units. Picture Credit: Nora Havel / GGR2022

Conditions in Tapio’s zone are manageable with light winds and a 2,5-metre swell. With Kirsten now en route and closest at 100 nm away, the GGR Crisis Team released Abhilash from the rescue effort. Kirsten is motoring and should have favourable winds later; expecting to be in the zone on Saturday, 19th November, in the morning. Forecasts suggest moderating conditions over the next two days.

Published in Golden Globe Race

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About the Golden Globe Race

The Golden Globe Race is the original round the world yacht race. In 1968, while man was preparing to take his first steps on the moon, a mild mannered and modest young man was setting out on his own record breaking voyage of discovery. Off shore yacht racing changed forever with adventurers and sailors, inspired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, following in his pioneering wake. Nine men started the first solo non-stop sailing race around the World. Only one finished. History was made. Navigating with a sextant, paper charts and an accurate and reliable time piece, Sir Robin navigated around the world. In 2018, to celebrate 50 years since that first record breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It instantly caught the attention of the worlds media as well as adventures, captivated by the spirit and opportunity. The original race is back.

The Golden Globe Race: Stepping back to the golden age of solo sailing

Like the original Sunday Times event back in 1968/9, the 2018 Golden Globe Race was very simple. Depart Les Sables d'Olonne, France on July 1st 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Les Sables d'Olonne. Entrants are limited to use the same type of yachts and equipment that were available to Robin Knox-Johnston in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite-based navigation aids.

Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 and having a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. These yachts will be heavily built, strong and steady, similar in concept to Robin's 32ft vessel Suhaili.

In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this edition travels back to a time known as the 'Golden Age' of solo sailing. Suhaili was a slow and steady 32ft double-ended ketch based on a William Atkins ERIC design. She is heavily built of teak and carried no computers, GPS, satellite phone nor water-maker, and Robin completed the challenge without the aid of modern-day shore-based weather routing advice. He had only a wind-up chronometer and a barograph to face the world alone, and caught rainwater to survive, but was at one with the ocean, able to contemplate and absorb all that this epic voyage had to offer.

This anniversary edition of the Golden Globe Race is a celebration of the original event, the winner, his boat and that significant world-first achievement. Competitors in this race will be sailing simple boats using basic equipment to guarantee a satisfying and personal experience. The challenge is pure and very raw, placing the adventure ahead of winning at all costs. It is for 'those who dare', just as it was for Knox-Johnston.

They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand-write their logs and determine the weather for themselves.

Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow.

It is now possible to race a monohull solo around the world in under 80 days, but sailors entered in this race will spend around 300 days at sea, challenging themselves and each other. The 2018 Golden Globe Race was a fitting tribute to the first edition and it's winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Background on Don McIntyre (61) Race Founder

Don is an inveterate sailor and recognised as one of Australia s greatest explorers. Passionate about all forms of adventure and inspiring others, his desire is to recreate the Golden Age of solo sailing. Don finished 2nd in class in the 1990-91 BOC Challenge solo around the world yacht race. In 2010, he led the 4-man Talisker Bounty Boat challenge to re-enact the Mutiny on the Bounty voyage from Tonga to West Timor, in a simil

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