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Golden Globe dis­mast­ings; Sonar re­gat­tas; a new mil­lion­dol­lar mul­ti­hull se­ries

No one ever said it was go­ing to be easy, and this past fall a pair of com­peti­tors tak­ing part in the on­go­ing Golden Globe Race 2018 were dis­abled in a ma­jor storm deep in the In­dian Ocean, with one of them com­ing away se­ri­ously in­jured.

The dis­mast­ings took place around 80 days into the race, when In­dian sailor Ab­hi­lash Tomy and Ir­ish­man Gre­gor McGuckin were over­taken by a gale pack­ing 70- knot winds and 50ft waves some 1,900 miles south­west of Aus­tralia.

Tomy, sail­ing his 32ft ketch-rigged, Suhalireplica, Thuriya, was rolled a com­plete 360 de­grees dur­ing which his rig not only went by the board, but he was al­most com­pletely in­ca­pac­i­tated: to the point where it was a strug­gle even com­mu­ni­cat­ing with race head­quar­ters via his Yel­low Brick track­ing unit’s tex­ting func­tion.

“Rolled. Dis­masted. Se­vere back in­jury. Can­not get up,” he ini­tially re­ported. Later he wrote: “Ac­ti­vated EPIRB. Ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to walk, Might need stretcher, can’t walk, thanks safe in­side the boat, Un­able to reach 2nd YB3 or any­thing. Sat phone down.”

McGuckin’s Bis­cay 36 Mast­head ketch, Han­ley En­ergy En­durance, which was about 90 south­west of Tomy at the time, also lost her rig af­ter be­ing rolled. But McGuckin per­son­ally came through the ex­pe­ri­ence rel­a­tively un­scathed and was able to cob­ble to­gether a jury rig us­ing his spin­naker pole and be­gin sail­ing to­ward Tomy’s po­si­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, with his self-steer­ing wind­vane smashed and his en­gine no longer work­ing prop­erly, he too was ul­ti­mately forced to aban­don ship, even­tu­ally be­ing picked up by the same ship that res­cued Tomy, the French fish­eries pa­trol ves­sel Osiris.

“The real he­roes to­day are the pro­fes­sion­als that co­or­di­nate and ex­e­cute such mis­sions,” McGuckin said af­ter­ward. “All ser­vices were tested to their lim­its and ex­celled. The in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Aus­tralia, France, and In­dia has proven that no mat­ter how re­mote, there is al­ways cover.”

Mean­while, as this is­sue went to press, a mere eight of the 18 sailors who first set out from Les Sables d’Olonne, France, in July re­mained at sea, with Dutch sailor Jean-Luc van den Heede in the lead aboard his Rustler 36 sloop Mat­mut and the fleet not ex­pected to ar­rive back in France be­fore this spring.

Mark­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of the orig­i­nal Golden Globe Race, in which Robin Knox-John­son be­came the first per­son to sail non­stop alone around the world, the Golden Globe Race 2018 fea­tures a num­ber of rules de­signed to re­cap­ture the spirit of KnoxJohn­ston’s ex­pe­ri­ence. These in­clude the re­quire­ment that all boats be built in con­ven­tional fiber­glass with full keels and at­tached rud­ders. Any tech­nolo­gies not yet in ex­is­tence back in the ’60s are also strictly for­bid­den. In other words, no GPS, no elec­tronic au­topi­lots and no sat-comms other than those on board for emer­gency use. For the lat­est on the event, visit gold­en­glober­ace.com. s

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