GGR DAY 312 Tapio Lehtinen sighted off the Azores


 DAY 312: Tapio Lehtinen sighted off the Azores

  • Now 1,100miles from the finish line
  • ETA 23-26th May

Dateline: 9/05/2019, Les Sables d’Olonne, France

Bright and cheerful Tapio is enjoying his extended solo circumnavigation

Asteria’s Windpilot windvane self steering has stood up well during this endurance adventure
Tapio taking advantage of the clear skies to take a Noon sun sight.

Tapio Lehtinen, the 5th and final placed Finnish skipper competing in the Golden Globe Race enjoyed an unexpected rendezvous off Faial Island in the Azores yesterday with the local representative of his Windpilot self-steering sponsor.

Sailing his Gaia 36 Asteria with spinnaker set in glorious weather, Tapio was clearly enjoying his lengthy solo circumnavigation extended by barnacle growth on the hull. “It is light and peaceful and I’m making good progress towards Les Sables d’Olonne.” He quipped.

Tapio Lehtinen and his Gaia 36 Asteria photographed 4 miles west of Faial Island in the Azores.

The 61 year-old from Helsinki also said he was gaining weight, despite running out of cooking gas three weeks ago. “Tesco gave me a lot of good food and I’ve now got used to cold porridge in the mornings and a cold dinner at night.” Ironically, the gas ran out just as he caught a flying fish and he has been eating smorgasbord ever since.

Overnight the winds picked up to gale force, which led to a 122 mile run during the past 24 hours – twice his average daily run since rounding Cape Horn more than 2 months ago. Tapio reported overnight: “You have to respect the North Atlantic, the SW has been howling & gusting over 50 knots through the night. Had #4 reef, 1/4 Yankee & 1/3 Staysail, but should have taken the main down as it hit the waves so badly that the vang broke. Should be able to fix it one more time with my Makita as the wind drops. Making great speed!”

The bad news is that in Tapio’s virtual race against Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s race winning time 50 years before, the gap between Asteria and Suhaili, has now extended to 678 miles, so the Finn will finish well outside Sir Robin’s 312 day benchmark circumnavigation in 1968/9.

Looking ahead, Tapio is approaching the Bay of Biscay at a good time of the year when the winds are generally stable and from a favourable direction. The Race tracker is predicting May 23, based on his average of 3.2knots since the start, but race organisers expect the barnacle growth will slow Asteria whenever conditions are light, and Tapio may not complete his quest until May 26.

GGR organisers are preparing a warm welcome for Tapio on his return. To help with planning, Media, planning to cover his arrival should email with their requirements.

Tapio Lehtinen trails Suhaili  by 678 miles in his virtual race against Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s solo circumnavigation record set in 1968/9


Lessons learned from sailing small yachts in extreme conditions

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has published his long awaited Report considering the lessons learned from sailing small yachts in extreme conditions including the 5 dismastings suffered during the 2018 GGR.

Click here to download the Report


Positions at 08 : 00 UTC 09.05.19

Skipper Distance to finish VMG during last 24 hours Elapsed time 
1 Jean-Luc VDH (FRA) 
Rustler 36  Matmut
Finished 0 knots  211d   23h 12m 19s
2 Mark Slats (NED) 
Rustler 36  Ohpen Maverick
Finished 0 knots 216d 00h 18m 30s Inc. 36h penalty
3 Uku Randmaa (East) Rustler 36 One and All   Finished 0 knots 254d 18h 40m 00s Inc. 72h penalty
4 Istvan Kopar (USA) Tradewind 35 Puffin Finished 0 knots

264d 1h 38m 30s Inc. 24h 40m accumulative penalty

5 Robin Knox-Johnston (GBR)  Suhaili  virtual race position in 1969 (6th April) 429  3.9 knots
5 Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria 1107 4.8  knots

Chichester Class

1. Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35  Esmeralda – stopped in Albany, W Australia. Expected to restart in October/November


Ertan Beskardes (GBR) Rustler 36 Lazy Otter 
Kevin Farebrother (AUS) Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha 
Nabil Amra (PAL) Biscay 36 Liberty II
Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB  
Antoine Cousot (FRA) Biscay 36 Occupation Interim 
Are Wiig (NOR) OE32 Olleanna 
Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya 
Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
Francesco Cappelletti (ITA) Endurance 35 007
Loïc Lepage (ENG) Nicholson 32 Laaland 
Susie Goodall(GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight 
Sinclair Mark (AUS) Lello 34 Coconut

CLICK HERE  for latest position reports and weather information