Slats sets sail to La Coruna, Spain

2019 January 28th | Golden Globe Race

Mark Slats, currently number two in the Golden Globe Race, has decided Monday January 28 in the afternoon to contact his shoremanager Dick Koopmans. Mark experienced different insights about the concept of 'safe sailing' and decided to discuss with his manager about the best choice for the coming days is. Together they have decided that Mark is now heading for La Coruña Spain to take shelter and continue his race at a later date.

Monday morning January 28, the weather forecasts for the last part of the Golden Globe Race looked very bad for Mark Slats. The predictions showed huge storms and also huge waves. Don McIntyre, race organizer of the Golden Globe Race, gave Mark the advice, earlier that day, to sail with his boat, Ohpen Maverick, in to the Bay of Biscay. Mark's shoremanager Dick Koopmans did not agree with this and contacted both Dutch and English coastguards. Both authorities fully understood the care provided by Team Slats. Contact was also made with Gerrit Hiemstra, a Dutch authority in the field of meteorology and also a self-employed ocean sailor. Hiemstra indicated that it is completely irresponsible to enter the Bay of Biscay and to visit the port of Les Sables d'Olonne on Thursday 31 January. The Golden Globe Race has been asked to move the finish further offshore or even to move to Brest (France) or Falmouth (UK). This request was simply rejected.

Slats currently sails for 211 days in the Golden Globe Race. A historic sailing race solo non-stop around the world without outside assistance and without the use of modern communication and navigation equipment. There were 18 entrants at the start , only 5 are still in the race. Slats survived an enormous storm in the Southern Indian Ocean where two participants, who were close by lost their mast and both had to be evacuated from their ship. One of them, Abhilash Tomy broke a number of vertebrae to which he had to undergo surgery. Tomy is still working on his rehabilitation. Slats also had to contend with extreme periods of no wind before he could sail to Tasmania Australia. In a radio interview, Slats indicated that the periods of windcalms felt worse than when he had to deal with a storm of 50-60 knots of wind.

Slats has trailed the number 1 in the race, the French sailing veteran Jean-Luc van den Heede from Les Sables d'Olonne France, he decreased the distance from 2000 miles to the moment of writing only another 400 miles. If Slats were to follow the advice of the Golden Globe Race, he would be expected to arrive at the port of Les Sables d'Olonne around 17:00 on Thursday afternoon. At the finsih, the water is only 10 meters deep. When Slats has to deal with waves of 6-9 meters high from behind, this can lead to very dangerous situations in combination with the shallows. When Slats arrives at the port of Les Sables d'Olonne is not yet known.

Pressrelease by Karen Hogenbirk | Hogenbirk Support
Photo by Christophe Favreau Photography