Sundaymorning the 1st of July Mark walked the pontoon and said farewell to all his fellow skippers in the Golden Globe Race 2018. A couple of skippers said ‘I’ll follow you’ because Mark had set the tone by winning the SITraN Charity Challenge two weeks earlier. After saying farewell to family and friends Mark had to be on his boat ‘Ohpen Maverick’. After the classic yachts Gypsy Moth, Joshua & Suhaili departed the marina the entrants had to leave the pontoon, each every 5 minutes. Around 11:00 am all entrants were out of the channel of Les Sables d’Olonne. The skippers were accompanied by dozens of ribs and sailing yachts who showed their support and at the dock thousands of people were waving them farewell.
At the ten-minute signal Suhaili & Joshua had a rendezvous at the shore end of the start area and sailed side by side in a southwesterly direction. Entrants formed up behind Suhaili & Joshua, following them. On the start signal at 12:05 pm Suhaili and Joshua separated and entrants sailed between Suhaili and Joshua, thereby the Golden Globe Race started. It was not allowed to use the engine for propulsion, from the 5-minute preparatory signal to a distance of 30 nautical miles from the start line.
In this daring race the competitors departed France to spend around approximately 9 months completely alone at sea racing back to where they began via the Great Capes of the Southern Ocean. Mark is the only Dutch entrant in this grueling 9-month lap of the planet. He’ll face the extreme heat of tropics and worst sea conditions imaginable as he sails down to round the infamous Cape Horn. A number of 200 individuals have sailed solo around Cape Horn and other Great Capes in the Southern Ocean. This compares to almost 700 astronauts who have been shot into space.
Although this is a solo race, getting to the start line required a huge effort from Mark and his team. So Mark is very thrilled to have received support of many individuals and companies who supported him by refitting his boat, via Gofundme or individual actions. Also Dutch naval architect Dick Koopmans was a big support to Mark. He was leading in the whole refitting program of Mark’s Rustler36.
The 2018 Golden Globe race marks 50 years since Sir Robin Knox Johnston became the first man to do what everyone thought was impossible, sailing completely solo and non-stop around the world in the original 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. The 2018 edition is a ‘retro race’ that celebrates his astounding achievement by using only older boats with limited technology. So, no navigation electronics, no water de-salinators, no phones, internet, kindles or iPads. No electronic auto-pilots are permitted. Also, GPS is not allowed in this race so navigation will be done solely with a compass and sextant, using the sun, starts and the moon to pinpoint positions. Weather forecasting will be done using a barometer and information which can be picked up via SSB radio. All food must be carried from the start and Mark must catch rainwater to drink.
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