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Golden Globe Race Yacht Rock Hits Rocks in the Canaries; Skipper Guy deBoer Safe But Now Stranded

19th September 2022
Guy deBoer (USA) crashes into rocks at night on the north coast of Fuerteventura, Las Palmas in the Canaries, his yacht now stranded but he is safe. Salvage under investigation
Credit: GGR2022 / Alex Craig

It was South African Golden Globe Race entrant Kirsten Neuschäfer (SA) who relayed Guy deBoer’s VHF radio Mayday call to GGR Race Control on Friday morning at 03:10 am UTC. Guy’s Tashiba 36 had run aground on the North coast of Fuerteventura, just 10 miles from the Lanzarote Marina Rubicon film drop gate he had passed a few hours before. He had activated his EPIRB and at 04:24 UTC rang the GGR Race control on his Sat phone.

“Spirit” was sitting on rocks, away from the beach, tilting 45°, Being pounded by heavy seas crashing over the boat. The surf was pushing her slowly forward, grinding over rocks. Guy who was in constant contact with Salvamento Maritimo, the local Rescue Coordination Center and GGR Race Control, was in a serious situation. He had his life raft ready but decided to remain inside Spirit, which was holding up. He planned to wait for daylight since he could not see the coast. The conditions for safe use of the life raft, or exit onto the rocks beaten by the surf were not right.

At 04:10 UTC, the MRCC Las Palmas informed GGR Control that first responders were on the beach, 50 metres from the boat sitting on the bedrock. Conditions were difficult, and Guy decided not to evacuate the yacht. At 04:36 UTC, Guy finally abandoned his yacht by foot, greatly assisted by the local police and firefighters. A Government salvage tow boat was already en route towards them. Guy was taken to a local hotel without injuries.

“Spirit” was sitting on rocks, away from the beach, tilting 45°, Being pounded by heavy seas crashing over the boat.Golden Globe Race entrant “Spirit” was sitting on rocks, away from the beach, tilting 45°, Being pounded by heavy seas crashing over the boat

Following an early morning Government assessment it was considered too difficult to tow Spirit back to sea at high water. The authorities decided to pump all fuel from the boat to avoid a potential spill and are now working with Guy deBoer ’s team and an insurance company on salvaging the Tashiba 36 with the least environmental impact. The area is a popular tourist surfing spot.

“At 9.30 Monday morning I am meeting with a large salvage company to consider the best course of action which at this stage looks like dragging her back over the hard rocks, fortunately not fragile reefs”. Said Guy deBoer “She has an incredibly strong and thick hull so should be able to take that ride! She has taken a pounding so far and the hull is fine. I hope to see her sail again, but certainly, we cannot just leave her there”.

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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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