Reef boat in the Canary Islands during the world tour. What happened

rock boat
Guy DeBoer’s rock boat in the Canary Islands.

We had written to you on the occasion of his departure. The Golden Globe Race remains one of the craziest, most romantic and above all dangerous regattas in the world. Sixteen solo sailors set out on September 4, aboard the boats from 9.75 to a maximum of 10.97 meters (32 to 36 feet), from Les Sables d’Olonne in France for a 30,000-mile nonstop world tour passing by the famous three capes (Good Hope, Leewin, Cape Horn).

Immediately the difficulties began. One of the skippers in the race, the U.S. Guy DeBoer, crashed into the rocks on Friday night on the north coast of Fuerteventura, in Las Palmas, Canary Islands; his boat, the Tashiba 36 “Spirit,” ran aground among the rocks, as seen in the photo, but he is safe.

As a reminder, the Golden Globe Race boats, in homage to the legendary first edition in 1969, do not have any electronic or computer equipment on board , only sextant, nautical charts, compass, windvane steering (electric autopilot allowed but with penalty). Only link, but with limited communications, an SSB Radio. They also cannot have watches, cameras, digital, calculators. If you miscalculate, even a little, you run the risk of ending up on the rocks. The regulations have been the subject of controversy, given that in 2022 technology is a key aid to the safety of lone racers.

Will this edition also be an elimination race, like the one in 2018 where, out of 16 starters, only four arrived?

Rocky boat, what happened?

It was South African competitor Kirsten Neuschäfer who relayed Guy deBoer’s Mayday call via VHF to the Golden Globe Race Committee Friday morning at 03:10 UTC. Guy DeBoer’s Tashiba 36 had run aground in the dark of night on the north coast of Fuerteventura, just 10 miles from the Rubicon Marina “checkpoint” in Lanzarote that he had passed a few hours earlier in fifth place. He had activated his EPIRB and at 04:24 UTC had called the organization with his satellite phone.

“Spirit” had gone rocky, far from the beach, with the hull tilted at a 45-degree angle, buffeted by a strong sea swell that slammed into the boat. The wave slowly pushed her forward, causing her to rub further against the rocks, risking tearing the hull apart. DeBoer, who was in constant contact with Salvamento Maritimo, the local Rescue Coordination Center and GGR Race Control, was in an extreme situation.

rock boat 2
Guy DeBoer’s Tashiba 36 Spirit, the reef boat in the Canary Islands

Rocky boat: best to stay on board

He had his life raft ready, but decided to stay aboard Spirit, which was holding out.

He was planning to wait for daylight, since he could not see the coast. There were no conditions to safely use the life raft or go out on the sea-beaten rocks.

At 04:10 UTC the Las Palmas MRCC informed Race Control that first responders were on the beach, 50 meters from the stranded boat. At 04:36 UTC Guy finally left the boat on foot, assisted by local police and firefighters. A Spanish government tugboat had been alerted and was on its way to the accident site. Guy was taken to a local hotel without injury.

It is not easy to recover the boat without doing damage

After early morning government assessment, it was deemed too difficult to tow Spirit offshore. Authorities decided to pump all the fuel from the vessel to avoid a potential spill and are now working with Guy DeBoer’s team and an insurance company to salvage the Tashiba 36 with as little environmental impact as possible. The area is a popular place for tourists to surf.

“Today (Monday, ed.) I will be meeting with a major salvage company to assess the best course of action, which at this point seems to be to drag the boat on the flatter, more regular rocks, away from the fragile reefs.” Guy deBoer said, “She has an incredibly strong and thick hull, so she should be able to take the hit! So far she has taken a good beating and the hull is fine. I hope to see her sail again, but we certainly can’t leave her there.”

How the regatta is going

Meanwhile, the regatta continues. Simon Curwen on his Biscay 36 Clara is in the lead after passing the Canary Islands. Also among the problems to report is that of Pat Lawless, currently in third place; he has a knee infection, is running low on antibiotics, but is moving on.

You can follow the tracking of the regatta here






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