At 1406hrs today (Friday local time), Australian Mark Sinclair crossed the famous Nouch Sud cardinal buoy off Les Sables d’Olonne in France, ending a 174-day solitary voyage at sea with some preparation for the Golden Globe Race starting 4th September, still ahead of him.
Short on water, plagued by a barnacle invasion, Sinclair, who had a tough 2018 Golden Globe Race, had chosen to stop half way around the world in his home port of Adelaide South Australia as Christmas approached.
He then entered the 2022 Golden Globe Race, so resumed his journey three years later on 5th December, 2021 in order to return to the starting point. Sinclair therefore becomes the last competitor to finish the GGR 2018, and first in the Chichester Class (one stop-over only), the GGR 2018 edition not having a time limit!
After sailing up the mythical channel of Les Sables d’Olonne, Sinclair moored Coconut at the Vendée Globe pontoon at 15:30 hours. He was welcomed by Yannick Moreau, the Mayor of Les Sables-d’Olonne, Don McIntyre, founder of the Golden Globe Race, and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, winner of the 2018 GGR.
The people of Les Sables d’Olonne, who are currently celebrating the Vendée Va’a, came in large numbers to show their admiration and give a warm welcome to the Australian sailor.
“The people of Les Sables are always proud and happy when a great sailor returns to Port Olona. Welcome Captain Coconut,” the Mayor said to Sinclair.
“After 174 days at sea with no electronics, he is joining the training pontoons of the world’s longest sporting event. It takes a lot of courage and panache to go on one Adventure after another and to embark on another old-fashioned circumnavigation of the globe.
“The GGR 2022 has many surprises in store for us and promises to keep us on our toes as the competitors are so motivated to enter the legend.” the Mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne said.
After weathering four successive storms in February while rounding Cape Horn, Sinclair, an oceanographer and former Australian Navy Captain, thought he had done the hardest part. However, he ended up in a very deep low-pressure system in mid-May before entering the Bay of Biscay, being knocked down twice, damaging his forestay, inner forestay and his last satellite phone.
To spice-up his finish, Mark had run out of cooked meals and toilet paper for days! On crossing the finish line, Don McIntyre gave him with a special ‘round the world’ menu from La Mie Câline, partner of local circumnavigator Arnaud Boissière.
Since leaving Les Sables D’Olonne in July 2018, Mark has spent a total of 332 days at sea to complete his circumnavigation. He has exactly 100 days left to recover from his half circumnavigation to repair Coconut before the start of the GGR 2022.
Les Sables-d’Olonne, city of the Vendée Globe and Adventure capital, will be hosting the Golden Globe Race village from 20th August 2022. The start is on 4th September, in the heart of one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
Last March, 11 of 23 skippers, representing 8 of the 13 nationalities taking part in the race, came to Les Sables-d’Olonne for their preparation and that of their boat, in accordance with the Notice of Race. It makes Port Olona the preparation base for the longest and loneliest sporting event in the world.
Entrants to date:
- Abhilash Tomy (43)/India/Rustler 36
- Aleix Selles Vidal (34)/Spain/Rustler 36
- Arnaud Gaist (50)/France/Barbican 33 MKII (long keel version)
- Damien Guillou (39)/France/Rustler 36
- David Scott Cowper (80)/UK/Tradewind 35
- Edward Walentynowicz (68)/Canada/Rustler 36
- Elliott Smith (27)/USA/ Gale Force 34
- Ertan Beskardes (60) /UK/ Rustler 36
- Gaurav Shinde (35) /Canada/ Baba 35
- Graham Dalton (68)/New Zealand/Rustler 36
- Guido Cantini (53)/Italy/Vancouver 34
- Guy deBoer (66) /USA/ Tashiba 36
- Guy Waites (54) /UK/Tradewind 35
- Ian Herbert Jones (52)/UK/Tradewind 35
- Jeremy Bagshaw (59)/South Africa/OE32
- Kirsten Neuschäfer (39)/South Africa/Cape George 36
- Mark Sinclair (63)/Australia/Lello 34
- Matthew Wright (52)/Australia/Rustler 36
- Michael Guggenberger (44)/Austria /Biscay 36
- Pat Lawless (66)/Ireland/Saga 36
- Robin Davie (70)/UK/ Rustler 36
- Simon Curwen (63)/UK/ Biscay 36
- Tapio Lehtinen (64)/Finland/Gaia 36 Masthead sloop