Uku Randmaa claims 3rd podium place in Golden Globe Race

PPL PHOTO AGENCY – COPYRIGHT FREE for editorial use only PHOTO CREDIT: Jane Zhou/GGR/PPL Tel: +44(0)7768 395719 E.mail: web: ***2018 Golden Globe Race: Uku Randmaa, the 54-year old Estonian solo circumnavigator received a huge welcome on his return to Les Sables d’Olonne, France today to take 3rd place overall in the 2018 Golden Globe Race. He completed the 28,000 mile voyage in 254 days 18hrs and 40 minutes which includes a 65hr penalty for receiving private weather routing information from a Ham radio operator.

DAY 252 – Uku Randmaa claims 3rd podium place in Golden Globe Race

Dateline: 10/03/2019 Les Sables d’Olonne, France

Waiting for him at the dock were his wife Maibi and young twins, Thor and Orm, who were born shortly before his departure, together with the family of fellow circumnavigators who had kept each other going through good times and bad over the radio.

Winner, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, was one of the first to shake his hand followed by Dutchman Mark Slats, and two who were rescued in mid-ocean, Loïc Lepage and Susie Goodall. Uku Randmaa crossed the Les Sables d’Olonne finish line at 09:00 UTC today to secure third place in Golden Globe Race.

Thousands lined the river entrance to catch a glimpse of this quiet spoken 56-year-old Estonian solo circumnavigator and his boat.

Big seas at the finish. An hour before, Randmaa reported that a rain squall had created white-out conditions. He could not see further than the bows of his boat.

After almost 252 days at sea, all he had left in his larder was three packets of powdered soup, and he grabbed the pizza offered to him with both hands. The champagne was also something to savour, but before quaffing a drop himself, Uku thanked God for his safe return and poured some in the water, then thanked his boat One and All, sprinkling more on the mast and saved the biggest amount for his 2nd crew-mate, his Hydrovane self steering, before passing it round his fellow GGR skippers.

Talking about his diet, he said: “I think I must have lost at least 20kg. By Hobart, I knew I was going to run short of food so I divided up what I had left by two…and then I divided it by two more. I had two meals a day; a freeze dried dish and a cup of soup, but it has been very good for my health. If I did physical work, I got tired early, but it was not a major problem.

“The hardest part of the voyage was lack of wind. I was stuck in the St Helena high pressure system for more than a week. My biggest worry was keeping the boat in one piece. I was worried that if something broke I might not be able to finish the race.”

Another reflection on the voyage was the amount of rubbish in the oceans. “The biggest pollution – mainly plastic – was after rounding the Cape of Good Hope. There were streams of it in the ocean. At one time time I came across a door and on another occasion, a complete tree. If I had hit that, I think my steering would have broken.”

What did he enjoy most? “Oh, the Southern Ocean: the waves, the loneliness. The waves were amazing. I watched them for hours and every one was different.”

Barnacles were a continuous problem. “At Hobart, someone said ‘I have good and bad news for you Uku…The good news is that you could cut 10 days off your voyage time. The bad news is that you have to clean the bottom yourself!’.

“It was quite scary to see your boat from outside. The waters were round 6°C. I wore my survival suit but it was very buoyant so I had to put lines under the keel and pull myself down to scrape the hull.

“This was my biggest dream in life and I am very, very happy to have realised it…And for that, I have to thank my wife.”

Randmaa rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 5th place, and moved up to 3rd in the harsh conditions experienced in the South Indian Ocean that led to the rescue of three other competitors, Indian Abhilash Tomy, Irishman Gregor McGuckin and Frenchman Loïc Lepage. The Estonian was in 3rd place by the Hobart film stop and maintained this position to the finish despite a 72 hour penalty he received on January 20 for private routing information gained from a ham radio operator.

4th placed American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar is now within 950 miles of the finish and is expected to reach Les Sables d’Olonne on March 18-19.

Save the Date: GGR Prizegiving programme, April 22

The 2018 GGR prize giving in Les Sables d’Olonne is set for April 22 – the day that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston completed the first solo non-stop circumnavigation 50 years before.

The Easter Monday celebrations will include a Press Conference and one-to-one interview opportunities with the 2018 GGR skippers, an announcement and introduction to skippers entering the next GGR in 2022, and publication of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s eagerly awaited independent report on lessons learned in heavy weather and survival techniques employed by skippers during the 2018 Race.

There will also be opportunities to sail aboard Bernard Moitessier’s famous 1968/9 Golden Globe Race yacht Joshua throughout the weekend from Port Olona on 20/21/22 April, organised by the Friends of the Maritime Museum of La Rochelle.

So why not plan to celebrate the Easter Weekend in Les Sables d’Olonne!

Relative position of Istvan Kopar in the  North Atlantic at 04:00 UTC today

Position of skippers at 04:00 UTC 11.03.19

Skipper Distance  to finish VMG during last 24 hours Approx. distance behind leader 
1 Jean- Luc VDH (FRA)
Rustler 36 Matmut
Finished 0 knots  211d  23h 12m 19s
2 Mark Slats (NED)
Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick
Finished 0 knots 216d 00h 18m 30s   Inc. 36h penalty
3 Uku Randmaa (EST) Rustler 36 One and All   Finished 0 knots 254d 18h 40m 00s      Inc. 72h penalty
4 Istvan Kopar (USA)Tradewind 35 Puffin  950  4.9 knots 0
5 Robin Knox-Johnston (GBR) Suhaili virtual race position in 1969 (9th March) 4353  2.0 knots 3403
5 Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria 4821 0.3 knots 3871

Chichester Class

Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda – stopped in Albany, W Australia

Retired  254 days 18hrs and 40 minutes.

Ertan Beskardes (GBR) Rustler 36 Lazy Otter
Kevin Farebrother (AUS) Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha
Nabil Amra (PAL) Biscay 36 Liberty II
Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB
Antoine Cousot (FRA) Biscay 36 Métier Intérim
Are Wiig (NOR) OE32 Olleanna
Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya
Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
Francesco Cappelletti (ITA) Endurance 35 007
Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland
Susie Goodall (GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight
Mark Sinclair (AUS) Lello 34 Coconut

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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