Knock down

Golden Globe sailor Mark Slats injured in rough seas.

16 October 2018


Dutch skipper Mark Slats alerted Golden Globe Race HQ that his yacht  suffered two knock-downs in quick succession and that he had been hit by a toolbox flying across the cabin which may have resulted in him sustaining a cracked rib.

The tough Dutchman was not too concerned about the injury, but more about the sudden change in conditions. He reported that the winds had suddenly picked up to 30-35knots and that a 3 metre southerly swell was hitting Ophen Maverick on the beam. Race HQ is monitoring the situation.

Mark Slats, currently in the Southern Indian Ocean, gave an update to Race HQ.

“The last 14-15 days have been the heaviest so far. Everyone thinks that the storms are heavy, but the calms are much heavier. Its much more work. It all started just around 30 September; the wind left but there was still a lot of sea. After 3 days the sea was flatter, but when you sail with your spinnaker up you are busy day and night.


“Just before this, I went into the water to clean the bottom of my boat. I was surprised how many barnacles were attached to the bottom. First I scraped the boat with a filling knife, then with sandpaper before finishing with a scourer. I came out of the water like an ice cube and set up the spinnaker. I flew it for 100 hours. So I have not slept for 100 hours, just naps of fifteen minutes.

“It’s annoying. Fortunately, I make progress. I am not going that fast, but, I make an average of 5 knots. I sailed for 5 days close hauled.

Yesterday the wind turned to the East 5 knots, almost no wind, then to the North, then back to the West. For the first time in 15-16 days I’ve very good wind now. I don’t know for how long. I do have south wind now, I am sailing half wind. I do 5 knots; it’s super nice.

“A low-pressure system has passed over me. That gave a lot of rain last night; I was busy all night with jerry cans and buckets catching 70 litres of water. It’s nice to be able to drink just a little bit more. I even took the luxury this morning of brushing my teeth with fresh water – something I have not been able to do since the Atlantic.

“I do not look forward to the Hobart [film drop]. I would rather have just sailed through. It may sound strange, but I am here in my own world. It sounds very weird but it makes sense to just continue. But then I do not have a map of Hobart any more, so that will be exciting!”

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede continues to extend his lead over the 7 remaining Golden Globe Race yachts now stretched across 4,800 miles of the Southern Ocean. This last weekend saw the 73 year old Frenchman follow in the wake of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s yacht Suhaili 50 years ago by cutting inside Stewart Island on the southern tip of New Zealand to navigate through the treacherous Fouveaux Straight at night.

The short cut has gained him a further day advantage over second placed Dutchman Mark Slats.

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