Mark Sinclair, back to les Sables d'Olonne after 174 days at sea
At 1406hrs today, Friday the 27th, Captain Coconut Mark Sincliar (Australia) crossed the famous Nouch Sud cardinal buoy off Les Sables d'Olonne, France, ending a 174-day solitary voyage at sea.
Short on water, plagued by a barnacle invasion, the competitor in the 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 December 5th, 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, Mark Sinclair moored Coconut at the Vendée Globe pontoon at 15:30, welcomed by Yannick Moreau, 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, who after 174 days at sea with no electronics, 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." says Yannick Moreau, Mayor of Les Sables d'Olonne.
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, but ended up in a very deep low-pressure system 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 has run out of cooked meals and toilet paper for days! On crossing the finish line, Don McIntyre, President of the Golden Globe Race 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 and 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 will be given on September 4th, in the heart of one of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World.
Last March, 11 of the 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, making Port Olona the preparation base for the longest and loneliest sporting event in the world.