Third placed Estonian skipper Uku Randmaa has received a 72 hour penalty for weather routing violation.
Randmaa has escaped disqualification from the Golden Globe race after breaching the strict rules forbidding outside assistance, but has been handed a 72-hour penalty for asking and receiving weather routing information during radio contact with a Ham radio operator.
A 16-minute recording of the radio communication was received at Race HQ yesterday (19 February).
The first five minutes covers a legitimate publicly available weather information, but at -9:15, Randmaa asks: “I have a question . . . How can I say it . . . I’m heading 90°. Can I be sure that I can take the wind if I’m sailing east?”
Ham operator: If you go directly east you will be staying in the light area. You need to continue North and then you will catch the westerly winds. I don’t know if I can tell you that, but I think you need to go at least to 28°North and then maybe start going Northeast.
Randmaa: Ok, but I can’t do that . . . the wind is coming exactly from 35° and 25°
Ham Operator: If you go too far east . . . I will have a look . . . I can’t give you too much information. It might make you get disqualified and I don’t want to do that. The wind is at a 45° angle…and so is the wind hole.
Randmaa: So I have to move north west again?
Ham operator: Definitely. Not too much east at the moment.
GGR skippers are restricted to using a sextant, paper charts and wind-up chronometers just as Sir Robin Knox-Johnston used in the first Sunday Times Golden Globe Race 50 years ago.
All digital equipment is banned, including sat phones and GPS. Skippers can only communicate via Single Side Band (SSB) radios and amateur Ham radio net, which the whole world can listen in to if they wish.
But the skippers know that while they can ask for public weather information, weather routing – given directions on where to go – is strictly banned.
Randmaa served part of this penalty at sea overnight, but following a plea for mitigation on the grounds that he has very little food left for the final 2,000 miles to the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne, the Race Committee has agreed that he can continue racing and the remainder of his penalty time – 65hrs 40 minutes – will be added to his finish time.
Uku caught another Marlin last weekend, which will have given him 3 days nourishment, but his basic stocks onboard now consist of:
60 spoons of rice,
20 packets of dried soup,
23 freeze dried meals,
15 tea bags
Four spoons of sugar
The latest ETA for Uku’s return to Les Sables d’Olonne is now March 13, so this has to last him 21 days!
Golden Globe Race Leaderboard – 20 Feb 17:00 hrs – DTF
1st Jean-Luc Van Den Heede FRA – Finished
2nd Mark Slats NED – Finished
3rd Uku Randmaa EST – 2018 NM
4th Istvan Kopar USA – 2427 NM
5th Tapio Lehtinen FIN – 5729 NM