Tapio Lehtinen’s boat sank early this morning southeast of South Africa while racing the Golden Globe Race, a faithfully low-tech reproduction of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe. The boat went down quickly and stern-first according to the skipper’s emergency transmissions.
Lehtinen’s EPIRB was set off manually from the life raft and despite initial difficulty contacting the skipper, race directors have now exchanged several messages with him. Lehtinen wrote, “I GAVE ASTERIA A LAST SALUTE STANDING IN THE RAFT AS SHE WENT DOWN.” He indicated that he was safe and in a survival suit, but missing his glasses, making communicating via text difficult.
Two comparatively nearby competitors, Abhilash Tomy and Kirsten Neuschäfer, had initially diverted to assist with the search for his liferaft. At press time Tomy has been released to continue racing and a freighter is diverting to assist Neuschäfer. Rescue efforts are not expected to reach Lehtinen’s location until tomorrow morning.
This is an evolving situation. For the most up to date information on this situation, check the Golden Globe Race’s social media or its website, goldengloberace.com.