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Golden Globe Race 2018 – USWM Sponsors Solo Circumnavigator Istvan Kopar

Istvan Kopar, kihivas, golden globe race

Golden Globe Race Updates

3/21/2019: After 263 days on the world’s oceans, Istvan Kopar sails into Les Sables d’Olonne, France, finishing the Golden Globe Race. Whoo Hoo! Congratulations Istvan! What an amazing accomplishment. See the press conference and race finish footage below:



Check back for updates and tracking as these brave sailors circumnavigate the globe.

GGR Livetracker

Puffin Tracker

6/25/2018: Entrants are assembled in Les Sables d’Olonne, France awaiting the start of the Golden Globe Race on July 1st.

7/01/2018: Seventeen mariners set out on their 30,000 mile journey to circumnavigate the globe. Here’s the route they’ll take: Golden Globe Race Route

7/17/2018: Over two weeks into the race and the crowd is thinning. Reports have come in from some sailors that they are having difficulties navigating through overcast weather conditions. The physical and mental demands of piloting solo are beginning to take a toll on sailors. Istvan has reported having some difficulties with night time steering mechanisms making sleep-time a dwindling and precious commodity.

7/26/2018: The Golden Globe Race is down to 12 competitors from the original 18. At least two sailors have had steering problems. Istvan Kopar had steering issues that required a stop in the Cape Verde Islands. He and Antoine Cousot have been dropped to the Chichester Class for those who have made one stop. Phillipe Peche is the current leader for the Golden Globe.

UPDATE: After a rules review, Istvan Kopar has been re-instated to the Golden Globe Class. He is still having steering issues due to a mechanical issue. Istvan anchored briefly in Cape Verde to have it replaced, but was unable to get the parts (wind vane) needed. Rules committee allowed him back in the GGR class since he received no outside assistance and no material advantage. He was docked 24-hours of racing time for the use of an emergency call on SAT phone & anchoring in Cape Verde port.

8/9/2018: Competition is heating up out on the seas. Many of the pilots have reported mechanical difficulties that offer up special challenges on top of the punishing rigors of sailing solo.

Istvan Kopar has moved into 9th place in the Golden Globe Race and making steady progress toward the southern tip of Africa. Istvan is facing some new difficulties with Puffin. He’s taking on water from a hole in the bow that fills his crash compartment every two days. See the news feed for more.

8/21/2018: Istvan was able to repair the leak in the bow of Puffin and it seems to be sealed satisfactorily and holding. He’s keeping up his energy with USWM protein onboard in the form of Pemmican. While night time temperatures continue to get colder, Istvan’s spirits were high and sailing is going well.

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is the leader in the Golden Globe class and is approaching the Cape of Good Hope near the southern tip of Africa.

Phillippe Peche is the leader in the Chichester class

There are still 12 sailors remaining in the Golden Globe Race.

9/4/2018: Many of the competitors are beginning to show signs of isolation as they reflect on many different thoughts and experiences. Listen in to the radio briefings for more. They’ve also been hard at work navigating through some nasty storms as they make their way around the tip of Africa. Istvan has experienced some more difficulty with his steering but was upbeat at having recently been close enough to a fellow sailor to communicate. Istvan is currently in 9th place in the GGR.

9/18/2018: The pack of sailors has spread out a bit with Jean-Luc Van Den Heede opening up a significant lead as the current #1 in GGR. Many of the sailors have dealt with strong winds, lightning and storms in the last couple of weeks. Some have had to repair/replace masts and sails but continue to forge ahead. Istvan Kopar has moved up to 7th place in the GGR standings chasing Susie Goodall.

10/02/2018: Challenging weather and mechanical issues have dwindled the number of sailors in the Golden Globe Race down to eight. Jean-Luc van den Heede is still leading the pack by a considerable distance. Istvan Kopar is currently in 6th place holding steady. On 10/26/18, GGR Headquarters requested Istvan assist fellow solo circumnavigator Kjell Litwin. Litwin, sailing in Selene, had lost fresh water and Istvan was dispatched to share.

10/15/2018: Day 106 has Jean-Luc Van Den Heede continuing his dominance over the remaining field of competitors, opening up a 2,000 mile lead over second place pilot, Mark Slats. The 73 year old Frenchman front runner has taken a short cut through some treacherous seas, cutting inside Stewart Island on the southern tip of New Zealand to navigate through Fouveaux Straight at night. Slats was injured during some rough seas when a toolbox was sent flying across the deck. He may have cracked or broken ribs but seems in good spirits. Our own Istvan Kopar has moved into 5th place and is chasing Britain’s Susie Goodall for 4th place. Istvan has dealt with his own challenges over the last several weeks as most have. His boat capsized in rough seas, he’s met with a rogue wave, storms, seeping water, and a steering mechanism failure just to name a few but he continues to forge ahead. Istvan’s latest communication can be found here.

10/30/2018: Day 121 is approximately 4 months into the race with Jean-Luc Van Den Heede still leading by a comfortable margin. Storms rolled through the area between New Zealand and Tasmania last week leaving some struggling to stay afloat. Susie Goodall, pilot of the DHL Starlight, faced these same storms but made it through and is expected to arrive at the Hobart Film Gate sometime Oct. 30th. Another pestering problem seems to be with the accumulation of barnacles. It’s estimated that barnacles slow the boats down between 0.5 to 1 knot every hour. That translates into serious time loss when spread out over weeks and months. Some of the sailors have braved the chilly waters (11 deg C) to scrape barnacles from the hull, but it’s risky business. Barnacles are stubborn making it a rigorous chore. Istvan Kopar is sailing in 5th place behind Susie Goodall. He was photographed by a nearby French Navy ship as he sailed in the Southern Ocean.

11/13/2018: GGR leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede met with stormy weather that left him with a damaged mast. Jean-Luc considered heading toward Chile for repairs which would have disqualified him for the GGR and re-classified him in the Chichester Class. However, he decided to continue and make repairs on his own at sea. He was penalized 18 hrs for improper use of the satellite phone during this time, but he is still leading the race. The latest radio transmission from Istvan Kopar has him happy to be past the halfway point. He was the 5th pilot through the checkpoint at Hobart Gateway following behind Susie Goodall, Uku Randmaa, Mark Slats and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede.

11/27/2018: The race is tightening a bit as 2nd place pilot, Mark Slats is gaining on the leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede. Istvan Kopar is running on shear determination at this point as he’s developed problems with his steering linkages. Steering issues have continued to be an challenge for Istvan, but this most recent breakdown has left him basically adrift. He’s working to find a solution but current speed of around 2 knots will make it hard to catch the leaders. Istvan is also low on water supplies so he has plenty to be concerned with. The leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede has rounded the South American tip and has turned the boat north toward the finish line and at this rate is estimated to finish the race by mid-January 2019. Cape Horn has been known throughout history as a treacherous stretch of sea.

12/4/2018: Istvan has had to improvise on his steering repairs. The bearings in his steering have worn out but he’s been able to make due with what he has. The winds have died making the approach to Cape Horn slow going. Istvan is low on water with only 10 liters left along with a 6-pack of beer and some gatorade. He’s hoping for a good rain shower to restock his reserves. Istvan gave US Wellness Meats a shout out for the pemmican that is sustaining him during this rigorous race. Jean-Luc Van Den Heede continues to lead the race by a significant margin with Mark Slats in 2nd. The rest of the pack are approaching Cape Horn for the turn North.

12/11/2018: Fourth place Golden Globe Race pilot, Susie Goodall was dismasted and capsized during a particularly nasty storm last week. Susie’s boat was tossed around severely during the storm and she was fortunate to come away with her life. A cargo ship, the MV Tian Fu came to her rescue and lifted her from her disabled boat. Susie’s boat will continue to fill with water until it sinks to the bottom of the Pacific, but she is safe and sound aboard the Tian Fu. Istvan Kopar has engineered a homemade bearing for his steering and it seems to be holding up well as he continues to make headway toward Cape Horn. He continues to hope and pray for rain as his fresh water supplies are pretty much depleted. Mark Slats and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede continue to lead the race heading north back to France. 7th Place, Igor Zaretskiy has landed in Western Australia due to an infestation of barnacles that was slowing his boat down to a crawl. Other sailors are experiencing similar barnacle troubles which slow the vessels down considerably.

12/24/2018: Istvan sailed through some very nasty storms this last week. The GGR race directors encouraged him to head south to get out of the storm’s path. He was able to avoid the worst of the storm but still faced some rough seas and high winds. Istvan was fortunate to gather some much needed fresh water from the rains so his stocks are good for now. The weather has cleared for Istvan as he makes the run to the Horn. Igor Zaretskiy, who parked in Southern Australia to remove barnacles, had to seek medical attention due to health concerns from the race. He still hopes to finish the race in the Chichester Class. Mark Sinclair exited the race and stayed in Adelaide, Australia. Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is still the front runner with Mark Slats closing the gap.

01/07/2019: While frontrunners, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and Mark Slats continue to race toward the finish line, Istvan Kopar has overcome numerous challenges and rounded the Horn, making his way north toward France. It was a perfect start to a new year as he made it on New Year’s Day. He becomes the 4th sailor out of 17 who started the race to make it around the southern tip of South America. Much of the turn around the Horn was with little sleep due to weather conditions forcing him to stay on alert. A strong breeze had him making good time as he started the journey north. He estimated in his weekly call that he may have been doing 10 knots at one time. Third place sailor, Uku Randmaa finds himself trying to outrun a nasty South Atlantic storm.

01/24/2019: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is within 525 nautical miles of the finish line and 2nd Place pilot, Mark Slats is hot on his tail. Jean-Luc is expecting rough weather in his approach to France but he’s expected to finish the race next week so check the livetracker to keep an eye on their progress. Recent storms have continued to pester Istvan as he continues his push North in Puffin. The good news is after 4 days of thunder and lightning, and wind and waves from every direction, the weather broke and conditions have improved drastically. Istvan was able to catch around 50 liters of fresh water. He’s still have difficulty with steering and antennas. Getting through this last batch of storms has his spirits up. Two sailors are set to finish the race any day now along with more on the way.

02/04/2019: It’s official…73 old, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede won the Golden Globe Race on the 29th of January, after 211 days, 23 hours, 12 minutes and 19 s! That’s quite an achievement, sailing a total of 28,175 nautical miles. Close behind Jean-Luc was Mark Slats who finished in 2nd place on January 31st. A celebration took place in Les Sables d’Olonne, France welcoming back the sailors. Of the 17 original sailors who set out on July 1, 2018, there remains only three in the race after Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and Mark Slats finished. Uku Randmaa is currently the leader as he approaches France. Uku has approximately 3,150 nautical miles to sail. The race for 3rd place continues to tighten. Our own Istvan Kopar is making good headway running at around 6 knots while continuing the journey north to France. Istvan has approximately 3,607 nautical miles left in the race and is within 500 miles of Uku. Istvan is in the midst of some very warm weather and sailed through another storm last week. The rains that followed allowed him to stock up on fresh water…collecting another 20 liters. Tapio Lehtinen is approaching Cape Horn and will soon make the turn around the horn heading north. What an incredible race of endurance this continues to be. Congratulations to Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and Mark Slats! We continue to cheer on the remaining sailors.

02/26/2019: Calm winds have slowed Istvan’s progress over the last week. He’s having to treat his steering very cautiously as it’s rigged together using only miscellaneous parts from the boat. Istvan has traveled thousands of miles with his re-engineered steering mechanism. He is traveling NNW to try and catch more winds before he can make the turn toward France. Uku Randmaa remains in 3rd place and leads Istvan by approximately 850 nautical miles. Uku is only 1317 nautical miles to the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne. We continue to cheer on these intrepid sailors as they finish up what has been a grueling 30,000 mile race beginning July 1, 2018. Their spirits remain high as they muster the strength to push toward the finish line.

03/12/2019: One more sailor has finished the race! Uku Randmaa sailed into port at Les Sables d’Olonne, France on March 10, 2019. Uku sailed 254 days, 7 hours, 50 minutes and 5 seconds. Congratulations to Uku! Istvan Kopar is sailing toward the finish line, making good progress after calm winds over the last week have given way to better winds. The calm winds work well for Istvan’s cobbled steering mechanism but it doesn’t allow for much progress. Istvan continues to be in good spirits despite the constant stress and challenges.



USWM is pleased to partner with Solo Circumnavigator, Istvan Kopar in the 2018 Golden Globe Race.


puffin, istvan kopar


What Is The Golden Globe Race (G.G.R.)

The Golden Globe Race is a ‘retro’ race to solo circumnavigate the globe by sailing vessel using pre-1968 technology. The rules are relatively simple hearkening back to the ‘golden age’ of solo sailing. Entrants are required to use boats between 32ft and 36ft in length, designed prior to 1988 and must have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. Navigating is done without the use of modern electronic equipment like gps or autopilots.

This marks the 50th Anniversary of the initial 1968/69 Golden Globe Race. The original “Sunday Times” Golden Globe Race was won by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who piloted his 32ft yacht, “Suhaili” to victory. In that first race to circumnavigate the globe, nine men began the solo run and only one finished.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston finished the non-stop 1968/69 race in 312 days. It is estimated the winner of the 2018 race will finish in around 260 days. Throughout history, there are 200 known individuals who have sailed solo around Cape Horn and the other great capes in the Southern Ocean. In contrast, almost 700 astronauts have made the voyage into space.

The 2018 GGR will begin on July 1st, 2018. Entrants will depart Les Sables-d’Olonne, France and sail solo, non-stop around the world (without any outside assistance), via the five Great Capes and return to Les Sables-d’Olonne. The winning sailor will log approximately 30,000 miles.

Eighteen entrants representing 13 countries will begin the race. This is not an open invitation race. Sailors are invited based on their experience. The men and women in this year’s race will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without the use of gps, electronic instruments or autopilots.

Istvan Kopar Will Be Piloting “Puffin”

Istvan Kopar was born in Budapest, Hungary and became a naturalized US Citizen in 2000. He joined the merchant marines at the age of 17 determined to become a sailor and circumnavigator. Istvan has traveled the oceans of the world and visited over 100 countries. Istvan is a US Coast Guard licensed captain with many years of experience on the seas.


Istvan Kopar, Golden Globe Race, GGR


Istvan Kopar wrote his first book, Kihivas (“The Challenge”), detailing his first solo voyage around the world in 1990/91. He made the journey without use of GPS, autopilot, radar, a water-maker, or any heating device. He relied on his experience of the seas, a sextant for manual plotting to determine his course, and upon Morse code for weather forecasts.


Istvan Kopar, kihivas, golden globe race


In the 2018 race, Istvan will be piloting “Puffin”, a 35ft Tradewind class yacht. See his web site for more biographical information.


Istvan Kopar

The map image above indicates the sailing routes taken by Istvan Kopar.


US Wellness Meats Providing Nourishment For The Voyage

US Wellness Meats is proud to be offering our support of Istvan’s efforts to circumnavigate the globe. Approximately 375 lbs of Pemmican was delivered to the Puffin for this adventure. That amounts to 2,968 Pemmican bars. Istvan will also be carrying pouched salmon, canned sardines and mackerel from our friends at Vital Choice. Having limited space aboard requires careful planning and consideration. Since he is not bringing desalination equipment, Istvan will also need to bring along fresh water to supplement the rain water he will capture along the way.

Our prayers and best wishes go out to Istvan and the other adventurers who will be making this solo voyage.