South African skipper Jeremy Bagshaw has finished the 2022 Golden Globe Race after weeks of punishing north-easterly winds and a broken forestay left him crawling towards the finish line
Not only has he sailed through more storms than any other entrant, but weeks of north-easterly headwinds winds coupled with the failure of a forestay at the bow chain plate when sailing back up the Bay of Biscay meant he had a painfully slow run into Les Sables d’Olonne.
Just days before crossing the finish line, he tweeted: “Today is the 18th consecutive day of sailing close-hauled! #sailingwith frustration. But it’s better than no wind at all.”
Although there was evidence that the South African skipper’s humour was still intact! “Time seems to slow nearer the finish, like on Xmas eve when we were kids!”
And his determination has certainly paid off. Jeremy Bagshaw finished the Golden Globe Race at 1633 UTC on 9 June, having spent 277 days at sea aboard his OE32, Olleanna.
One compensation for his slow finish is that his solo circumnavigation around the world was faster than Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s 312 days in the original Golden Globe Race.
But unlike Sir Robin, his race was made with one stop, which put him in the Golden Globe Race’s Chichester Class.
Fellow Chichester Class entrant, Simon Curwen was the first to cross the line in the race, hours ahead of the 2022 Golden Globe Race winner Kirsten Neuschafer.
Jeremy Bagshaw campaigned in the race aboard the OE32, Olleanna, which was the smallest boat in the 2022 Golden Globe Race fleet.
Bagshaw bought the long keel double ender and spent months refitting Olleanna, including installing a new Sparcraft mast, which had additional reinforcing and strengthening, oversize cockpit drains and reinforced points for clipping on.
He would later be thankful for these alterations, given the number of storms he sailed through during the race.
The worse was a Force 10 storm at 36° south just off the Brazilian coast while he was making his way back up the Atlantic.
A competitive racing sailor, he pushed towards the front half of the fleet on leaving Biscay at the start before dropping back slightly; he was the 10th entrant through the Lanzarote gate.
But he was soon fighting towards the front, moving up to 6th place having taken a western route around the Cape Verde islands.
However, from here Olleanna‘s progress slowed considerably; 2cm-long gooseneck barnacles now covered 70% of the hull.
Jeremy Bagshaw had painted his hull with Coppercoat antifouling ahead of the race. He managed to clear the barnacles from the hull but they were to return again and again.
He was the 8th skipper through the Cape Town gate, before he moored at Simon’s Town in False Bay to remove the crustaceans. Under race rules, competitors are allowed to moor or anchor if needed, but are not allowed to receive any outside physical assistance.
At the time, he feared the barnacles would return, telling Yachting Monthly that he would be ‘devastated’ if they did.
He believed he picked up the crustaceans while sailing through the Cape Verdes.
‘I was absolutely mortified by the coverage, and the extent and the depth of barnacles,’ he said.
And return they did.
By the time Jeremy Bagshaw reached Hobart, he had no option but to haul out Olleanna; he did not have enough food or water onboard to continue sailing in the race at such slow speeds.
This put him in the Chichester Class for entrants who make one stop in the 2022 Golden Globe Race.
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With the Coppercoat antifoul abraided, and fresh supples onboard, Jeremy Bagshaw resumed racing, determined to complete a solo circumnavigation of the world.
Olleanna was also performing ‘better than ever’, with the boat reaching speeds of 8-10 knots in favourable wind.
Despite several Pacific storms – one which ripped away the boat’s sprayhood during a knockdown – Jeremy Bagshaw rounded Cape Horn on 15 March 2023, the 5th of the race skippers to sail pass the milestone.
‘I’ve had pretty rough weather on the way down. I lost my inflatable danbuoy, a wave broke my dodger, my external sat phone antenna and the wooden vane of my windvane. Unfortunately it was squally, rainy and cloudy at the horn so I did not see much. The weather lifted for 10 minutes so I could just see the lights. Earlier in the day I could see Hermite Island for an hour. I am now looking forward to being at 34 south, my favourite latitude, the one of Cape Town and Punta del Este,’ he said on sailing past Cape Horn.
Jeremy Bagshaw continued up the Atlantic, riding out more foul weather at 45°S, which he described as ‘dreadful’.
‘It was a miserable, malicious and spiteful sea, smashing over the transom, not big, just over 4 metre but incredibly powerful,’ he noted.
By early May, he was just over 1,000 miles from the finish.
Weeks later, he contacted Golden Globe Race HQ to report the failure of his forestay at the bow chain plate. He removed the furling drum from the forestay and took all of his duplicated spinnaker and jib halyards to the bow to secure the mast.
Eager to preserve the mast until the finish, Jeremy Bagshaw decided to sail more cautiously under mainsail and staysail, a strategy which was severely hampered by weeks of north-easterly winds, making progress painfully slow.
He also reported that he was running low on water, and resorted to drinking canned vegetable juice. The South African skipper also ran out of food the night before his arrival.
It took him hours to sail the last few miles to the finish due to a lack of wind; at one point, he was within 400m of the finish line but became becalmed. Olleanna then drifted 2.1nm away.
Read in depth interviews with all of the five finishers in the 2022 Golden Globe Race in the Summer 2023 issue of Yachting Monthly – out on 22 June 2023
Final positions of the Golden Globe Race 2022 skippers
Kirsten Neuschafer, (South Africa), Cape George 36 cutter, Minnehaha – FINISHED 1st
Abhilash Tomy, (India), Rustler 36, Bayanat – FINISHED 2nd
Michael Guggenberger, (Austria), Biscay 36, Nuri – FINISHED 3rd
Simon Curwen, (UK), Biscay 36, Clara – FINISHED 1st (Chichester Class)
Jeremy Bagshaw, (South Africa), OE32, Olleanna – FINISHED 2nd (Chichester Class)
Edward Walentynowicz, (Canada), Rustler 36, Noah’s Jest
Guy deBoer, (USA), Tashiba 36, Spirit
Mark Sinclair (Australia), Lello 34, Coconut
Pat Lawless, (Ireland), Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel
Damien Guillou, (France), Rustler 36, PRB
Ertan Beskardes, (UK), Rustler 36, Lazy Otter
Tapio Lehtinen, (Finland), Gaia 36, Asteria
Arnaud Gaist, (France), Barbican 33 Mk 2, Hermes Phoning
Elliot Smith, (USA), Gale Force 34, Second Wind
Guy Waites (UK), Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha
Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Tradewind 35, Puffin
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