The world’s most powerful force in its true nature, the ocean, is to be explored starting in July when 19 sailors start their 30,000-mile long journey.
Wärtsilä is partnering with Mr Tapio Lehtinen as he participates into the historic Golden Globe Race 2018-2019. The partnership is closely linked with Wärtsilä’s global nature and presence of Wärtsilä’s business and our commitment to clean environment.
Tapio, 60, is a life-long sailor and has been sailing since his childhood, taking part in various prestigious competitions during the years. He is also the father of two Finnish Olympic sailors Silja Frost and Lauri Lehtinen, so sailing really does run in his family’s blood. The Golden Globe Race starts from Les Sables-d’Olonne, France on 1 July 2018 and is expected to last around 300 days. The sailors sail solo, non-stop, without outside assistance and return to Les Sables-d’Olonne in April 2019.
As one might conclude, this race is not for anyone. Entrants must show prior ocean sailing experience of at least 8,000 miles and another 2,000 miles solo. Tapio Lehtinen for sure knows his ways around the oceans. He has sailing experience since starting in Optimist dinghies at the age of six, moving to Lasers, 470s and 29ers and more. During his three-decade-long racing history, he has competed in the 1981/2 Whitbread Round the World Race, in 1985 Two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race, the 2-STAR transatlantic race 1986, the Azores and Back race in 1987 and the 2014 Bermuda Race.
“I am very happy that Wärtsilä is partnering with me and supporting me in the race as their values are very close to my own. I will most definitely need all the energy and excellence available to succeed and I am extremely excited about the start date getting closer,” Tapio says about the partnership and continues about his relationship with the sea: “I am participating because I love sailing, I enjoy being at sea. I take pride in preparing well and sailing in a seamanlike way while acknowledging the risks related to a race like this. Sustainability and cleaner oceans have always been close to my heart and by sailing around the world, I can really highlight these important issues on a global scale.”
Back to the Golden Age of solo sailing
In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this 50 Anniversary Edition of the Golden Globe Race travels back to a time known as the ‘Golden Age’ of solo sailing without modern technology or satellite-based navigational aids around the world. The entrants will use only the same type or similar equipment and technology that was carried on board Robin Knox-Johnston’s 1968/69 race winning yacht Suhaili. They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand-write their logs and determine the weather for themselves. Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow.
Safety is, of course, a focus. There is a sealed portable GPS chart plotter available, the race organizers get boats’ location information every six hours, emergency locators are available, the first aid is practised beforehand, the medicine surplus is packed to last for a year. In addition to the psychical training, a doctor’s inspection meeting top athlete requirements are done.
The future of the seas
Wärtsilä has a long heritage in the marine industry. Throughout the years we have provided solutions for the global trade moving on seas. In only five decades the industry has changed tremendously and we are at the forefront of creating technologies to reshape the direction for the next decades. With this legendary race, there is an opportunity to pay global attention to the importance of developing marine ecosystems that can develop long-lasting, sustainable solutions for future-proof marine industry.
“The future of the seas is our common responsibility. With this project, Wärtsilä wants to highlight the importance of a clean maritime environment with Tapio as our ambassador along the Golden Globe Race. This circumvention of the globe is also a great adventure and test of true seamanship, well aligned with Wärtsilä’s values of energy, excellence, and excitement,” says Atte Palomäki, Wärtsilä’s EVP of Communications and Branding.
Tapio held his official press conference in Helsinki 25 May, where Wärtsilä’s representatives and all his other sponsors gathered together in front of Finnish media, together with Tapio to hear his latest thoughts about the race and to see his boat, all ready for the exciting race. Wärtsilä will be reporting on Tapio’s progress both on our website and social media throughout the race.