Help Puffin to Race the World

I have been chosen as one of 30 of the world’s most elite sailors to take part in the 2018 Golden Globe Race, “The Ultimate Circumnavigation Race.” It will be the most brutal sailing race of our time, surpassing even the legendary Vendée Globe, and is certain to capture the attention and fascination of followers from around the world. I will be sailing alone nonstop around the globe, rounding the 5 Southernmost Capes. All competitors will face unparalleled hardships, with no modern technology or outside assistance allowed—no GPS, satellite communications, or radar. It will be a competition testing true seamanship and human endurance among the elements.

However, I need your help.

The goal of my lifetime is to complete a solo, nonstop circumnavigation. I am fortunate to have family members who have already made tremendous sacrifices to support my dream. I am especially blessed with my wife, who decided to sell our house to help make it possible.

The most important objective now is to get my boat Puffin to the starting line on July 1. Over the last three years, I have transformed this neglected old family daysailer to a reinforced tank capable of withstanding the brutal conditions of the Southern Ocean.

Restoring an old boat is both expensive and labor-intensive, and I have not yet landed financial sponsors. Even after hundreds of hours of manual labor--with funding provided by donations and the profits from selling our home--I have not been able to keep pace with my original plans.

My remaining expenses will total approximately $100,000.00:

Liferaft—Viking RescueYou: $3,200.00
Survival Suit—Mustang Ice Commander Pro: $1,305.00
Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB)—McMurdo Plus: $1,079.00
Medical Supplies: $1,500.00
Flares (offshore): $595.00
Abandon Ship Kit—Landfall Navigation: $2,699.00
Radar Reflector: $229.00
Solar Panels—Solbian: $3,250.00
Wind Generator—Superwind 350: $2,500.00
Electrical System Upgrade (Technical labor and smart battery switch): $3,500.00
Single Sideband Radio Communications System: $6,500.00
Ocean Drysuit—Musto: $1,625.00
Ocean Racing Apparel: $2,500.00
Provisions—$30/day for 1 year: $10,800.00
Insurance for the race: $12,000.00
New sails: $12,500.00
Team Travel Expenses: $10,000.00
Local charges in UK and France: $10,000.00
Entry Fee: $22,000.00

I bought my GGR yacht, Puffin, in 2015. Puffin is a full-keeled Tradewind 35’, built in the UK in 1986. She was named by her original owner, John F. Nally. When John purchased Puffin, he and his son Matthew sailed her home across the Atlantic and used her exclusively on Lake Champlain thereafter.

After John passed away, Puffin sat on dry land in a boatyard for a decade. By 2015, the yacht’s condition reflected her long abandonment. John’s widow Johanna very graciously accepted my relatively low offer for the boat. In return I promised to keep the original name, and to provide Puffin the second life carrying on John’s legacy of adventure.

About the Golden Globe Race

In 1968, some of the world’s most adventurous sailors set out on the first Golden Globe Race. Ten months later, Robin Knox-Johnston emerged victorious, becoming the first person in history to complete a solo, nonstop circumnavigation of the globe.
Much has changed in the past fifty years, and today many sailors yearn for a time when a circumnavigation race could be so raw and elemental. Don McIntyre, the organizer of the 2018 GGR, seeks to recapture the thrill and purity of this bygone era. Not only will all competitors have to sail solo around the world without stopping, but they will also only be allowed to use the same type of technology that was available to Knox-Johnston in 1968. Yachts must be full-keeled, 32’-36’ in length, and one of a few approved models designed prior to 1988. In the modern sailing era of composite materials and satellite navigation, it is possible to race around the world in less than three months. With our restrictions, it will take about ten months.

About me

I was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953. Despite growing up in a landlocked country behind the Iron Curtain, I was determined from a young age to be a sailor and a circumnavigator. I have worked as a naval officer, sailing racer, and instructor. I started my own marina/charter operation and sailing school in Europe in the 1980s. After Hungary’s ruling Communist Party destroyed my business, I found myself at a personal crossroads. It was time to make my childhood dream a reality.

My solo one-stop circumnavigation around the globe (1990-1991) remains my proudest sailing accomplishment to date. I built my own boat for the voyage, Salammbo. Due to my shoestring budget, I sailed without GPS, autopilot, radar, a water-maker, or any heating device. I was forced to rely on the use of a sextant and manual plotting for determining my course, and upon Morse code for weather forecasts. My first book, Kihivas (“The Challenge”), details my adventures on this voyage.

In 1997 I completed my second circumnavigation, winning a fully-crewed around-the-world race known as the Hong Kong Challenge. My first two adventures sailing around the world each had their own unique characteristics—the first was solo with only one stop along the way, while the second was a race with a full crew onboard. What sailing challenge was left to tackle?

There is a certain bittersweet quality to fulfilling your childhood dream—sweet for the accomplishment of a once far-fetched goal, but bitter because achieving it made me essentially dreamless. That is until I realized that there was a feat so farfetched that perhaps I had never dared to dream it...

My craziest, ultimate dream-of-dreams, the aspiration so seemingly delusional that I had never even considered it in my wildest childhood fantasies: to sail solo AND nonstop around the world.

And you can be part of it...

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Organizer and beneficiary

Istvan Kopar 
Boca Raton, FL
Istvan Kopar