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Guy Waites of Scarborough Yacht Club completes shakedown voyage ahead of Golden Globe Race

by Chris Clark 29 May 2021 07:01 PDT 21 May 2021
Guy Waites returns to Scarborough after difficult voyage from Panama © Kay Jackson

Guy Waites and yacht Sagarmatha arrived at Scarborough from the Azores this week, on the last leg of their qualifying passage as an entrant in the Golden Globe Race 2022. The voyage was from Panama to Scarborough but damage sustained during an Atlantic storm caused the journey to take three months longer than anticipated.

Approaching the Azores, the freak storm knocked the boat down and bent the mast as it hit the water, delayed him getting onto a mooring in a designated port in the Azores for ten days, leaving a longer than planned journey time of 59 days and Guy running out of food and water. The Azores authorities were fantastic, and found a small port to moor Sagarmatha in for repairs.

Julie ordered and sent carbon fibre materials to repair the mast from the UK, which went by air to Lisbon, then by sea to the Azores, as flights to the region were affected by Covid. Guy took down the mast, wrapping the damaged section with carbon fibre to effect a get-me-home repair, returning Sagarmatha to some sort of seaworthy order though there was still a question mark over the mast's robustness.

Sailing weather conditions from the Azores to the UK were not ideal, with concerns mainly about a prevailing head wind straining the repaired mast, so Guy needed to wait for a new weather window and a friendlier wind pattern for his passage from the Azores back to the UK. Earlier in May, he arriving firstly at Falmouth, then made his way via Plymouth, Gosport and a short stop at Ramsgate, where he again had to wait for a weather window, before sailing to Lowestoft, making the final run overnight to Scarborough.

The Azores/UK leg did have its own set of challenges, as along with the challenging weather, Sagarmatha was experiencing electrical problems that still haven't been diagnosed, affecting the AIS, which meant Guy had to stay awake when navigating busy shipping lanes, and particularly during the longer overnight passages.

Reflecting on the whole journey from Panama, Guy and Julie consider the knockdown, and the complications to repairs caused by the virus, were the two outstanding challenges.

Having been married not so long ago, Julie commented on the extended seven months absence, that it was good practice for times they will spend apart whilst Guy is sailing in the 2022 Golden Globe Race. However, they both felt they had managed the time alone better than expected. But Julie is not a sit-at-home wife and has plenty of interests as well as being spokesperson and designated shore manager for Guy's voyages. "The longer he's at sea, the busier he keeps me," Julie noted.

Welcome home Guy and Sagarmatha!

The Waites will be showing Members and Press around the boat and giving talks on the journey one-to-one and at meetings over the next few days. Contact Julie Waites on or 07973 671036 for more information.

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