Round-the-world torture Stephen Kopera

“This is the happiest day of my life… And it’s (Les Sables-d’olonne) is the best place… the Capital of offshore races,” he said at the finish of Istvan Kopar, who took fourth place in the Golden Globe round the world Race.

To these words, istván added something else: “It was torture for me. My autopilot stopped working normally almost from the first day of the race. As for the boat – no problems, but I had. Luck was clearly not on my side. I think I’m done with sailing sports and doing instead of gardening.”

Let’s remember offers #EsmeraldaOK, as Stephen started the race.

66-year-old yachtsman from Delray beach, Florida, has experienced ongoing steering problems almost from day one.

According to Stephen, he failed to properly check the steering system before the race.

The first time he reported the problem on July 10. To organize the work of the autopilot did not work. 7 days spent almost continuously at the helm, exhausted Stephen so much that he decided to move to a class of Chichester and to make a stop to repair the autopilot.

It turned out that the delivery requested by Istvan repair parts will take a week. Such a long halt was not pleased.

When Istvan was anchored, we realized that his autopilot was incorrectly assembled (was incorrectly set the blade of the autopilot). It gave that idea the night reflection in calm water, when he stopped in the port of one of the Islands of Cape Verde.

Autopilot could fix on their own!
Istvan asked to return it to the primary classification #GGR, because he did not go ashore and had not received any outside assistance. The organizing Committee granted his request, appointed him a 6-hour penalty for Parking in the port and another 18 hours for ad hoc use his emergency satellite phone.

And this was only the beginning.


When Stephen entered the waters of the southern ocean, soured fresh water in the tank. From this moment it is very much dependent on rains. There was a time when fresh water had almost no choice and the nearest shore was at least a thousand miles.

Another problem was the black mold growing inside the boat. Attempts to Wake her were unsuccessful, because the boat was wet., and the dampness – it is just what you need mould. To ventilate and dry the cabins were not allowed the weather. Mold has become so much that it affected health Stephen. His nails turned black, even had a few times to call a doctor about their treatment.

To breathe inside the boat mold poisoned air was impossible, what can we say about sleep and rest. Imagine that you are in this situation are in months. On the street, too uncomfortable – in the southern ocean, Istvan literally moved from storm to storm.

November 20, the navigational error led to the fact that Istvan went into the exclusion zone in the southern ocean. For this he received a fine of 6 hours and 40 minutes.
At that time he already had an 18-hour penalty for stopping in a port on the Islands of Cape Verde. In the 24 hours and 40 minutes.

Usually, the time penalty by the skipper spends in “the penalty box”.

If the boat were a car, it would be possible just to stand still. But for yachts in the open ocean is not an option. Therefore, the time penalty the skipper must hold in the area bounded by certain coordinates. The coordinates are chosen so that the sailor could not get close to the finish line. In General, the analogue the Parking lot by car.
Kopar had to serve penalty time at sea. But because of the constant problems with the steering and health, GGR organizing Committee decided that additional time will be added just at the finish.

January 1, Istvan rounded Cape horn. He took advantage of this unique opportunity to scatter there ashes of his father.

Don’t forget that with all this Kopar continued to repair the steering gear. Had a lot of problems. In the mechanism of the autopilot broke the gearbox. Istvan tried to bypass the problem using the emergency wheel. But the emergency wheel is also broke. For its repair Istvan spent the last reserves of epoxy resin. Well, that finish line was already near.

Stephen admits that his efforts paid off because he managed to solve all the problems in the way.

Of course, many problems would not have arisen if a more thorough preparation. But don’t forget that Stephen was a very limited budget. And the fact that he managed to reach the finish line, says that he ordered the available resources very efficiently.

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