The Tapio Lehtinen Interview


Your boat is beautiful. Do you think it will steer itself well?

She is a long keeled boat but with a relatively short keel and the rudder quite far forward - remains to be seen, you might have hit my Achilles heel with your first question :) The German Winpilot unit seems to be very good but I will need to learn on the way as the boat was delivered late and I haven't had much time for trials.

Of all the updates you have made to your boat, which one do you think will be the most significant to you in terms of performance vs. the original design?

Asymmetrical spinnakers, fully battened mainsail, roller reefing cutter rig powered by partly customized Harken gear are things which didn't exist in 1965.

Can you compare the new bulkheads and fastening materials you have added to the boat to the originals? In total, how much lighter do you think the interior is to the original?

The rules prohibit changing anything on the boat to lighter materials - regarding weight I am sorry to confess I am an conservative overkill guy. Everything is probably slightly heavier than original - this combined with water, food, spares for a year, and a slim hull compared with my competitors means that the waterline has disappeared long time ago. She is heavy and I'm going to have a wet ride. Low freeboard will be safer with knockdowns in mind.

As it relates to your boat's deck, did you replace all deck hatches and ports?

To begin with, I replaced the deck and over structure as they were badly delaminated. I think Cantiere Benello was ahead of the time by building a full sandwich boat as early as 1965. But yes, all ports and hatches are new ones.

Have you estimated how long you believe you will require to complete the course?

My best 'guestimate' is between 260 and 280 days.

Have you done some historical research about the original Golden Globe Race? If so, what can learn from the original competitors?

I think I have read just about all the books and watched all the films.

I suffered through the accounts of Crowhurst tragedy and immensely enjoyed the great books by Knox-Johnston and Moitissier.

In my opinion the first lesson to be learned is that especially in this race in order to win you need to finish. But having said this, I am aware that I might have overdone this leading to a similar situation as Peter Blake had with Lion New Zealand (not meaning to compare myself with the great Sir Peter :)

Are you bringing audio cassettes along for music? How many?

My good friend Tare Viren has taped a box full of cassettes with my favorite classic, jazz, Latin, and rock music for me.

You must use mechanical clocks. Those can be unpredictable. How many are you bringing?

Only two as I can get time signals with HF radio.

Do you have a couple of other Skippers whom you feel you will be most competitive?

Definitely yes! Jean-Luc Van Den Heede at 73 years is at the peak of his rock singer and ocean racing career, extremely experienced, going for his sixth solo race around the world. Another of my favorites is Philippe Peche with over 300.000 nm of ocean racing under his belt, not forgetting Suzie Goodall or the record breaking, trans Atlantic rower Mark Slats who already won the delivery Race from UK to France.

  • United States
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  • New Zealand
  • Polska
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  • UK