Vendée Globe  
93 days 22 hours 52 minutes

Parallel Problems: Nándor and Conrad’s ‘telepathic’ race: Battling with the pilot and losing the A7  – but the Spirit of Yukoh dismasted – heartbreaking! 

We all know, single-handed offshore racing is not a leasure cruise. Even if everything seems to go well, these skippers are constantly in a battle with technical issues, electrical problems, physical challenges to overcome. And all these things happen while racing against the elements. VERY SORRY for KOJIRO!

04. DEC

The latest news have been published about Kojiro, that he lost his part of the mast on Spirit of YUKOH. His boat had been named after the well-known Japanese ocean skipper Yukoh Tada, who was a good friend of Nándor’s back in 1990-91 from the BOC Challenge around the world single-handed sailing race with 4 stop-overs. Nándor also met the very young Kojiro at the time, and knows very well the reason why the boat’s name has became Spirit of Yukoh. Nándor sent his message to Kojiro via satellite phone.

During the BOC race, YUKOH’s boat was in a very bad condition after the 2nd stopover, and he couldn’t finish the reparations before the start from Sydney, Australia. The race committee did not give him the permission to start from Sydney for his own safety, because the boat was considered too dangerous to sail into the Southern Oceans.

Yukoh kept the old Japanese tradition, and committed suicide in his hotel room right at the start time. He was found dead after. It was a big shock for everyone, that remained in all of his fellow skippers for years. Kojiro, who was a big Yukoh fan, decided to do the round the world race one day, with an own sailing boat named Spirit of YUKOH.

We know this isn’t over, Kojiro! You’re going to complete it another time!

Nandor’s message to Kojiro: (SOH77_recorded_by©mixpress)

“Hi Koijro, this is Nandor, Spirit of Hungary. I’m just very disappointed to hear the news that you lost your mast and you’re going to Cape Town. Your spirit, and the spirit of Yukoh will be here, I’ll keep it with me, and will go on with it. You’re with me, Yukoh is with me, I think about you quite a lot. Keep up the spirit of Yukoh, keep the spirit of Kojiro, and see you later somewhere! All the best!”

DEC: 03. Just a day ago, Nándor encountered some electrical problems onboard Spirit of Hungary. His autopilot turned off two times, and he had to stop the boat to repair it. Today, he lost his favourite A7 gennaker. Almost at the same time, Conrad Colman – who was Nándor’s co-skipper in the 2014-15 Barcelona World Race – was facing a similar problem. His autopilot turned off due to an electrical malfunction, which drove the boat into a situation where he almost lost one of his sails. He even had to go into the ocean to save it. Conrad and Nándor have a unique friendship ever since he joined the Spirit of Hungary team in 2014 for the double-handed around the world race. They’ve been in touch during the present Vendée Globe too, having exchanged e-mails and radio calls along the way down towards the South in their own Imocas. Their performance in the race have kept them close to each other so far. On such a long and tough journey, it must be an amazing feeling to know there is a mate out there, who’s just a few tens of miles away, and who you can count on through good or bad.

Conrad Colman explained his story on the satellite-phone:

“an electric bypass destroyed one of the solar charge controllers and it damaged the electric cables next to it. It stopped the electronics and thus the pilot, and I lost control of the boat as I wasn’t at the helm. By the time I got there the boat was on its side and the gennaker in the water. It took me a lot of time to regain control and then to try to save the sail.” Fortunately the boat is secured, the electric problem has been solved… (source:

Nándor’s Ship’s Log, 3rd dec. 07:50 UTC

“I had a very eventful night. After my autopilot turned off by itself for the second time, my boat gybed with the mainsail and the A7 gennaker. This is a very dangerous situation! I called Peter [Nándor’s electrician] to explain how to switch the autopilot’s propulsion to reserve. At the second blackout of the autopilot I realized it wasn’t a problem of the control but it was the propulsion that keeps going away. While I was looking for the necessary switches in the back of the boat, I discovered that one outlet was corroded. I was trying to switch to spare mode but it took some time. It is impossible to do longer work while running with high speed. Finally I released the A7 sail and stopped the boat to repair the autopilot. The cable was so corroded I couldn’t even unplug, I had to cut it. I cleaned the cables, and reconnected them. It worked. I turned back to my track, rolled out the gennaker and continued sailing. I lost approximately 40 minutes all together, which means 9 – 10 SM.

Everything went all right until the morning. I just went outside when the wind increased, but it was still all right for the current sail combination. So I was standing there, fully dressed, and the following happened in front of my eyes:

An enormous wave and a big gust came at the same time. Of course the boat went into surfing mode and dove completely into the next wave ahead. The boat was shaking, vibrating, struggling. Then I heard a loud crack and the A7 sail was broken in half with one quick motion. The whole thing was in the water within one second, hanging on the right side of the boat. I jumped to pull it out but we were running with 16 – 18 knots speed, it was impossible. At the same time there was a chance it would tangle around my rudders so I had no other choice, I had to cut it off and let it go. Unfortunately it took one of the halyards too, I couldn’t save it. Needless to say, I’m very disappointed as this was my favourite sail. Now I have to manage the rest of the race with these sails I have left. I’m going to miss it, but this is part of the business. When you dance on the edge of the knife, there’s a chance you cut yourself.

The whole day there’s been 35-45 knots of wind, with aggressive waves. We’re going fast but it comes with a price. The boat is fighting and I’m fighting too, in order to stay in the safe zone. I saw a coal-black line on the sky where the Westerly wind turned into SW. The wind shift came with 45 knots and the world got almost completely dark. Then the sun came back just as the same. I needed to gybe. I started several times but each time the wind got stronger so I didn’t want to risk, I finally furled in the solent and gybed with the main only. It went more or less smoothly and I was lucky to have carried it out without any gusts coming on me. We’ve been running with an average speed of 18 knots (varies between 15 and 26) ever since. The waves are still very fresh and wild, they’re aggressively yanking the boat. It is impossible to move around inside without holding onto something. We’re progressing, and that is the most important thing, after safety.

Position on 3rd december, at 17:30 UTC: 38° 47′ S, 012° 47′ E, 

almost everything’s all right. 

translated by: Lili Fa / Spirit of Hungary


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