Simon’s Town sailor still has 1200 NM to reach Cape Town

Is it climate change or weaker anti-fouling paint?  That’s the question rearing its head among watchers of the Golden Globe Race with news that South African Jeremy Bagshaw had to address a serious hitchhiker problem on the underside of his boat.

The apparent increase in barnacle ‘fouling’, while highly annoying for Jeremy, is nevertheless food for thought as experts weigh in on whether it may be linked to ocean warming and climate change, or to the use of less toxic anti-fouling paints – as per new more environmentally-friendly regulations.

“There is a conversation underway,” confirmed Race chairman and founder Don McIntyre in a media interview on the eve of the frontrunners arriving in Cape Town where some of the skippers may have to do some serious barnacle culling. “It’s around the equator, they all seem to latch on there,” McIntyre said. “The anti-fouling paints are not as deadly as they used to be – one can’t use them anymore,” he explained, adding that the problem may also turn out to be linked to warmer waters in the North Atlantic.

Barnacles were a major factor in the 2018 edition of the Race when Finnish entrant Tapio Lehtinen earned the nickname Captain Barnacles because of his barnacle-infested hull. It slowed him down so much that he finished last in 322 days.


Tapio has no such problems this time around – he is lying second and clocked the second-best 24-hour distance of the Race so far – 174.19 NM.  Barnacles would have a hard time holding onto that.

No  such luck for Jeremy however. About a month ago, on feeling that the yacht was sluggish he dived down to take a look, only to discover that 70% of his hull was covered with 2cm-long gooseneck barnacles. He spent four hours scraping them off. “It was damn hard work,” he told McIntyre during one of the Race’s mandatory ‘check-in’ chats.  “I got everything off except the ones in the crevices.”

“I just hope they don’t reoccur because I certainly don’t have food for 300 days, and once I’m in the colder waters there’s a limited amount of cleaning I can do.”

It is unclear whether his barnacle problem is back.

Jeremy is also concerned about his water supply, having failed to catch much rainwater during the journey so far.

Fortunately Jeremy is from Cape Town and has experience in dealing with water shortages.

He told McIntyre that, challenges aside, he is in good spirits and looking forward to being home – or at least seeing it (since this is a non-stop Race he won’t be allowed ashore).

“I could do with a cold beer, but other than that I am quite content with the way things are,” he said.

Jeremy is currently in 9th position in the 13 boat Race fleet (three boats have already dropped out).

Meanwhile fellow South African Kirsten Neuschafer is challenging for the Race lead, having arrived in Cape Town in 2nd place. She too is in good spirits, with no major boating issues. In a media interview she quipped that she may just keep on going if and when she reaches the finishing line.

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