Solo circumnavigation of the globe. Fewer than 300 sailors in history have accomplished it, less than the number of people who have climbed Mt. Everest, or even those who have gone to space. In 1968, some of the world’s most adventurous sailors set out on the first organized solo circumnavigation known as the Golden Globe Race. Fifty years later, the Golden Globe Race 2018 seeks to recapture the thrill and purity of this bygone era by requiring all competitors to sail solo around the world without stopping, and they will also only be allowed to use the same level of technology that was available to competitors in the 1968 race. Istvan Kopar has been chosen as one of only 30 provisional entrants for this prestigious competition that is set to launch from Falmouth, UK on June 14, 2018.
Despite growing up in landlocked Hungary, Istvan Kopar was determined from a young age to be a sailor and a circumnavigator. At age 17, prior to attending college, he joined the merchant marine to learn about the sea. He worked for MAHART (Hungarian Shipping Company) for 13 years and traveled the world over the course of his career visiting over 100 countries. Kopar has worked as a naval officer, sailing racer, and instructor trainer for U.S. Sailing and is a USCG-licensed commercial captain.
Kopar’s accomplishments, awards and races are impressive and lengthy while his proudest accomplishment to date was his solo one-stop circumnavigation of the globe in 1990-1991. He built his own 31′ boat for the voyage, Salammbo, and due to his shoestring budget, sailed without GPS, autopilot, radar, a water-maker, or any heating device. He relied solely on the use of a sextant and manual plotting for determining his course, and upon Morse code for weather forecasts. This experience has no doubt prepared him and provided an advantage for the upcoming Golden Globe Race 2018.
With considerable regulations and restrictions for the upcoming Golden Globe Race, Kopar had to venture to upstate New York to find a suitable and affordable boat for the race. Puffin is a Tradewind 35 built in 1986 by H & T Marine in Poole Dorset, UK. Kopar found her in storage at a marina, having sat unused for several years since the passing of her original and sole owner. The boat – not being seaworthy – was transported by truck to Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club on Centre Island outside of New York City. Here, she is undergoing a major refit throughout the interior and exterior.
Alexseal Yacht Coatings is proud to sponsor Istvan Kopar and his efforts to restore Puffin to race-ready conditions in time for the Golden Globe 2018 race. Istvan, with help from a few friends, has put in hundreds of hours thus far in the restoration process, and her exterior shows immense results with a stunning Alexseal International Orange hull with white cove stripe – chosen for high-visibility characteristics while navigating the open waters. In preparation for a New York winter, Puffin‘s hull and bottom have been painted and the top sides shrink wrapped with access so that interior work can continue. We greatly look forward to the continuing progress of this restoration and the upcoming Golden Globe Race in 2018!