GGR entrant Guy deBoer runs onto rocks at night in Canaries

Guy deBoer (USA) has literally crashed out of the Golden Globe Race, after hitting rocks at night on the north coast of Fuerteventura, Las Palmas in the Canaries. As of last Saturday (18 Sep 2022), his yacht was stranded but he was safe with the potential of salvage under investigation.

Spirit hit the rocks 50m off the beach and was said to be sitting on rocks, away from the beach, tilting 45°, being pounded by heavy seas crashing over the boat.

The surf was pushing her slowly forward grinding over rocks. DeBoer, who was in constant contact with Salvamento Maritimo, the local Rescue Coordination Center and GGR Race Control, was in a serious situation.

He had his life raft ready, but decided to remain inside Spirit, which was holding up. He planned to wait for daylight since he could not see the coast.

The conditions for a safe use of the life raft, or exit onto the rocks beaten by the surf were not right, says the official news report from GGR.

DeBoer finally abandoned his yacht by foot, assisted by the local police and firefighters who were waiting on the bedrock. A government salvage tow boat was already en route while deBoer was taken to a local hotel without injuries.

Image courtesy of Felix Montenegro Pujales

Following an early morning government assessment, it was considered too difficult to tow Spirit back to sea at high water. The authorities decided to pump all fuel from the boat to avoid a potential spill and are now working with deBoer’s team and an insurance company on salvaging the Tashiba 36 with the least environmental impact. The area is a popular tourist surfing spot.

Image courtesy of Felix Montenegro Pujales

“I am meeting with a large salvage company to consider the best course of action which, at this stage, looks like dragging her back over the hard rocks, fortunately not fragile reefs,” says deBoer.

“She has an incredibly strong and thick hull so should be able to take that ride. She has taken a pounding so far and the hull is fine. I hope to see her sail again, but certainly we cannot just leave her there.”

Guy DeBoer. Image courtesy of Nora Havel