INSIDE SCOOP with Team Manager, Frans Loots


with Team Manager, Frans Loot.

We talk windvane, hull cleaning, rigging, and sails for the Southern Ocean.

Over the past few days, we saw two entrants retire from the GGR due to windvane issues.

Pat Lawless retired and pulled into Cape Town due to the failure of his Aries self-steering gear, or what we often just call a windvane. For the solo sailor, his windvane ranks right up there as one of the most essential pieces of equipment he has onboard.

Unfortunately, Pat’s windvane damage was of such nature that he could not carry out a repair while at sea and he had little option but to retire. Earlier in the race, the French sailor Damien Guillo had to return to Les Sables d’Olonne within days of the start when he picked up problems with his windvane. He had an amazing comeback, making up 6 days, only to be forced to turn back to Cape Town without a functioning windvane. He arrived in Cape Town yesterday. Before the race and especially now, there was and still will be lots of talk about what to fit on which boat.

Jeremy, the wise man that he is, specifically chose a Windpilot windvane design for Olleanna, the design being such that he can recover and pull the entire unit onto the safety of the deck should he need to do any repairs or preventative maintenance while underway. But here comes the bit of inside info. Should he suffer a total failure of his windvane, he has a COMPLETE SPARE UNIT onboard. Ready to be shipped within a few minutes. Yours truly wrapped it up in bubble wrap and tucked it into the cockpit locker with the same care as baby Moses was placed into the River Nile.

Let’s hope he never has the need to take it out.

Regarding the dreaded barnacles which are hampering his progress;

Jeremy took the necessary precautions should he have to go over the side to clean off any unwanted passengers. In the same cockpit locker as the spare windvane Jeremy has a wetsuit, goggles and snorkel as well as a weight belt. He bought a braai grid cleaner, the scraper/wire brush combo unit in France days before the start. Yep, the French also seem to enjoy a good braai. Oh, and there is also a 75 mm paint scraper onboard Olleanna. All ready for his dive and clean in Simonsbay!

The last bit of inside info for the day:

On his radio call to James Jeremy mentioned that he will be changing over his light-weather Yankee headsail for a heavy-duty one for the Southern Ocean when in Simonsbay. These two sails were donated to Jeremy a few weeks before the start by a supporter whom Jeremy has never met before! Due to the heavy restrictions and race rules regarding mentioning sponsors, we cannot reveal the brand or the person’s name. You know who you are – THANK YOU!!!! He will also do an inspection on his rig. This works differently when you are alone on the boat and the system is similar to rope access riggers (we can share some info on that too at a later stage).

There you have it. Now let’s keep our fingers crossed for good wind to Cape Town, followed by calm seas while Jeremy prepares for the legs through the Southern Ocean.

Words: Frans Loots

Photos: At the start of the race with Frans in France

1: Jeremy inspecting his windvanePhoto

2: lifelong friends – Jeremy and FransPhoto

3: Jeremy at the race village a few days before the start. We wonder if he will look the same when we see him soon (weight lost or gained? Hair cut himself again? Is he using sunscreen? 🙂


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