Golden Globe Sailing Race - Penalty Given for Ham Radio Use

A sailor in the Golden Globe around the world race has been given a penalty after using amateur radio to ask for weather routing information

Third-placed Estonian skipper Uku Randmaa escaped disqualification from the Golden Globe race after breaching the strict rules forbidding outside assistance but has been handed a 72-hour penalty for asking and receiving weather routing information during radio contact with a Ham radio operator.

A 16-minute recording of the radio communication was received at Race HQ yesterday (19th February). The first five minutes cover a legitimate publicly available weather information, but at -9:15, Randmaa asks: “I have a question…How can I say it… I’m heading 90°. Can I be sure that I can take the wind if I’m sailing east?"

This is a retro race with skippers restricted to using a sextant, paper charts and wind-up chronometers just as Sir Robin Knox-Johnston used in the first Sunday Times Golden Globe Race 50 years ago. All digital equipment is banned, including sat phones and GPS. Skippers can only communicate via Single Side Band (SSB) radios and amateur Ham radio net, which the whole world can listen in to if they wish.
— Race Chairman Don McIntyre