Competitor profile

Name    Mark Slats
Born    April 8th 1977 – Darwin, Australia
Domicile     Wassenaar, holland
Country of entry    Netherlands

Mark Slats is another to have completed a solo circumnavigation before, sailing the 46ft Alan Buchanan designed yacht Cornelia in 2004/5 - a boat bought with the prize money gained from winning a kickboxing championship. The Dutch sailor, who was born in Darwin, Australia and moved to the Netherlands at the age of 8, has prepared the Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick for the GGR.

Mark is a true adventurer. He thinks big and believes nothing is impossible. In 2017 he sold his house to compete in Talisker Transatlantic Rowing Challenge. Remarkably, Slats overcame the disappointment of losing his fellow rower in the 2-man class shortly before the start, but went on to win the singlehanded class in record time smashing the previous best time by five days. He finishing 4th overall, ahead of all the 2-man crews, beaten only by three 4-man teams!

Dutch naval architect Dick Koopmans manages Mark's GGR challenge. Ohpen Maverick was sailed across the North Sea to his home port of Wassenaar near the fishing port of Scheveningen earlier in 2017, where a 3-man team refitted the boat under Koopman's direction while Mark was rowing across the Atlantic.

On his return, Slats focused all his attention on the Golden Globe Race, selling everything to finance this new adventure.   But it was not enough and at one point it looked as if he would be forced to withdraw from the race until a chance encounter with Chris Zadeh, founder and CEO of Ohpen, at the end of May brought a dramatic change to his life. 

Zadeh saw in Mark the spitting image of his own core business values. "Mark embodies that  'give-it-all' approach.  The word 'impossible' is not in his dictionary, and using mental strength, tactics and pure perseverance to overcome all odds with each new challenge. It is quite like the journey Ohpen has been on in building the world’s first cloud-based core banking engine. With this sponsorship, Ohpen wants to set an example for our team and customers, showing that Ohpen can achieve anything if we just set our minds to it". 

With the financial support of Ohpen, Mark and his team have been able to focus on getting ready for the 9-month race. During the last weeks before the start, he was able to take a refresher course in astro navigation under the tutelage of Dick Huges, one of Holland’s most famous navigators, who taught him a lot about the do’s and don’ts of traditional navigation using a sextant to plot his position.

Mark was due to set sail for Falmouth UK on June 7 to join the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of  Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s departure from that port to become the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world during the original Golden Globe Race back in 1968/9. It is then on to Les Sables d'Olonne, France for the start of the 2018 GGR on Sunday July 1.  

Why has Mark Slats entered the GGR? "Because I live for this stuff" he says.

Name            Ohpen Maverick
Type            Rustler 36 Masthead sloop
Race No        68
Designer        Holman & Pye
Builder        Rustler Yachts (UK)
LOA            35.33ft / 10.77m
LWL            26.92ft / 8.21m
Beam            11.00ft / 3.35m
Draft                5.50ft / 1.67m
Displacement     16805 lbs / 7623 kgs
Sail area        693sq. ft / 64.38sq. m

Mark Slats is one of six GGR skippers to select the Rustler 36 production yacht for the Race. It is the most popular class by far. Ohpen Maverick was the first of this class to be built.

"The boat is in pretty good shape."  says Mark, adding. "The team has stripped off the teak deck, stepped a new mast and rigging and Dick Koopmans has made a study of the expected weather conditions around the course and designed a sail plan to suit."