Istvan (on the right) and friend onboard Puffin.
From that accomplishment he launched a new career in worldwide cruising, open-ocean racing and yacht delivery. In 1996-97, he circumnavigated again with a crew of 12 on board his ocean racer, Mol-Hungaria 1100, a Tipp 55 racing sloop. He finished first in the Jimmy Cornell-organized Hong Kong Challenge Round the World Race, winning both the Sir Edward Heath Trophy and the Financial Times Clipper Trophy. Basking in well-earned famed as an accomplished captain, he became a highly regarded sailing instructor for several years and for various organizations both in Europe and America. At 47 years of age, he officially immigrated to the United States, acquiring citizenship in 2000. He and his family are now fully “Americanized.” In fact, one daughter is a U.S. Navy pilot and the other daughter a doctor. Now, all Istvan’s efforts are concentrated on preparations for the Golden Globe Race. With financial support from his sponsors, he is rushing to complete all the necessary repairs and upgrades to his entry into the Golden Globe field, a Tradewind 35 full-keeled sloop, Puffin, built in Dorset, England, in 1986. Purchasing the neglected hull from the widowed owner, he has plowed through a lengthy checklist of boatyard work to bring Puffin back up to the standards necessary for months of hard sailing in the rough waters of the Southern Ocean. While most repairs have been relatively minor, a more vexing problem has been a mistakenly offset compression post under the mast the previous owner had dealt with by shaving off the top of the v-berth door that refused to shut due to distortion in the overhead—a lessthan-satisfactory solution to the problem. Otherwise, the only significant modification to the boat has been to build a larger navigation station to accom-
modate charts and celestial navigation work. Prohibited from using any electronic aids, the racers will navigate by sextant, wind-up chronometer and the stars. Complicating Istvan’s work on his boat is the fact that Puffin is in a boatyard in Long Island, NY, requiring him to fly back and forth between his family in Delray Beach, FL, and Long Island, NY. Even with a tight schedule for several further repairs, Istvan expects to have the boat ready for sea trials in early June. From there he will sail to Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, via Bermuda and Falmouth, UK, to arrive in time for further sea trials in the rough waters of the Bay of Biscay, testing his boat’s hull and rigging to ensure it can stand up to what he knows from prior experience he will encounter in the Southern Ocean. With good fortune and hard work, he will have Puffin ready for the start of the race on the first of July. As did Knox-Johnston in his winning campaign in the original race, Istvan operates on a shoestring budget and always welcomes additional sponsors. He is supported by a management team of amateurs anxious to see Puffin capture the Golden Globe perpetual trophy and the winner’s share of the prize money. Go to his website to contact him or to donate to his voyage: www.koparsailing.com. CDR Chris Kreitlein, USN (ret) is a 28-year naval veteran and aviator. He has sailed thousands of miles and across oceans, alone and with others. Chris currently resides in Pensacola, FL. He lectures on celestial navigation at boat show seminars and to miscellaneous groups (available on request at email@example.com). He is the author of Simple Celestial: Navigation by the Heavens Made Easy (available at Amazon). Istvan Kopar is a graduate of his course in celestial navigation.
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