Tapio Lehtinen (born 9 January 1958) is a Finnish Industrial engineer, a former commodore of the Helsingfors Segelsällskap and one of the most prominent Finnish single-handed sailors. He participated in the 2018 Golden Globe Race and sailed solo, without stops, around the world. He was placed fifth in the race.
Lehtinen began sailing in 1965 with optimists, and during his junior years he raced actively with light sailing craft. Lehtinen has also sailed with Laser, 470 and 29er dinghies. Later he has been an active sailor in the open seas and oceans, and in 1981–82 he participated in the Whitbread Round the World Race in the boat Skopbank of Finland, serving as its officer in charge of navigational watch. The boat was placed 12th in the race.
After the race, Lehtinen was invited to become a member of the Helsingfors Segelsällskap. After that he has had a racing career of more than 30 years with his 6mR boat named May Be IV.
He has participated in the Round Britain and Ireland Yacht Race, Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race, Azores and Back as well as the Newport Bermuda Race.
Lehtinen has served in the board of the Finnish Opthimist Dinghy Association and thrice in the board of the Finnish 6mR Association. He sought the position of the commodore of the HSS in order to further its youth activities and to improve its financial position.
The Golden Globe Race 2018
Lehtinen was one of the 18 sailors to participate in the 2018 Golden Globe Race. He was one of the five sailors who were able to complete the race, and was placed last. The race was the 50th anniversary race of the original Golden Globe Race, and participators were allowed to use only techniques available during the original race.
By the time Lehtinen reached the waters of Tasmania, his boat was plagued by lepadidae, which had fastened on its bottom in the Indian Ocean. The Australian authorities did not allow him to clear the bottom of the boat, as lepadidae is an introduced species in the region. Some of the other participants in the race, however, had been allowed to undertake such an operation. The lepadidae had been able to fasten on the bottom of the boat, as it had not been treated with appropriate anti-fouling paint. The mistake had been made at a Finnish yard, and the reason for this was the fact that the kinds of anti-fouling paint that are used for boats in ocean races are not allowed to be used in the Baltic Sea. The lepadidae effectively put an end to Lehtinen’s competition for victory, and he was not able to achieve more than the bottom placwe in the race.
Lehtinen arrived at the finish in Les Sables-d'Olonne on 19 May 2019. He had travelled more than 30 000 nautical miles or ca. 55 000 kilometers. He was the only contestant to arrive at the finish without experiencing a knockdown, that is, without his mast and sails hitting the surface of the ocean. According to Lehtinen, the design of the boat prevented this in winds that could have been between 45–60 knots of speed.
The boats participating in the race also had an engine, just as in the 1968 race. The participants were allowed to have 150 litres of fuel on board. It was meant to be used in situations in which the ocean was calm and there was no wind. Lehtinen’s engine went out of order early during the race near the Canary Islands, and he was not able to repair it. At the finish, he still had 135 litres of fuel left. The other participants who reached the finish had nothing left.
It has been said of Lehtinen’s race, that his position at the finish is “one of the best fifth positions of Finnish sailing ever.” It has also been said that the solo sailing around the world of Hjallis Harkimo of 1986–87 pales next to Lehtinen’s race, as Harkimo was allowed to stop at various points during his race and stock up with fresh food and water. Lehtinen, however, stocked up with all he needed at the start, and at the end of the race he still had food for two more months and water for two more weeks.
Lehtinen is married to marine biologist Vivi Lehtinen. They have three children, all of them sailors. These include Olympic sailor Lauri Lehtinen and Olympic medalist Silja Lehtinen. The third child is Vaije Lehtinen.
- "Tapio Lehtinen". Golden Globe Race 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- "Tapio Lehtinen, kommodori" [‘Commodore Tapio Lehtinen’]. Docplayer.fi (in Finnish). HSS. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- Pusa, Ari (21 May 2019). "Maali näkyvissä! Tapio Lehtinen saapui maaliin kilpailun viimeisenä mutta tarjosi silti kuohujuomaa veneelleen" [‘The finish line in sight! Tapio Lehtinen arrived at the finish last but still treated his boat to sparkling wine’]. Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Helsinki: Sanoma. pp. A 30–33. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- Pusa, Ari (22 May 2019). "Yksinpurjehtiva kaunosielu. Jos Lehtinen lähtisi mukaan vuoden 2022 yksinpurjehdukseen, hän pyytäisi Helsingin Sanomien lukijoilta sadan kirjan suosikkilistaa" [‘A dreamer and single-handed sailor. If Lehtinen were to participate in the 2022 race, he would ask the readers of Helsingin Sanomat to supply him with a list of 100 titles to read’]. Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Helsinki: Sanoma. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- Kirsi Teiskonlahti, Noora Takamäki (20 May 2019). "322 päivän kilpapurjehdus oli mieletön seikkailu, jonka aikana Tapio Lehtinen ohitti myrskyt ja laivojen hautausmaan – pelkillä säilykkeillä elänyt purjehtija kertoo olevansa elämänsä kunnossa" [‘The 322 day sailing race was an awesome adventure, during which Tapio Lehtinen sailed past storms and the graveyard of ships — the sailor who lived on canned food only says he’s shape is better than ever before’]. yle.fi (in Finnish). Yle. Retrieved 24 May 2019.