Golden Globe: Human error bites leader
Published on July 12th, 2018
(July 12, 2018; Day 12) – He is still in first place, but Golden Globe Race leader Philippe Péché (FRA) threw away a hard-fought 3½ hour lead at the first gate in this 30,000 mile solo non-stop round the world race today after mistaking the lighthouse marking the southern end of Lanzarote today.
As the Golden Globe Race is to resemble the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world race in 1968-69, the skippers are navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. As a result, there is no GPS that marks the location.
It was not until his Rustler 36 PRB had continued south and reached the northern tip of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands that the Frenchman realised his mistake and had to turn back into the wind and beat the 7 miles to Marina Rubicon at the southern end of Lanzarote.
The requirement of this checkpoint is for safety but also is a drop point for film and correspondence, and to give the opportunity for interviews as the skippers sail along.
Why he missed the lighthouse’s distinctive pattern of flashes in the early dawn is not fully explained. If he had done so, Péché would have rounded the the mandatory turning mark at 06:30. Instead, it was 10:30 before he had passed across his film and letters to waiting organisers and had set off again.
The error closed the gap between himself and second placed Mark Slats and his Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick to little more than 9 miles. In third place is Frenchman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, sailing the Rustler 36, Matmut a further 6 miles behind. The 73 year-old, who has five previous circumnavigations under his belt, was very comfortable with his position. “This is a long race, and to win, you first have to finish.”
The next compulsory turning gate is off Hobart, Tasmania.
GGR Leader board: 15:30 UTC
1. Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB 23,600 miles to the finish
2. Mark Slats (FRA) – Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick + 9 miles
3. Jean-Luc Van den Heede (FRA) Rustler 36 Matmut + 15 miles
4. Are Wiig (NOR) OE32 Olleanna + 75 miles
5. Susie Goodall (GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight + 95 miles
The 2018 Golden Globe Race started from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday July 1, 2018. The event marks the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world Race in 1968-69 when rules then allowed competitors to start from ports in northern France or UK between June 1st and October 31st.
A notable twist to 2018 Golden Globe Race format is how entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were available in that first race, with the premise being to keep the race within financial reach of every dreamer.
The rules allow for one breach of the strict solo, non-stop un-assisted circumnavigation without the aid of modern electronic navigation aids regulations that make this Race unique. However, those that do gain assistance move down to the Chichester Class as if, like Sir Francis Chichester in 1966-67, they have made one stop during their solo circumnavigation.
Those who breach the rules for a second time are deemed to have retired from the GGR Event and the organisers have no responsibility or obligation to them.