Golden Globe: Will west be best?
Published on July 30th, 2018
(July 30, 2018; Day 30) – As the Golden Globe Race fleet leaders crossed the Equator over the past couple days, the computer tracking gives Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB an 18 mile lead over fellow Frenchman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede with Dutchman Mark Slats trailing in third.
But the online tracker plots straight courses – in this case from the Cape Verde Islands to the Cape of Good Hope – taking no account of the South Atlantic High pressure system, which these sailors must skirt around before getting down into the Roaring Forty latitudes.
Anyone who follows round the world races has witnessed the ‘west is best’ routing that hugs the Brazilian coast before taking a left turn under the High to aim east toward the tip of the African continent.
Slats’ Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick most closely resembles that tactic as he’s almost 1,000 miles west from the main body of the fleet and 36 miles south of Péché who is charting a middle route down the Atlantic with Van Den Heede’s Matmut further east and with 37 miles less southing.
The Dutchman’s hope is that the southeast trade winds will turn further east during the next couple of days, to give him a one or two day jump on his rivals. Jean-Luc reported today that nothing had broken on his boat since the start and that he was picking up excellent weather forecasts from the Ham radio net.
He also reported that he had not experienced any rain since the start, in marked difference to most others in the fleet including Slats who used a downpour today to replenish his drinking water.
Other potentials winners this week include Britain’s Susie Goodall (Rustler 36 DHL Starlight) whose birthday present was a move up to 4th place, and Estonian Uku Randmaa who has jumped from 7th to 5th. Goodall made the most of unexpected calms this morning to dive overboard and scrub the bottom of the boat.
“It turns out that I left my deck brush on the dockside back in Les Sables d’Olonne, so I’ve had to use the brush I use for cleaning dishes,” she admitted during a call to Race HQ today
A decision was made July 27 to reinstate the US/Hungarian sailor Istvan Kopar to the Golden Globe Class after he stopped in the Cape Verde Islands to repair the wind vane self-steering system on his Tradewind 35 Puffin.
On July 17, Kopar, who had been complaining of problems with his self-steering since the start from Les Sables d’Olonne on July 1, called Don McIntyre, the Race Chairman, on his satellite phone reserved for emergency use and direct communication with Race HQ, to declare that he would be pulling in to the Cape Verde Islands and accepted that he would be demoted to the Chichester Class, which occurs when making one stopover.
He subsequently asked for a message to be passed to his team manager to order a new wind vane and have it shipped to the Islands. He also requested navigation advice on the best port to proceed to.
Two days later, Istvan appears to have had second thoughts about making a stop. A new wind vane could not be delivered before July 31and he may have received advice via the HAM radio net proffered from the manufacturer on how to repair his existing vane.
What is known is that Kopar dropped anchor in Mindeo port at 06:00 UTC on July 23 and departed again at 2100 UTC on July 24. The Race Organisers accept that Istvan did not go ashore nor received any outside assistance during this period.
While Kopar had accepted his new status as a Chichester Class sailor, he asked the organisers to reconsider his position, siting that his decision-making process had been impaired by stress caused by lack of sleep and that no material advantage had been gained from the stop-over.
In the spirit of the Golden Glone Race, the Race Organisers agreed instead to impose a 24-hour time penalty for inappropriate use of his satellite phone and the outside assistance gained from the navigation advice he received.
Kopar remains at the back of the GGR fleet, and like Frenchman Antoine Cousot (Biscay 36 Métier Intérim) who was relegated to the Chichester Class after stopping for two days in the Canary Islands, is currently trapped in the Doldrums.
The next compulsory turning gate for the fleet is off Hobart, Tasmania.
The 2018 Golden Globe Race started for 17 skippers from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday July 1, 2018, with the inaugural solo non-stop around the world yacht race expected to take 9-10 months to complete.
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 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.