Golden Globe: Steering issues continue

Published on August 13th, 2018

(August 13, 2018; Day 44) – French yachtsman Philippe Péché, who had led the Golden Globe Race almost continuously since the start from Les Sables d’Olonne on July 1, now is in a race for survival.

Péché first alerted Race Headquarters that the tiller on his Rustler 36 PRB had broken on August 10, but his problems began earlier in the week when the actuating arm on his Beaufort wind vane self-steering system sheared off.

Attempts to repair the wind vane with spare tube for his special telescopic tiller failed, and when the tiller then snapped in 45-50 knot winds experienced at the end of last week, he had nothing left to repair it with.

Having now fashioned a repair to the aluminum tiller, but without self-steering, has decided to head to Cape Town under reduced sail. The 57-year old professional from La Trinité Sur Mer was making 2.9 knots in 25 knot headwinds and expecting to take 13 to 17 days to reach the Cape.

Péché made the emergency call to the Golden Globe Race HQ using a satellite phone all competitors carry for use in such situations. Skippers are free to call Race HQ and emergency services at any time, but under the strict rules of this retro non-stop round the world race, can only contact the greater world by radio.

But Péché then made a second call to his partner, having told Race HQ, “I am going to call my partner and I do not care about the consequences.”

Don McIntyre, the Race Chairman confirmed today: “The situation is that Philippe is now in the Chichester Class as if he had made one stop. So if he now pulls in to Cape Town that would be a second infringement and he would be out of the Race altogether.

“He can apply for a time penalty for the phone call (as Istvan Kopar did after stopping in the Cape Verde Islands two weeks ago) and we will reconsider that, because as far as we can ascertain, he did not receive any materiel assistance other than psychological support. If successful, this would reinstate him in the GGR, and allow him to continue in the Chichester Class after he stops in Cape Town.”

Nabil Amra, the Palestinian/American who was forced to retire from the GGR two weeks ago after suffering an identical failure with his Beaufort wind vane self-steering, has every sympathy for Philippe’s situation.

“I have my fingers crossed for Philippe,” shared Amra. “This is a bad spot for it to happen. I had a fear that the next blow he got from behind was going to do the same thing [to his wind vane]. The winds may be with him but that doesn’t change the feelings that well up inside when you see that useless bit of gear hanging off the back.

“1,500 miles is just possible with a following wind, but he will be completely demolished by the time he makes Cape Town. Everyone says that you should balance the rig so that the boat sails herself. But to make it do that for any appreciable time when every third wave is knocking you far enough off course that she just starts charging off in errant directions, is not easy. It takes only an hour to realize how futile that is (especially if you are beating into the winds!).

“You then resign yourself to hand steering for 18 hours a day, which is when the soul sucking starts! This will be when Philippe’s real “race” starts. I’m sure he will surprise us all. This is when he has to dig really deep, from a place that nobody ever sees. When your ship is wounded, so are you! He is in my thoughts!”

Fellow Frenchman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede sailing the Rustler 36 Matmut who shadowed PRB’s course down the centre of the South Atlantic, continues to lead the Race, some 575 miles ahead of second placed Dutchman Mark Slats (Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick) who chose to take the longer westerly Trade wind route.

Slats tacked south today to avoid a high pressure system that may yet entrap Van Den Heede, in expectation of riding the strong favourable winds generated by the next low pressure system sweeping in from the west in the hope that this could close the gap or even leapfrog him ahead of the French leader.

Norwegian Are Wiig (OE 32 Olleanna) has moved up to 3rd place, displacing Estonian Uku Randmaa (Rustler 36 One and All). Britain’s Susie Goodall, who reported last Friday ‘I’ve done a super job of finding the windless patch in the south Atlantic’ has now found fresh wind again and her Rustler 36 DHL Starlight is moving well in 6th place.

In 5th is Finland’s Tapio Lehtinen (Gaia 36 Asteria) but he has yet to find a fix for his solar panel and engine problems and is now very low on battery power.

The next compulsory turning gate for the fleet is off Hobart, Tasmania.

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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 the 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.

Source: GGR

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