Golden Globe: Eastbound in Indian Ocean
Published on October 1st, 2018
(October 1, 2018; Day 93) – Eight of the original 18 Golden Globe Race entrants continue to be led across the Indian Ocean by French veteran Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and his Rustler 36 Matmut. He has built up a 1,500 mile lead over 2nd placed Dutchman Mark Slats and is expected to reach the next compulsory turning gate for the fleet by October 5 in Storm Bay, Tasmania.
“All good, had a good week and good winds,” said Van Den Heede. “Since this morning I have had 15 knot headwinds from the SE so am close hauled, and can’t go more south at the moment. No major nor minor problems. ETA: 3 – 4 days depending on the wind direction changing soon or not.”
All skippers are compelled to pick up a buoy and stop in Storm Bay for a minimum of 90 minutes to hand across film and letters, be interviewed by the media and meet family and team members. No one can board the yachts or provide any assistance and the skipper cannot disembark.
Estonian Uku Randmaa sailing another Rustler 36 One and All, is 2,132 miles behind the leader, and now in 3rd place. He reported a major change in the weather since last week’s storms. “No Wind, boat ok. On the radio with Susie Goodall and Mark Slats every day. ETA: 20 days to Hobart.”
Goodall and her yacht DHL Starlight, 664 miles behind, has also been plagued by light winds: “No wind, but now used to these calms. Boat OK. A whale came yesterday very close, and a sea lion this morning. Not so much water. I’m a little bit concerned.”
Race Organisers are also concerned for Russian skipper Igor Zaretskiy who reported a week ago that his hands had become so chapped and sore that he was having problems sailing his Endurance 35 Esmeralda. She has averaged only 1.8 knots over the past 24 hours but his spokesman Rasim Poloskim reported today:
“We had Igor on SSB at 1700UTC yesterday. The latest news: is that his fingers are working now. What we hear is that he was pretty much exhausted by the storm on September 29. It was quite violent, and he decided to weather it by lying hove to.
“The wind was so strong that it broke the wing of the windvane self-steering. Igor has a spare one onboard but it was not safe to work on the stern at that time. As he said, ‘It was the type of storm you are better staying down below in your sleeping bag!’.
“He balanced Esmeralda by setting her storm sails, fixed the wheel, and was quite happy how she held a course. His storm jib sustained some damage and the bilge pump failed – although the latter has now been fixed. Last night he sounded pretty chipper, and signed off with his usual phrase, ‘Esmeralda OK’.”
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.