Golden Globe: Making the turn

Published on November 26th, 2018

(November 26, 2018; Day 149) – Jean-Luc Van Den Heede led the Golden Globe Race fleet of solo sailors round Cape Horn at 19:16 UTC on November 23 having extended his lead on all but second placed Dutchman Mark Slats during a week when those trailing up to 8,500 miles behind all faced serious trials.

Both Australian Mark Sinclair and Russia’s Igor Zaretskiy are now heading for ports in Australia to clean off barnacles and make repairs. Sinclair, who is also running perilously short of drinking water, is heading for Adelaide, his home city after being thwarted by sharks on two occasions during the past week from diving over to scrape the hull of his Lello 34, Coconut.

Zaretskiy reported yesterday that he had motored to check drag on the hull of his Endurance 36 Esmeralda and determined that the barnacles are now reducing her speed by 2.5 knots. He now intends to slip the yacht at the old whaling port of Albany on the South West corner of Australia.

When they stop, both skippers will be relegated to the Chichester Class, leaving just six of the original 17 starters still competing for Golden Globe honours.

The lack of breeze that frustrated progress in mid fleet for much of last week has been replaced by 20-30 knots winds from the South and West, but Estonian Uku Randmaa, Britain’s Susie Goodall and American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar all face continuing problems.

Randmaa, who lost 300 miles on the race leader over the past 6 days, is back doing 6.2 knots in the right direction today, but has still to clear barnacles from the bottom of his yacht One and All.

Goodall (DHL Starlight), now half way across the South Pacific some 2,700 miles from South America, is running desperately short of water, and American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar who, like Goodall, lost 400 miles on the leader this past week, has reported major problems with the pedestal steering system on his Tradewind 35 Puffin.

The bearings in the pedestal gearbox are breaking up under the strain and may not last much longer. In an effort to reduce the chance of a complete break-down, Kopar fitted his backup emergency tiller but that too failed within 12 hours.

His last resort is to fit his emergency rudder but that will mean hand-steering for the remaining 11,000 miles back to the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne. To cap all this, Puffin’s main halyard snapped last night, and Kopar must wait for calmer conditions to climb the mast and replace it.

Sixth placed Tapio Lehtinen has dropped almost 700 miles behind this week, his barnacle infested yacht Asteria unable to make any real progress against strong head winds all week. Worse, forecasters are predicting this unusual easterly airstream will continue for another five days at least.

In a special radio hook-up with members of the International Cape Horners Association attending their annual meeting in Portsmouth UK yesterday, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede reported that repairs to the damaged rig on his Rustler 36 Matmut were standing up well.

“I am on course to pass west of the Falkland Islands and have winds on the beam. I am taking it easy with three reefs in the mainsail. If I was racing, I would only have two. I do not want to stress the mast any more than necessary and will have to nurse it all the way back to Les Sables d’Olonne.”

The 73-year old Frenchman confirmed that this had been his 10th rounding of Cape Horn. “Six times the right way (west to east) and four times the wrong way (against the prevailing winds). The last time was in 2014 when I was cruising in the area and we stopped to meet the lighthouse keepers. Conditions were good this time round and I was doing more than 8 knots when heading up through the Straits de la Maire.”

Second placed Dutchman Mark Slats sailing another Rustler 36, Ohpen Maverick, crossed into the ‘Screaming Fifty’ latitudes yesterday and reported “BIG SAILS ARE OUT AGAIN MAKING BIG SURFS. LOVE IT!”

Since Van Den Heede’s rig problems three weeks ago, Slats has clipped almost 700 miles off Matmut’s lead, but these past six days, the gain has been only 43 miles. To finish ahead, the Dutchman knows he must set an average 20% faster than the Frenchman. The first chance of doing this will come in five days time when he is expected to reach the Horn and when Matmut is slowed by head winds.

But like Van Den Heede, Slats will earn his passage round this infamous Cape because forecasters are predicting another storm just as he rounds the Horn or shortly after.

NOTE: The Golden Globe Race issued a time penalty against Jean-Luc Van Den Heede as a result of his actions when he sustained mast damage during a storm 1,900 miles west of Cape Horn. Details.

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Background:
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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