Golden Globe: Never a dull moment
Published on December 12th, 2018
(December 12, 2018; Day 165) – As French race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede works to protect his shrinking lead over 2nd placed Dutch rival Mark Slats, the focus is once more on a violent storm in the Pacific Ocean that looks likely to overtake 4th placed American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar within two days.
Race HQ has given permission for Istvan to take evasive action and move south into the NO-GO Zone, just as Estonian Uku Randmaa did to avoid the same storm that left Susie Goodall dismasted and in need of rescue a week ago.
“We have just advised Istvan to head south as fast as possible,” said Race Chairman Don McIntyre. “We hope he can make at least 180 miles, which is the lower marker on the distance track. We then have to hope the forecast track of this storm will be correct.
“Going south has risks because it takes him closer to the center of the storm and sudden wind shift zone? But if he gets south he may miss the worst of it.
“Yesterday we alerted Istvan to run east as fast as possible to try and outrun the worst of the weather, but since then the storm has intensified and changed direction. It is for Istvan to decide what to do. GGR can only offer advice and we are updating him every 12 hours.”
Leaders draw closer
Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede tacked to within sight of Rio’s Copacabana Beach today and is now entering the zone of headwinds that is likely to slow his progress considerably.
The 73-year old has climbed Matmut’s mast again to check that his repairs to the lower shroud tang fastenings, a result of damage from a knockdown on November 5, remain secure and seems happy enough for now, but these head winds will concentrate his mind on protecting the rig on his Rustler 36 at all cost. This will invariably slow the Frenchman down.
At 12:00 UTC today, Matmut’s lead over Mark Slats rival Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick is down to 946 miles, a loss of 76 miles during the past nine days. That’s not enough of an average to overtake the Frenchman, but Slats knows this could all change during the next two weeks. He is hand steering much of the time, including at night, driving the boat hard and surfing on the best waves, knowing he can make big gains on the leader.
His boat is in good shape and he is feeling strong and excited at this new race to the finish. The finish back in Les Sables d’Olonne is still some 5,000 miles way, but for Slats every hour of the day is important. He knows that anything can happen, so he has to be careful himself, but is charged with excitement. Can he make up the difference?
Susie Goodall is due to be dropped off at Punta Arenas on December 14 when her rescue ship, the MV Tian Fu picks up a pilot prior to navigating through the Magellan Strait.
One to miss her rivalry is Istvan Kopar who had been 780 miles behind when her yacht DHL Starlight was pitch poled and dismasted seven days ago. But Kopar has his hands full. Not only is he facing a similar storm, but is struggling with major steering issues on his Tradewind 35 Puffin and also running very short of water.
Nor does he have a working radio to pick up weather reports so is reliant on Race HQ to advise him about approaching storms as a safety measure. For now, he sits 4th overall – an amazing achievement considering. And perhaps this storm will have a silver lining and bring him rain!
While Uku Randmaa’s barnacle ridden Rustler 36 One and All was making 5.7 knots today, the Estonian has revised his ETA to round Cape Horn from December 17 to 19, 5th placed Tapio Lehtinen missed the opportunity two days ago to finally scrape clear the barnacles slowing his Finnish flagged Gaia 36 Asteria.
The weather was calm without wind, but just as he was about to dive overboard, two sharks arrived and circled the boat for the rest of the day. His only consolation came with the text message: 09 Dec 06:13 UTC: SHARKS EATING THE BARNACLES (I THINK) SO DIDN’T NEED TO SWIM.
Tapio has since reported a leak in the bow, which he is trying to fix, and though he now has the winds from the right direction for a change, he is still making slow progress across the South Pacific and must wait for the next calm to finish off what the sharks began.
Australian Mark Sinclair whose Lello 34 Coconut has also been plagued by barnacle growth, reached his home port of Adelaide last week just as his water supplies ran dry. He has decided to retire from the Race. Speaking by phone, he says that barnacles had slowed his yacht considerably, and though a team of friends had rallied round to clean the hull and make other repairs to the boat, he was concerned that reaching Cape Horn in early March was a little late in the season.
Barnacles also proved the downfall of Russia’s Igor Zaretskiy who put into Albany, Western Australia today to clean the hull of his Endurance 35 Esmeralda and replace a broken forestay. He blames the barnacles on a simple error of judgement made two days before the start from Les Sables d’Olonne, when he slipped his boat to wash the bottom and did not take the opportunity to apply another coat of antifouling.
Zaretskiy is now demoted to the Chichester Class for making a stop and hopes to set sail again on December 17. This leaves just 5 of the original 17 starters competing in the Golden Globe Race.
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.
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.