Ronstan

Golden Globe: As the knife twists

Published on January 9th, 2019

(January 9, 2019; Day 193) – Golden Globe Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (FRA) continues to drift along in the North Atlantic which the forecast suggests may not change until tomorrow when the wind will finally increases. Positioned between the Canary and Cape Verde Islands, he will break away then to the North with Mark Slats (NED) now 294 nm behind with 2045 nm to the finish (as of 1600).

Slats is maintaining speeds of between 5-6 knots every hour of every day, and would hope to get close enough to the leader to reach his new weather system and then chase him down. It looks like he may achieve his first goal, but Van Den Heede is a fighter with great experience and knows this part of the world intimately. Nothing is certain for now.

The northeasterly forecast suggests Van Den Heede may be on starboard tack for many days ahead. This is the strong side of his mast, but you can be sure he will be checking it every few hours in the last run to the finish, which he expects to be on January 26.

Slats has a new problem as his water supplies are getting very low. He has just 15 or 20 liters left and the trades usually offer no rain, so he may need to make that last until the finish later this month.

NOTE: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede absorbed an 18-hour time penalty as a result of his actions when he sustained mast damage during a storm 1,900 miles west of Cape Horn. His mast remains structurally unsound which may impact his performance for the remaining miles.

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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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