Golden Globe: Upwind along Africa
Published on January 14th, 2019
(January 14, 2019; Day 198) – Mark Slats (NED) continues to nip away at the margin of Golden Globe Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (FRA), reducing the lead by 96 nm to now be at 101 nm with 1709 nm to the finish (as of 20:00).
Both skippers are dealing with northerly headwinds as they ascend the North Atlantic. They are effectively splitting from each other, with Slats on port tack toward the Canary Islands while Van Den Heede is on Starboard and on a perpendicular course to his destination of Les Sables d’Olonne, France.
Both boats report nearly 5 knots of boat speed, with the question being whether Van Den Heede’s westerly course will set up better for the clockwise rotation of the Azores High and deliver improved wind angles for his final approach to the finish. As for Slats, his course toward the African coast will face northerly winds for the next week.
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.
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.