Midpoint of Globe40’s longest leg
Published on August 3rd, 2022
(August 3, 2022) – The multi-leg Globe40 doublehanded race around the world in Class40s began its second leg on July 17, taking the five-boat fleet on the 7000nm course from Cape Verde Islands to Mauritius. With an expectation for the leaders to finish within 35 days, they have now reached the halfway point which equates to an average speed of 9.1 knots for the top duos.
The first week of racing involved a long sprint towards the African coast in search of a SE’ly trade wind, whilst the second section towards the South Atlantic consisted of a seemingly endless beat spanning nearly two weeks, with a brief but lively passage through the doldrums and across the equator.
A fairly relaxed section of racetrack ensued with an average of around 15 knots of breeze and balmy temperatures offshore of Brazil, together with a few little tactical pitfalls dotted along the course.
For the past few days, the skippers have launched onto the third phase of this epic leg, having gradually gained some ground to the east to get around the Saint Helena High and make towards South Africa, which is still some 1,500 miles ahead of their bows.
Currently sailing downwind, the pace has accelerated across the fleet and the skippers have had to raise their game as they try to adapt their strategies to what is a complex situation, slinking along in a corridor of breeze between two windless zones of high pressure.
Inevitably, the duos will be keen to make hay while the sun shines as the door at the end of the corridor may well be closed, leaving them to punch into headwinds with the threat of their first gale under the tip of South Africa.
At the front is a fierce duel between MILAI Around The World (JPN) and AMHAS (USA) with just twenty miles or so separating the teams, which is precious little after 3,600 miles of racing. Astern of them, WHISKEY JACK (CAN) and GRYPHON SOLO 2 (USA) are embroiled in an equally closely fought contest. In fact, their proximity, just six miles apart yesterday evening, meant that they were able to speak to one another via VHF.
Meantime, SEC HAYAI (NED) remains in an intermediary position between the two groups, lying in wait for a favorable weather scenario, which would enable them to catch up with the head of the fleet again.
For the crews, the long days of T-shirts in the trade wind are over as the temperatures begin to plummet and the days become shorter. Everyone’s minds are now focused on the next major passage around the tip of South Africa.
A key milestone in this race, it comes with some trepidation, even though it will be followed by a swift climb up towards Madagascar, Réunion, and Mauritius. In theory, there is less of a risk in this final section of the course of encountering strong winds, but it may well prove complicated to negotiate given the multiple weather strategies required to hook onto the numerous and diverse systems.
“Halfway, almost three weeks of monitoring the position reports, tweaking the polars, monitoring the grib files… the fundamentals that are par for the course,” notes race director Christophe Gaumont. “But also three weeks of sharing the adventure of the crews at sea, experiencing a similar temperature range, a mixture of the European heatwave and the trade wind of the southern hemisphere.
“Over time, the regulatory daily email has been fleshed out, going from a cryptic ‘All’s well aboard, nothing to report’ to longer sentences, proper exchanges to talk about technical complications firstly, then onto daily life. But also the ups and downs now, the doubts and the little pleasures of life aboard.
“Time has passed, a sense of trust has been built up, and we are entering the moment of truth, with the approaching chill, the longer nights and with the journey into the unknown as the lows roll in, the exchanges are becoming increasingly frequent. It’s all about keeping in contact with land for some, keeping in contact with the sea for the rest of us. Still another half of the course to go before we hook up with one another again in Mauritius!”
The inaugural Globe40 is an eight leg round the world race for doublehanded Class40 teams. As all legs count toward the cumulative score, the longer distances more heavily weighted. The first leg, which took seven to eight days to complete, had a coefficient 1 while the second leg is ranked as a coefficient 3 leg. The race is expected to finish March 2023. Seven teams were ready to compete, but a Leg 1 start line collision eliminated The Globe En Solidaire with Eric and Léo Grosclaude (FRA) while the Moroccan team of Simon and Omar Bensenddik on IBN BATTOUTA retired before the Leg 2 start.
Tangier, Morocco – June 26
Leg 2 start: Sao Vincente, Cape Verde Islands – July 17
Leg 3 start: Port Louis, Mauritius
Leg 4 start: Auckland, New Zealand
Leg 5 start: Papeete, French Polynesia
Leg 6 start: Ushuaia, Argentina
Leg 7 start: Recife, Brazil
Leg 8 start: St Georges, Grenada