Globe40: Two down, One to go
Published on September 30th, 2022
Seven teams were at the beginning of the 2022-23 Globe40 on June 26, a multi-leg doublehanded round the world race in Class40s. With five duos having started the third leg from Mauritius to Auckland, New Zealand on September 11, here’s an update on September 30, 2022:
Yesterday, the Dutch crew on SEC HAYAI, Frans Budel and Ysbrand Endt, passed the longitude of Cape Leewin in south-west Australia, a 3,580-mile sea passage from Mauritius, which took them 16 days and 12 hours. They were followed just 8 hours later by the Japanese/ Italian crew on MILAI Around The World. SEC HAYAI was also the first to negotiate the gate at Eclipse Island, the course mark close to Cape Leeuwin.
In the legendary trilogy synonymous with round the world races, the GLOBE40 has now checked off two of the three great capes – Cape of Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin. This passage via Australia more or less marks the halfway point in the event’s second longest leg, which spans nearly 7,000 miles in all and rounds of in New Zealand. Only Cape Horn remains…
After their start from Mauritius , the competitors quickly plunged southwards in a bid to avoid a very wide zone of high pressure and light winds at the center of the Indian Ocean and track down the steady W’ly winds that they hoped would push them towards Australia.
The descent proved to be very tactical, with the crews positioning themselves further north or south, west or east than their rivals, according to their progress. As a result, four teams were constantly jockeying for the top spot, crossing and recrossing one another’s wakes just a mile apart at times, slap bang in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
After a week of this exhausting game in the light airs, and approaching the islands of Saint-Paul and Amsterdam in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF), the skippers had to dance to a rather different tune with the arrival of a meaty 30 to 40 knots of W’ly wind with one foot in the dreaded ‘Roaring Forties’, a zone that stretches from 40° to 50° S.
What followed was a week of slipping along at pace, the speedos spinning (24 knots posted by AHMAS) and some wild sleigh rides under the watchful eye of the albatrosses. A tantalizing taste of the Deep South then, whilst remaining inside the limit of 42° South set by the race to maintain the spirit of the category 1 race, which rules out the lower latitudes and the Antarctic zone.
As the fleet approached Australia, it had to climb northwards again to negotiate the compulsory passage mark of Eclipse Island, a small, deserted island just a few miles off the Australian coast. Light winds once again colored the racetrack and reaching this mark appeared to be a rather tough mission for a few days.
Ultimately, the two front runners were only able to open up a 48-hour lead at best ahead of the chasing pack. Very much on the attack behind, the crew on GRYPHON SOLO2 has been in great shape in this leg, while AMHAS lamented a few autopilot issues for a few days and the team on WHISKEY JACK has been battling hard despite multiple repairs to their ripped mainsail.
There is still a hefty chunk of racetrack left for everyone to cover with the 1,500-mile passage across the Great Australian Bight, the feared Bass Strait between Australia and Tasmania and the Tasman Sea, with another 1,000 miles to reach Cape Reinga to the north of New Zealand, prior to a final descent along the eastern seaboard of New Zealand’s North Island to reach Auckland.
During this leg, countless highs, and lows, have punctuated the daily lives of the crews competing in the GLOBE40, as evidenced by their daily exchanges with race headquarters:
GRYPHON SOLO 2: “No wind here, we are parked hard, which gave us a chance to dry our stuff and do some maintenance, and we were able to run a messenger line through the mast so we can have a fractional halyard again. It got dark while I was splicing, so I will go up there tomorrow again. A bit of warmer weather was pleasant, but the no wind scenario is getting to our heads.”
AMHAS: “We have finally replaced our non-functional autopilot with our onboard spare. The spare is a new version… It’s old school and lacks sophisticated complexity, integrated logic and a multitude of external sensors. However, the KH7000 is incredibly reliable, strong, and accurate. It only requires an endless stream of caffeine, freeze-dried food, cookies (preferably French) and the occasional bathroom break. The KH7000: ‘Put me in coach, I’m ready to play’.”
SEC HAYAI: “A good afternoon to you all from a cold, wet, windy, but also very beautiful Southern Ocean, with a lot of albatrosses. We were glad we could gybe this morning! We are longing for some higher temperatures, so we can get really dry in the boat. As you can imagine, everything is wet from condensation. The only two dry places are our foul weather gear, or our sleeping bags. Everything else is wet (and salty) Haha!”
WHISKEY JACK: “Whiskey Jack has been slow since yesterday evening. The reason is that when taking down our spinnaker it wrapped (twisted) badly around the Solent stay. Jeronimo made a trip up the mast and after many hours fighting the spinnaker it is still around the stay but secured. During the exercise we also crash-gybed and the mainsail tore on a spreader AND a winch in the cockpit fell to pieces! So, after a very busy night we are now resting. We will remain quite slow as we need better conditions to solve all these problems. The domino effect in full force!”
MILAI : “Today we pushed to get closer to our rivals on Sec Hayai. This morning our boat was an airplane, reaching with 30kt of wind. We had an average speed of 14kt with a top speed of up to 18kt. Maybe more. Amazing. Unfortunately on Sec Hayai they are really fast too. Bravo to our mates!! We’ll keep pushing to catch up with them.”
Note: As the scoring format gives extra value to the longer legs, Leg 3 is similar to Leg 2 as it is worth a coefficient 3. The leg is approximately 7,000 miles in distance and will take between 30 and 35 days.
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 – September 11
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