Golden Globe: Aiming at the Hobart gate

Published on December 11th, 2022

Attrition continues for the 2022-23 Golden Globe Race as the field of 16 starters is down to nine solo circumnavigators. The latest to call quits was Arnaud Gaist (FRA) who had been plagued by rigging issues along with barnacle growth slowing his progress. With another 150 days of food on board, he is planning to head to the Caribbean before returning to Les Sables d’Olonne, France. 

At the front of the fleet is Simon Curwen (GBR) who has 1000nm to reach the next mark of the course along Hobart, Australia. He reports everything is well onboard but he still has a chafing issue with his halyards. Every few days he must move the wear spot and swap them over to stop them failing but he feels good about everything.

Curwen holds a 720nm lead on Kirsten Neuschäfer (RSA), though she will receive a 35 hour credit for helping in the rescue of Tapio Lehtinen (FIN). All appears well with Neuschäfer as she enjoys navigating with the sextant and not sailing with computers and screens along with weather forecasts, instead setting a course more by feel for the weather.

It has been standard for the leaders to extend south for better winds until they reach the Exclusion Zone which marks the southern limit for all entrants. It is established in consultation with the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres in case an entrant is in distress.

Sail GP

If they were too far south, it makes it extremely difficult to provide assets to an effective rescue. Very few ships transit the lower latitudes and they rarely go south of 40º S latitude. The zone has thus been drawn at 44º S. Any entrant crossing that boundary suffers a three hour time penalty for every hour inside the zone.

Neuschäfer broke the fleet’s 7-day distance record, posting a whopping 1143.7 miles on December 1. Doing so, she now holds all the records of the fleet including the 24-hours distance at 218.9 miles, and the 4-hour average speed at 9.8 knots.

Sitting third is Abhilash Tomy (IND) who was happy to have exorcised his southern oceans devils, passing the Cape of Good Hope and the longitude of Cape Comorin (the southern tip of India) 3000 miles north with Bayanat. This was the area where he experienced the rollover, dismasting, serious back injury, and rescue during the 2018-19 Golden Globe.

The arrival time to the Hobart gate for Simon Curwen is estimated to be December 19, followed by Kirsten Neuschäfer on December 26, and Abhilash Tomy on December 30.

After his rescue on November 19, Lehtinen was dropped off by the M.V. Darya Gayatri in Jakarta on December 6, 19 days after his rescue in the Southern Indian Ocean. He is scheduled to fly home to Finland on December 13.

Credit for helping with rescue of Tapio Lehtinen:
• Kirsten Neuschäfer: 35 hours + 30 litres of fuel
• Abhilash Tomy: 12hrs

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2022 GGR competitors:
Abhilash Tomy (43) / India / Rustler 36
Elliott Smith (27) / USA / Gale Force 34
Ertan Beskardes (60) / UK / Rustler 36
Guy Waites (54) / UK / Tradewind 35
Ian Herbert Jones (52) / UK / Tradewind 35
Jeremy Bagshaw (59) / South Africa / OE32
Kirsten Neuschäfer (39) / South Africa / Cape George 36
Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36
Simon Curwen (63) / UK / Biscay 36

Retired
Edward Walentynowicz (68) / Canada / Rustler 36 (dropped out, Sept. 8)
Guy deBoer (66) / USA / Tashiba 36 (ran aground, Sept. 16)
Mark Sinclair (63) / Australia / Lello 34 (retired in Lanzarote, Sept. 22)
Pat Lawless (66) / Ireland / Saga 36 (retired in Cape Town, Nov. 9)
Damien Guillou (39) / France / Rustler 36 (retired in Cape Town, Nov. 14)
Tapio Lehtinen (64) / Finland / Gaia 36 Masthead sloop (sank off Cape Town, Nov. 18)
Arnaud Gaist (50) / France / BARBICAN 33 MKII-long keel version (retired near Saint Helena, Dec. 9)

About the 2022 Golden Globe Race
On September 4, 2022, the third edition of the Golden Globe Race started from Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Sixteen skippers will face eight months of isolation sailing 30,000 miles across five oceans solo non-stop and unassisted.

In 1968, while man was preparing to take his first steps on the moon, a mild mannered and modest young man was setting out on his own record breaking voyage of discovery. He had entered the original Golden Globe. Nine men started that first solo non-stop sailing race around the World. Only one finished. He was 29 year old Sir Robin Knox Johnston. History was made. Navigating only with a sextant, paper charts and an accurate and reliable time piece, Sir Robin navigated around the world.

In 2018, to celebrate 50 years since that first record breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It instantly gained traction with adventurers, captivated by the spirit and opportunity. Eighteen started with five finishers.

To embrace the original race, competitors must sail in production boats between 32 and 36 feet overall and designed prior to 1988 that have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. Additionally, sailors have limited communication equipment and can use only sextants, paper charts, wind up clocks, and cassette tapes for music.

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