Final week of Golden Globe Race

Published on April 24th, 2023

(April 24, 2023) – The Golden Globe Race front runners are approaching the Bay of Biscay with 369 nm remaining to the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Kirsten Neuschäfer (RSA), who is leading by 90 miles, and with her 23-hour compensation for the rescue of Tapio Lehtinen, looks unbeatable in the final week of racing

However, they will need to negotiate the heavy traffic in the Bay after months sailing empty oceans, and runner-up Abhilash Tomy (IND) on Bayanat is not slowing down.

Both have steady downwind conditions, but in two days the winds drop and become much lighter from the West and then South on the next day. The two different boat designs act differently in different weather, but with just a few days to run in light westerlies from Thursday (April 27) onwards, it is a huge challenge for Tomy. The finish will be under a spinnaker and a timid sun, so it all points to a Neuschäfer victory.

ETAs are still to be refined after the upcoming light winds but Neuschäfer could cross the line early on April 28, followed by Tomy less than a day later. If Neuschäfer was crossing the line in first place, she would be the first woman to win a round the world race by the three great capes, including solo and fully crewed races, non-stop or with stops, and the first South African sailor to win a round-the-world event.

She would join the famous Bertie Reed (RSA) in the South African Hall of Fame, and Isabelle Autissier (FRA) who in 1994 famously led the BOC Challenge after her win in the first leg before dismasting in December in the Pacific, 920 miles SE from Adelaide. She would also join Sir Robin Knox Johnston (GBR) and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (FRA) as the winner of the Golden Globe Race.

“Who would have guessed that after 233 days alone we have a photo finish,” said Don McIntyre, GGR Founder. “Everyone who reaches the finish line of the Golden Globe is a winner yet Kirsten and Abhilash have played out an epic battle right to the end. The GGR is all about the stories and this one is epic!”

Not to be forgotten is the impressive recovery of Simon Curwen (GBR) in Chichester Class who could arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne as early as April 27. He led the GGR fleet from Cape Finisterre until January 31 when he was forced to divert to Puerto Montt for repairs. Despite the delay, his Biscay 36 has been fast in the Atlantic to now lead the fleet but does not qualify to win the main trophy.

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Finish times will be adjusted as race organizers have issued credit for helping with the rescue of Tapio Lehtinen:
• Kirsten Neuschäfer: 35 hours + 30 litres of fuel
• Abhilash Tomy: 12hrs

2022 GGR Class:
1. Kirsten Neuschäfer (39) / South Africa / Cape George 36 – “MINNEHAHA”
2. Abhilash Tomy (43) / India / Rustler 36 – “BAYANAT”
3. Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36 – “NURI”

2022 GGR Chichester Class:*
1. Simon Curwen (63) / UK / Biscay 36 – “CLARA” (will stop to repair windvane)
2. Jeremy Bagshaw (59) / South Africa / OE32 – “OLLEANNA” (stopped in Hobart to clean hull)
* Competitors shift to this class by making one stop.

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)
Ertan Beskardes (60) / UK / Rustler 36 (retired in Cape Town, Nov. 16)
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)
Elliott Smith (27) / USA / Gale Force 34 (retired, Dec. 20)
Guy Waites (54) / UK / Tradewind 35 (stopped in Cape Town to clean/paint hull; retired in Hobart after losing his liferaft, Feb. 10)
Ian Herbert Jones (52) / UK / Tradewind 35 – “PUFFIN” (rolled/dismasted northeast of Cape Horn, April 10)

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 before finishing in Les Sables d’Olonne. Along the route there are several marks of the course and media requirements.

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.

Source: GGR

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