Jean-Luc Van Den Heede endured another tough night with 45knots winds and 6-7m seas but his Rustler 36 Matmut is now within 100 miles of the finish line at Les Sables d’Olonne and the 73-year old Frenchman is expected to arrive to a huge welcome at 08:00 UTC tomorrow (09:00 French time, January 29).
His great rival, Dutchman Mark Slats sailing a second Rustler 36 Ophen Maverick, narrowed the lead by 91 miles over the weekend, but remains 312 miles astern. He is not now expected to finish until late on Thursday (January 31), experiencing another Bay of Biscay gale just before his arrival.
The weather in the Bay of Biscay is forecast to moderate today, and barring light winds at dawn, should provide good sailing conditions all the way to the finish.
3,600 miles astern, Estonian Uku Randmaa sailing a third Rustler 36 One and All, is making the most of his last day of SE trade winds, sailing at 6.6 knots today, and is expected to run into the Dolrdums sooner than he expected. This marks the start of a frustrating period of calms, squalls and thunderstorms as he makes his way to his next goal, the Equator 500 miles north.
Fouth placed American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar sailing his Tradewind 35 Puffin is still enjoying the SE tradewinds but making 4.6knots because the Trades are lighter than usual. These will hold for a few more days, so he has a chance to close on Randmaa once more.
Finland’s Tapio Lehtinen is still in the Southern Ocean sailing at 4.4knots some 850 miles from Cape Horn. There is plenty of strong Southern Ocean weather blowing at 45knots+ but his Gaia 36 Astreria is covered in barnacles which is slowing her progress.
This additional drag has cost Tapio the lead in his virtual race against Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Suhaili from 50 years ago. Suhaili’s relative position on January 26th was just 8 miles behind Asteria in terms of distance to finish, and she would now be more than 100 miles ahead.
Ertan Beskardes (GBR) Rustler 36 Lazy Otter
Kevin Farebrother (AUS) Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha
Nabil Amra (PAL) Biscay 36 Liberty II
Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB
Antoine Cousot (FRA) Biscay 36 Métier Intérim
Are Wiig (NOR) OE32 Olleanna
Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya
Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
Francesco Cappelletti (ITA) Endurance 35 007
Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland
Susie Goodall (GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight
Mark Sinclair (AUS) Lello 34 Coconut
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.
Event details – Entry list – Tracker – Facebook
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.
January 28, 2019; Day 212