The Golden Globe Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (FRA) is now in a strong position to stay ahead of second placed Mark Slats (NED) and at the top of the high pressure system that may propel him clear into the Bay of Biscay for the final run to the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.
However, this will all depend on the movement of the no wind zone in the center of the system which could slide in any direction and change the game as forecasting the center is always hard to predict.
If Van Den Heede can run clear of the center, he is left with a straight course to the finish with winds on the beam or behind all the way. The challenge then is simply how strong and how hard the French skipper will push his boat and damaged mast. The wind, which could reach 50 knots, will be coming on his weak port side where the mast damage creates risk.
With 836 nm to the finish, and a lead of 251 nm over Slats (as of 18:00 UTC), his ETA is now January 30.
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.
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 22, 2019; Day 206