The gap is narrowing amongst the skippers at the front of the Golden Globe Race fleet as they sail towards the equator
‘It has sure been frustrating,’ said a despondent Neuschafer, who has chosen to sail an easterly route up the Atlantic, away from the rhumb line.
‘I am kind of thinking I should have gone further east although I am not sure that would have helped me because I don’t have an overview of the system. But I think it is a daft thing my decision to have gone east when everyone was questioning why I was going east and now I am regretting it.’
In the last 24 hours, the 39-year-old sailor has found wind again, and has sailed 137 miles, averaging 4.8 knots. She is 3,870 miles from the finish at Les Sables d’Olonne, and is still in a windward position, giving her a better angle to cut across in the northeast trades.
Neuschafer said there had been no further deterioration with the bowsprit on her Cape George 36 cutter, Minnehaha. Last week, she noticed the stainless steel cap on the top of the bowsprit was bending slightly, and she was sailing more conservatively while monitoring it.
The 43-year-old has been monitoring the barnacle growth on his boat.
‘I have to make up my mind if I want to dive to clean them or not. I put a camera over the side and there is no growth on the sides but right on the bottom of the keel.’
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In the race to the finish, details, like barnacle growth, could make all the difference.
Simon Curwen, who is in the Chichester Class for entrants who make one stop, is currently in with a chance for line honours in the race.
The UK solo skipper is 200 miles behind Tomy and 350 miles behind Neuschafer, and has been sailing in near perfect reaching conditions, with south easterly winds.
Ultimately, it might well come down to the luck of the draw as all of the skippers need to navigate the doldrums after crossing the equator.
Third placed Michael Guggenberger has also had his fair share of frustrations this week; a high pressure system has brought light winds, and although he is now underway again, more light winds are expected in the next 24 hours.
Time in the calms has allowed the Austrian sailor to clean his Biscay 36 ketch, Nuri.
‘I have had some productive days cleaning the boat and getting everything tidy again. I have got clean boat, clean clothing, clean skipper, and clean [boat] bottom. My job list is kind of empty,’ he shared.
One of the biggest winners of the week has been South African Jeremy Bagshaw, who has rounded Cape Horn and is now heading to the east of the Falkland Islands.
The Chichester Class sailor passed 16 miles off the landmark.
‘It was squally and rainy with very thick cloud. I got a position from the lighthouse keeper earlier in the morning and I followed my DR [dead reckoning] all the way in. I was very careful with DR and then I gybed when I thought I was more or less the longitude of Cape Horn until I could see the lights and I was able to get bearings on them.’
Meanwhile fourth placed Ian Herbert-Jones is making steady progress towards Cape Horn; he has 570 miles to go, and should round the milestone next week.
Current positions of the Golden Globe Race 2022 skippers on 17 March 2022 at 1100 UTC
Kirsten Neuschäfer, (South Africa), Cape George 36 cutter, Minnehaha
Abhilash Tomy, (India), Rustler 36, Bayanat
Michael Guggenberger, (Austria), Biscay 36, Nuri
Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Tradewind 35, Puffin
Simon Curwen, (UK), Biscay 36, Clara
Jeremy Bagshaw, (South Africa), OE32, Olleanna
Edward Walentynowicz, (Canada), Rustler 36, Noah’s Jest
Guy deBoer, (USA), Tashiba 36, Spirit
Mark Sinclair (Australia), Lello 34, Coconut
Pat Lawless, (Ireland), Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel
Damien Guillou, (France), Rustler 36, PRB
Ertan Beskardes, (UK), Rustler 36, Lazy Otter
Tapio Lehtinen, (Finland), Gaia 36, Asteria
Arnaud Gaist, (France), Barbican 33 Mk 2, Hermes Phoning
Elliot Smith, (USA), Gale Force 34, Second Wind
Guy Waites (UK), Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha
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