With less than 75 miles between the leaders in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, the winner of the event may be decided by time penalties, says GGR chairman, Don McIntyre

Time penalties could be the deciding factor in the 2022 Golden Globe Race.

Currently, just 72 miles separate Kirsten Neuschafer and Abhilash Tomy; Simon Curwen, who is in the Chichester Class, is just two miles ahead of Neuschafer.

All three solo skippers are in the trade winds, and it looks to be a close fight for line honours.

a sailor with a sail up sailing his boat

Simon Curwen is currently two miles ahead of Kirsten Neuschafer. Credit: John Marr

But, there are reports of a diesel leak from Tomy’s Rustler 36, Bayanat. It is not clear how much fuel has been lost.

Under the Notice of Race, the fuel tanks on every boat are topped up pre-start to full.

At the end of the 2022 Golden Globe Race, tanks are topped up again noting litres consumed. For every litre consumed over 25 litres, a two hour time penalty will be added to the total elapsed time to calculate the official finish time of the entrant.

Neuschafer is in the comfortable position of having received a 30 litre fuel allowance after rescuing fellow skipper, Tapio Lehtinen. His Gaia 36, Asteria sank 450 miles south east of South Africa. She also has a 35 hour time compensation.

Tomy, who was the first to respond to Lehtinen’s distress call, also received a 12 hour time compensation.

Sailor Abhilash Tomy holding a line

Abhilash Tomy is less than 75 miles behind Kirsten Neuschafer and Simon Curwen. Credit: Nora Havel/GGR

‘I am going to ask Abhilash next time we talk to him about how much diesel fuel he has used or lost as there are reports of a diesel leak in the boat. I don’t know whether he has lost 10 litres or 60 litres, but, whatever happens, whenever an entrant arrives in Les Sables d’Olonne, we fill the tanks up and if we put in 100 litres of fuel, they get 25 litres of fuel for free, but if they have used 75 litres of fuel, every litre has a two hour time penalty, so that is 150 hours, which is roughly 6 days of adjustment to your finishing time,’ explained the GGR chairman, Don McIntyre.

‘Whatever finishing times there are, that will be a provisional time until we have worked out the adjustment for the fuel penalty, if they have used over 25 litres, and the time allowance ,’ he said.

Continues below…

Neuschafer, Tomy and Curwen are all having to deal with Sargassum seaweed, which is wrapping around their windvane rudders; the problem is exacerbated by their boats moving so slowly.

‘There is so much Sargassum weed that it is incredible,’ said Curwen, aboard his Biscay 36, Clara.

‘It is attaching its self to the Hydrovane rudder and stopping the rudder so it is no longer working. It is quicker to sail the boat on balance and forget the Hydrovane some of the time, because you clear the weed and 10 minutes later it is covered again. I have just been reading Robin Knox-Johnston (A World of my Own) who said the Sargassum weed wasn’t an issue at 40°North. We had it before we crossed the equator. It has got a lot worse in the last 54 years,’ noted Curwen.

Michael Guggenberger will have to carry out a four hour time penalty. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ GGR2022

Michael Guggenberger will have to carry out a four hour time penalty in the trade winds for sailing into the Southern Ocean exclusion zone. Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ GGR2022

Meanwhile, Michael Guggenberger, who is currently in third place, is battling through the doldrums aboard his Biscay 36 ketch, Nuri.

He will also face time penalties, having dipped into the exclusion zone while sailing towards Cape Horn.

Once he is in the trade winds, where conditions are more stable, he will have to complete a four hour time penalty by sailing south of a given line for four hours and returning within 60 miles of the point where he first turned south.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Bagshaw, who is in the Chichester Class, has said he is ‘quietly confident’ that he will avoid further storms.

The South African skipper of the OE32, Olleanna, has sailed through more heavy weather than any other entrant.

‘Saturday, Sunday and half of Monday – I felt like these were the three worst days I have ever had at sea. It was really bad. I had very big seas of 6-7 m swells and I had it from two directions – from the northwest and the southwest; it was horrible. The boat took a little bit of damage. A wave took out the plywood vane of my Wind Pilot but I fixed that with a spare in a few minutes, and the welded part of the bracket which holds the windvane moved by 10° but I have now fixed that,’ said Bagshaw.

A man wearing a cap sailing

Jeremy Bagshaw is racing the smallest boat in the fleet, the OE32,  Olleanna. Credit: Macmedia2021/ Simon McDonnell

Fellow Chichester Class entrant, Ian Herbert-Jones is still in the Roaring Forties, having successfully repaired his broken Hydrovane windvane steering which was damaged in a storm while the British skipper was rounding Cape Horn.

He anchored at Picton Island and made repairs to his Tradewind 35, Puffin, with the help of Caroline and Mark van de Weg on SY Jonathan, part of Jonathan Adventure Sailing.

‘We are in good shape. Mark and Caroline were amazing, and a great example of the kindness of strangers. With their help, we just got everything sorted.
We fixed the Hydrovane, the engine had failed but we got it working again. I even managed to repair the split in the mainsail using Mark and Caroline’s sewing machine,’ explained Herbert-Jones.

Ian Herbet-Jones wearing sunglasses helming his boat

Ian Herbet-Jones is now back in the south Atlantic. Credit: Ian Herbet-Jones

‘Honestly, I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. The night before [I arrived at Picton Island] was pretty awful to say the least. It was epic. It was very hard to get there [to the anchorage at Picton Island], and I am not sure I would have made it without the help of Mark and Jonathan. It was amazing.’

British solo sailor Guy Waites who is out of the 2022 Golden Globe Race, has now rounded Cape Horn.

Waites stopped at Cape Town to remove barnacles from the hull of his Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha, before stopping in Hobart to replace a liferaft; he also didn’t make Hobart before the race gate closed on 31 January 2023.

Despite being disqualified, he decided to continue sailing the race route.

Current positions of the Golden Globe Race 2022 skippers on 6 April 2022 at 1200 UTC

Kirsten Neuschafer, (South Africa), Cape George 36 cutter, Minnehaha
Abhilash Tomy, (India), Rustler 36, Bayanat
Michael Guggenberger, (Austria), Biscay 36, Nuri

Chichester Class:

Simon Curwen, (UK), Biscay 36, Clara
Jeremy Bagshaw, (South Africa), OE32, Olleanna
Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Tradewind 35, Puffin


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

Enjoyed reading Golden Globe Race: Could the winner be decided by time penalties?

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