British skipper Simon Curwen is continuing to lead the Golden Globe Race, but some of his rivals are making the most of a small low pressure system to catch up!
A lack of wind south west of the Cape Verde islands is causing frustrations for Golden Globe Race leader Simon Curwen, and his nearest rival, Tapio Lehtinen.
In the last 24 hours, they have sailed just 61 and 54 miles respectively, through calms, squalls and showers.
‘Hot and slow again. Thats the menu for the week ahead too,’ tweeted Curwen yesterday, aboard his Biscay 36, Clara.
Meanwhile Pat Lawless, Kirsten Neuschafer and Abhilash Tomy are closer to the African coast, and are making the most of a small low pressure system between Cape Verde and Gambia, allowing them to head south faster.
They will be hoping to make gains ahead of the wind returning from the north.
‘Plenty Rain Squalls Pushing Me SxSW. Wind From The NW 20kt Hope I Get Few More Days Like This,’ said Lawless, who believes his Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel, is faster downwind than the Rustler 36. Only time will tell if his faith in his boat is justified.
The biggest winner this week has been French skipper Damien Guillou, who is now catching up with the middle of the fleet, having returned to Les Sables d’Olonne just days after the start to make repairs to his Hydrovane windvane steering system. The decision cost him six days on the rest of the fleet.
In the last 24 hours, he has sailed his Rustler 36, PRB 127 miles and is likely to pass South African, Jeremy Bagshaw, in the next few days. Bagshaw is becalmed in his OE32, Olleanna, the smallest boat in the race.
All of the skippers have now passed through the Lanzarote photo gate and will now have to think about crossing the Doldrums before the fleet heads towards Trindade, 680 miles off the Brazilian coast. They must leave the island to port before heading to the second photo gate at Cape Town.
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It is three and a half weeks since the Golden Globe skippers crossed the start line and some are already facing problems with their gear.
British sailor Ertan Beskardes had considered stopping at São Vicente island in Cape Verde due to significant electrical failure onboard his Rustler 36, Lazy Otter. A week after the start, there was a small electrical fire onboard which he contained. Now, although he is recharging his batteries using wind and solar power, the batteries are not holding their charge, although his engine starting battery is fine.
‘The batteries fill up later in the evening and anything I need to charge up , I charge up then, like the YB tracker, and then during the night the only thing I keep on is my VHF radio; the voltage drops quickly over night. I am trying to be prudent [with power] and I just use what is necessary,’ he said.
Beskardes had decided to try to make repairs while underway and is continuing towards Cape Town.
Meanwhile Finn Tapio Lehtinen has blown out the heaviest of his spinnakers, ripping it from top to bottom. He doesn’t have a sewing machine, but still has four more spinnakers onboard his Gaia 36, Asteria.
‘ I was sailing with spinnaker all day and it was gusting and I was thinking I should take it down. I took a short nap and I woke up and looked at the compass at the end of the bunk and I realised the wind direction had changed a lot and I knew I had to take it down as I had to gybe. When I went up on the deck, the spinnaker was next to me in the water. There was 1.5 m of the spinnaker at the top of the line and the rest was in the water. I had to wrestle for one hour to get it up from the water,’ he said.
Former Clipper Round the World skipper, Guy Waites has also had to deal with a jammed spinnaker pole car, which he has now fixed.
‘spi[nnaker] pole car unjammed, stripped, rebuilt with threadlock, up and running at 100%,’ he tweeted yesterday.
Guy de Boer, who has retired from the race after hitting rocks off Fuerteventure, is now waiting for an assessment of his Tashiba 36, Spirit.
The boat, one of three double enders in the fleet, sustained a 3m x 0.5m hole in the hull during the grounding. The yacht was craned onto a truck and then moved to a boatyard in Lanzarote for repairs. Sadly, around $60-70,000 worth of equipment was stolen from the boat while it was aground.
‘I reckon Spirit can be fixed, but I am not going to enter the Chichester Class [for entrants which make one stop]. It will take 60 days minimum [for repairs]. Initially, I am thinking of sailing her back to the States,’ de Boer told Yachting Monthly.
‘I just deal with the stuff that life throws at me. I am really disappointed. It is too soon to talk about the 2026 Golden Globe Race, but, you know, I wanted to do the race; I wanted to win the race. My boat, once I got into the Atlantic, was the fastest boat there, so we will see,’ added the American sailor.
Current positions of the Golden Globe Race 2022 skippers on 28 September 2022 at 0800 UTC
Simon Curwen, (UK), Biscay 36, Clara
Tapio Lehtinen, (Finland), Gaia 36, Asteria
Pat Lawless, (Ireland), Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel
Abhilash Tomy, (India), Rustler 36, Bayanat
Kirsten Neuschafer, (South Africa), Cape George 36 cutter, Minnehaha
Michael Guggenberger, (Austria), Biscay 36, Nuri
Ertan Beskardes, (UK), Rustler 36, Lazy Otter
Guy Waites (UK), Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha
Jeremy Bagshaw, (South Africa), OE32, Olleanna
Elliot Smith, (USA), Gale Force 34, Second Wind
Damien Guillou, (France), Rustler 36, PRB
Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Tradewind 35, Puffin
Arnaud Gaist, (France), Barbican 33 Mk 2, Hermes Phoning
Edward Walentynowicz, (Canada), Rustler 36, Noah’s Jest
Guy deBoer, (USA), Tashiba 36, Spirit
Mark Sinclair (Australia), Lello 34, Coconut
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