The leaders in the 2022 Golden Globe Race are now heading to Cape Town having kept Trindade to port over the weekend, but first they must get around the South Atlantic High
Cape Town is the second photo gate in the 2022 Golden Globe Race.
To get there, the 13 skippers left in the race must get around the South Atlantic High for the smoothest run to the South African port or face beating into unrelenting easterly head winds for thousands of miles.
This means running south into the Roaring Forties before making the critical decision to turn left, hopefully for a downwind sail to Cape Town.
Some of the entrants have a weather fax on board; others don’t, and will have to rely on barometric pressure and wind direction to help them make the right move.
UK sailor Simon Curwen, who has led the fleet almost from the race start just over six weeks ago, was the first to pass the Atlantic island of Trindade.
The Mini Transat veteran had hoped to anchor off the island to repair his broken genoa halyard, but it didn’t go according to plan.
‘There was not enough shelter behind a small little island so I hove to as there was no chance of anchoring. I was up the mast for a couple of hours, but the trouble was I was just getting bashed into the mast. I got to the top [of the mast] and most of the way back down again, but my bosun’s chair started falling apart and I fell partially out of it and I had to cut myself free and free climb down. I lost my mousing line, which I may be able to recover. At the moment, I am not much better off than I was,’ explained Curwen, who is now looking to make repairs in the shelter of Cape Town’s harbour.
For now though he is continuing to sail south, closely followed by Abhilash Tomy, who has been making impressive speeds in his Rustler 36, Bayanat. He has gained 210 miles on Curwen in the last seven days.
Tomy has also had to deal with a marine gas leak on board, which he has now fixed.
‘I don’t think I’ve lost much,’ he shared, which will be a relief for the former Indian Naval Commander, who regularly cooks popcorn to keep himself motivated.
But Tomy admits he is struggling with the lack of information available to skippers.
‘I have no idea where the South Atlantic High is. The only information I am getting is from a weather forecast which I am getting from Cape Town. I don’t have a clear weather picture, and I have not seen a ship for the last two weeks,’ said the 43-year-old sailor.
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Both Finnish sailor Tapio Lehtinen and Pat Lawless of Ireland have also passed by Trindade.
Lehtinen tweeted that he found the island ‘majestic and beautiful’, although has been disappointed by the lack of marine life.
‘A dorado in the wake this morning. But still no pilot fish at the bow, still no whales, no Portuguese men-of-war, few birds & no mammals by Trindade. Is the Atlantic dying?’
Meanwhile, South African skipper Kirsten Neuschafer has sailed closer to the South American coastline than the other front runners. Like many of the skippers, she has not received much weather information and is hoping that by being closer to land, she will receive a weather fax to help her navigate the best course.
All of the skippers have now crossed the equator, and UK sailor Ertan Beskardes is hoping to pass Trindade by Thursday. He is much happier following days of frustration trapped in the doldrums. Austrian Michael Guggenberger is closely following him, with French favourite Damien Guillou likely to pass Trindade later today or tomorrow. He is a good 700 miles ahead of them, and is very much in racing mode, and has made top speeds of 170 miles a day.
For others progress is slower. Guy Waites‘s Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha has gooseneck barnacles. He has not had a chance to remove then yet, but he is not worried.
‘The boat seems to be moving fairly freely so I am not too worried at the moment about the situation. I will have to see how it goes later on in the game,’ shared Waites, who said he has also had ‘no joy with the weather fax’, although he is regularly talking to Guggenberger, Tomy, Beskardes, Arnaud Gaist, Ian Herbert-Jones and Elliot Smith over the HF radio.
Ian Herbert-Jones finds the networking between the skippers one of the highlights, having had a long voyage through the doldrums.
‘The HF is working really well, and I am talking to other entrants, normally twice a day. I am hearing from nearly everyone although not from Simon [Curwen] or Kirsten [Neuschafer], but I know Simon has had HF issues from the outset,’ said Herbert-Jones, who is sailing the Tradewind 35 cutter, Puffin.
‘It [the doldrums] was killing me. I feel like I am making progress now and keeping track with the rest of the fleet. It is a good source of weather information so it is good to keep touch.’
Herbert-Jones now plans to stay on the rhum line to reach Trindade.
Current positions of the Golden Globe Race 2022 skippers on 18 October 2022 at 1200 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
Damien Guillou, (France), Rustler 36, PRB
Ertan Beskardes, (UK), Rustler 36, Lazy Otter
Michael Guggenberger, (Austria), Biscay 36, Nuri
Jeremy Bagshaw, (South Africa), OE32, Olleanna
Guy Waites (UK), Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha
Elliot Smith, (USA), Gale Force 34, Second Wind
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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