Golden Globe Race solo skipper Abhilash Tomy is receiving no weather forecasts. Battery charging issues means his HF radio is no longer working
Tomy does not have a weather fax onboard, so will now have to rely on getting weather forecasts from passing ships via his VHF radio; Golden Globe Race HQ will continue to issue weather alerts to him if forecasted winds are 35 knots or above
Tomy, who is currently in second place, is plotting his course to the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne based on historical information.
‘No, I don’t have any weather forecasts. I have drawn a straight line to Les Sables d’Olonne and following that. I am trying to stay close to the rhumb line, with whatever historical information I have,’ he explained.
‘I want to get back to Les Sables d’Olonne as quickly as possible. So that’s what I’m trying to do now. I’m pushing the boat but only as long as it’s safe.’
The solo Indian sailor, who is racing in the Rustler 36, Bayanat, said he was not concerned about getting stuck for any length of time in a South Atlantic High.
‘I’m working from historical information. I know I got stuck in the last high, but when I was plotting my position on the way out I was marking the wind barbs at every location so I kind of know what to expect now. Even if high pressure moves and I get stuck for two or three days, it will move and I should be out soon after that.’
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Tomy, who has previously circumnavigated the world singlehanded, has attempted to troubleshoot the problems with his bank of three batteries, cleaning the terminals and changing a disintegrated fuse, but to no avail.
‘My batteries are not holding charge. They quickly dropped to about 10 volts by night. During the day time, the sun is shining and they are charging but it doesn’t hold. I think it’s a case of ageing of the batteries and there’s nothing I can do. That is one problem. Water went into my switchboard too as I didn’t put the washboard in. The switches are malfunctioning. So because of the electrical problem I cannot have my HF running because the moment I turn it on the entire system shuts down, but I’m able to keep my navigation lights on. I can keep my VHF on,’ said the former Indian Commander.
‘I had issues with the running backstay, which had parted and I replaced the runner with a guardrail. So it was quite some time up the mast, and then on the same day I had a three or four metre rip in the mainsail from luff to leach just below the first reef point, so I had get it down and stitch it up. The problem is while I am making repairs I have to stop the boat or change to a safe course.’
He does believe his Rutler 36 will be faster up the Atlantic, given there is less food and supplies onboard. He is also rearranging his gear to optimise the boat’s performance.
Having rounded Cape Horn, Tomy managed to catch 50 litres of rain water, giving him plenty of fresh water for cooking and drinking; he had been rationing water in the Pacific, living on one litre of water a day.
Although the rainfall was welcomed, it has taken weeks for Bayanat to dry out, due to the cold and subsequent condensation of the Southern Ocean.
But overall, Tomy says he is pleased with his boat’s performance, given he had just a few months to prepare his Rustler 36 before the start of the race.
‘If I could, I would have liked to have sailed her extensively first [before the start of the 2022 Golden Globe Race] and then identified the weak points and then worked on them. But everything happened so late, mostly because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. There’s nothing I can blame for starting so late. Given all these facts, I think the fact that the boat has made it to here and I’ve made it to here is quite good.’
Current positions of the Golden Globe Race 2022 skippers on 08 March 2022 at 0800 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
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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