Indian Naval officer Abhilash Tomy turns up the heat on Irishman Gregor McGuckin as he moves up through the fleet in his Suhaili replica, Thuriya

There are just miles separating Abhilash Tomy and Gregor McGuckin as their battle continues in the Golden Globe Race.

The Naval officer, who became the first Indian to complete a solo, unassisted, non-stop circumnavigation under sail in 2013, is holding onto third place in his Suhaili replica, Thuriya having passed McGuckin in his Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance earlier this week.



At the front of the fleet, French skipper Jean-Luc Van Den Heede continues to extend his lead and is now more than nine days ahead of his nearest rival, Mark Slats.

The 73-year-old is now a complete weather system ahead, and expects to pass Cape Leeuwin, the second of the three main Capes, next weekend. He also remains on course for his compulsory stop in Hobart on 3 October 2018.

It has not all been plain sailing for the Frenchman though, with the skipper reporting his first breakage aboard his Rustler 36, Matmut.

Golden Globe yacht, Matmut

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is now more than nine days ahead. Credit: Christophe Favreau/Matmut/PPL

‘The shackle connecting the halyard and top swivel on my staysail came undone. I had to climb the mast to the 2nd spreader to reconnect them – I’m too old to be doing this!’ he  admitted during his weekly satellite call to Race HQ.

Slats, in his Rustler 36, Ohpen Maverick, has dropped a further 300 miles behind Matmut during the past week.

He has reported concerns about the state of his halyards, for without headsail roller furling systems, the constant changing of sails is causing considerable chafe. Another disadvantage is the need to drag the sails down below to repack them, which makes the inside of the boat both wet and cold.

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British skipper Susie Goodall remains in sixth place, frustrated by the weather. ‘NO PROGRESS IN THE SE EASTERLIES IF ONLY A BREAK WOULD BE POSSIBLE ,’ she texted.

She hopes to make the Hobart gate in the next six weeks.

‘Happy with everything onboard just frustrated with the weather again but all OK and hoping to be in Hobart by the end of OCTOBER!!’ she told Race HQ.

Susie Goodall sorting out sails on her Rustler 36

Susie Goodall hopes to reach the Hobart Gate in six weeks

French entrant Loïc Lepage has now left Cape Town and has restarted in the Chichester Class. He stopped in the South African port to repair his SB radio and replenish fresh water supplies on his Nicholson 32 Laaland.

He has crossed the Agulhas Current at its narrowest point and positioned his boat to benefit from three days of easterly current before diving down towards the Roaring Forty latitudes.

Meanwhile tail-ender Mark Sinclair seems to have forgotten he is in a race and instead has gone cruising.

The Austrialian made an impromptu detour to Table Bay on Thursday (13 September 2018) to drop film off on what appears to have been a pilgrimage to the birthplace of his Lello 34 Coconut.

Golden Globe Race organisers said Sinclair was met by three other Lello owners, who took his package and listened to his stories.

Golden Globe Race entrant Mark Sinclair aboard his orange Lello

Mark Sinclair, known as Captain Coconut, has decided to do a bit of cruising. Credit: Riaan Smit/PPL/GGR

One of them, Riaan Smit reported: ‘He was in great spirits and looked like – along with Coconut – as if they had just popped out for a Sunday afternoon jaunt.’

Sinclair then decided to cruise round the Cape of Good Hope and continue up the east coast, despite the threat of light winds and the need to cross the west running Agulhas Current at its widest point.

He is currently hugging the coastline 1.4 miles south of Cape Seal, and heading towards Port Elisabeth.

Latest positions at 08:00 UTC 19 September 2018

1 Jean- Luc VDH (FRA) Rustler 36 Matmut
2 Mark Slats (NED) Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick
3 Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya
4 Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
5 Uku Randmaa (EST) Rustler 36 One and All
6 Susie Goodall GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight
7 Istvan Kopar (USA) Tradewind 35 Puffin
8 Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria
9 Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda
10 Mark Sinclair (Aus) Lello 34 Coconut

Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland

Ertan Beskardes (GBR) Rustler 36 Lazy Otter
Kevin Farebrother (AUS) Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha
Nabil Amra (PAL) Biscay 36 Liberty II
Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB
Antoine Cousot (FRA) Biscay 36 Métier Intérim
Are Wiig (NOR) OE32 Olleanna

Francesco Cappelletti (ITA) Endurance 35 007