Golden Globe Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede believes he will reach the Hobart Gate by the beginning of October
French veteran racer, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is extending his lead in the Golden Globe Race, which has claimed more retirements.
The 73-year-old skipper is around 700 miles ahead of the rest of the fleet and is predicting that he will arrive at the Hobart Gate in Australia by 3 October.
Meanwhile his nearest rival, Dutchman Mark Slats, is being hampered by a lack of westerly winds, and is losing ground to third placed Irish skipper, Gregor McGuckin aboard his Biscay 36, Hanley Energy Endurance and Uku Randmaa’s Rustler 36 One and All, who is currently fourth.
Reporting to Race HQ, Slats texted: ‘HEADWINDS AGAIN 20 [knots from the] EAST. UNREAL THIS. WHERE ARE THOSE WESTERLIES?’
The Dutch skipper is also struggling with changing sails with bare hands in below freezing air temperatures, having left his gloves behind.
Slats is also regretting not having roller furling headsails.
Britain’s Susie Goodall has also been left frustrated, after being caught up in a high pressure system west of the Cape of Good Hope.
While some of the skippers are struggling, others, like Indian Naval officer, Abhilash Tomy are making the most of the conditions.
He has managed to achieve 10.1 knots out of his Suhaili replica Thuriya – allowing him to cover 194 miles in 24 hours – the best distance recorded in the race so far.
Meanwhile Norwegian Are Wiig whose OE32 Olleanna was dismasted and rolled through 360° in the Southern Ocean during heavy weather has now made it safely to Cape Town under jury rig.
Recounting the fateful episode, Wiig said he was hove-to at the time and had just started repairing his self steering for the second time in two days. He was standing in the companionway working on repairing a part in the vice mounted on the top of the companionway. There was no warning. The boat got lifted up on a big wave and then dropped down.
Olleanna also suffered a bent pushpit and had only partial steering. Wiig managed to fix the self -steering and used it with his jury rig so that he could get some sleep. His main fuel tank was contaminated and he only had 15 litres of diesel in day tank, which gave him 20 hours of slow motoring.
He also said that he was very glad that he had built and trialled his jury rig system utilising two spinnaker poles before departure – a race requirement for all competitors – and praised the Yellow Brick satellite tracking system which gave Race HQ his position each hour and was used to send and transmit text messages between the boat and race officials. “It was good to know that people watch out for us” he said.
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Another useful piece of compulsory kit was the emergency Echomax inflatable radar reflector, which Wiig set up at the back of the boat after the dismasting. This helped a passing ship locate Olleanna a few days before her arrival in Cape Town. Wiig politely declined the captain’s offer of support, and made it to port unaided.
Peter Muller, who along with members of the Royal Cape Yacht Club, met Wiig when he docked on Sunday, said his boat ‘ took a hell of a beating’.
‘The mast had broken in at least two places and the pieces were lashed down on deck. She had a cracked deck and popped porthole. Are said that the cracks and damage on the starboard side went right through the boat. He had only seen this type of damage before in his work (as a yacht surveyor) when boats had fallen over onto concrete when stored on land,’ added Muller.
Another to make port safely was Frenchman Antoine Cousot who arrived in Rio de Janeiro under full sail, but nursing shoulder and foot injuries sustained while attempting to change headsails on the bouncing foredeck of his Biscay 36 ketch Métier Intérim. The indication is that if he does this again, it will be with furling headsails rather than hanked sails.
Carozzo sailor Francesco Cappelletti who missed the start of the Golden Globe Race by 21 days and has been following the fleet for the adventure, is now following in Cousot’s wake to Brazil after the Italian reported last week that the self-steering wind vane on his Endurance 35 007 had broken.
He has the same Beaufort Lynx wind vane that cost Palestinian entrant Nabil Amra and Frenchman Philippe Péché their races after weld failures on the vertical articulating arm proved unrepairable at sea.
American Hungarian skipper, Istvan Kopar, who dropped to last position after stopping to repair his wind van self steering, is clawing back some of the ground he lost and has overtaken Australian, Mark Sinclair and is now challenging Loïc Lepage in his Nicholson 32 Laaland, although Kopar is still struggling with his self steering.
He texted the Golden Globe Race HQ: ‘MY SELF STEERING LEFT ME ALONE AGAIN IN A NASTY STORM DURING THE WEEKEND!’
Lepage looks to be heading straight for Cape Town to replenish his water supplies and repair his SSB radio before heading into the Southern Ocean.
Latest positions at 08:00 UTC 3 September 2018
1 Jean- Luc VDH (FRA) Rustler 36 Matmut
2 Mark Slats (NED) Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick
3 Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
4 Uku Randmaa (EST) Rustler 36 One and All
5 Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya
6 Susie Goodall GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight
7 Istvan Kopar (USA) Tradewind 35 Puffin
8 Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland
9 Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria
10 Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda
11 Mark Sinclair (Aus) Lello 34 Coconut
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