Please select your home edition
Edition
C-Tech 2020 Tubes 728x90 TOP

Golden Globe Race - Day 78: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede now 9 days ahead despite breakages

by Barry Pickthall, Golden Globe Race 17 Sep 2018 10:12 PDT 17 September 2018
Following in Bernard Moitessier's wake? Australian Mark Sinclair made an impromptu stop in Table Bay to hand across films, just as French sailing legend Bernard Moitessier did during the inaugural GGR 50 years before © Riaan Smit / PPL / GGR

73-year old Jean-Luc Van Den Heede continues to defy his age and best efforts of the chasing pack of Golden Globe Race skippers to extend his lead across the South Indian Ocean to 9+ days over the past week.

The Frenchman is now a complete weather system ahead of his closest rivals 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 at the BoatShed.com film drop on October 3.

Before the start from Les Sables d'Olonne on July 1st, the best computer predictions suggested that the winner could complete a sub-200 day solo circumnavigation. Well, according to the YB tracker today, Jean-Luc's Rustler 36 Matmut will return to the Vendee port in 199 days! That is based on her 5.2knot average over the last 24 hours, which has to be optimistic, but with this septuagenarian, anything seems possible. Before today the worst thing to have happened has been a lost sailing croc, dropped overboard last week, but today Van Den Heede reported his first breakage.

"The shackle connecting the halyard and top swivel on my staysail came undone. I had to climb the mast to the second spreader to reconnect them – I'm too old to be doing this! He admitted.

1,100 miles astern, second placed Dutchman Mark Slats sailing the rival 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.

There is much more of a fight for third place. The 13:00 report placed Gregor McGuckin's Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance just 1 miles ahead of Abhilash Tomy's Indian Thuriya, a modern replica of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's Suhaili. The Irishman texted: 'MID INDIAN OCEAN and ABHILASH IS IN SIGHT ABOUT A MILE AWAY!'

Thuriya is the surprise package in this 50th anniversary of the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Even Sir Robin predicted that she would be slow compared to the production yachts but she and her skipper are proving to be exceptionally fast in the Southern Ocean, having moved up from 10th to challenge for 3rd place since rounding the Cape of Good Hope.

Tomy and McGuckin are now in VHF contact and constantly egging each other with rivalry matched only by American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar's Tradewind 35 Puffin and Tapio Lehtinen's Finnish Gaia 36 Asteria. Today, they are 37 miles apart disputing 7th place, but that's still close enough for Tapio to suggest that they should have fenders out at night!

Kopar is still plagued with wind vane issues and in a text report yesterday added: "50K SQUALL RIPPED JIB SHEET & MY ONLY YANKEE INTO PIECES DURING THE NIGHT."

Estonian Uku Randmaa has also been in the wars. He reported "30-50KT LAST 24H. NOT NICE WEEKEND SAILING WEATHER" and in a follow-up call to Race HQ today added that his Rustler 36 One and All had been hit by a big wave that had burst the spray dodger and buckled the frame.

Last Wednesday, Frenchman Loïc Lepage restarted from Cape Town in the Chichester Class following a forced stop to repair his SB radio and replenish fresh water supplies on his Nicholson 32 Laaland. In recent times, this African region has been beset by severe water shortages of its own but the marina got special dispensation to turn on the water tap for Lepage. He made the perfect departure, crossing the Agulhas Current at its narrowest point then positioned his boat to benefit from three days of easterly current before diving down towards the Roaring Forty latitudes.

Gone Cruising?

Not so with Australian tail-ender Mark Sinclair, who made an impromptu stop in Table Bay on Thursday to drop film off on what appears to have been a pilgrimage to the birthplace of his Lello 34 Coconut. Sinclair was met by three other Lello owners, who took his package and listened to his stories. 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."

Overcome perhaps by the welcome and mountain scenery, Sinclair then decided to cruise round the Cape and continue up the east coast despite the threat of light winds and need to cross the west running Agulhas Current at its widest point. This morning, Coconut, which made her 9th rounding of The Cape of Good Hope last Friday, was still hugging the coastline 1.4 miles south of Cape Seal, and heading towards Port Elisabeth.

"We are left wondering whether to inaugurate a new 'Hiscocks' category for Mark to flag his passion for cruising round the world – And just hope he rejoins the GGR soon!" says Race Chairman Don McIntyre.

www.goldengloberace.com

Current positions: (0800 UTC)

PosSkipperDTFVMG (24hr)DTL
1Jean‑ Luc VDH (FRA) 15304  5.2 knots 0
2Mark Slats (NED) 16437  4.6 knots  1133
3Gregor McGuckin (IRE)  16596  4.5 knots  1292
4Abhilash Tomy (IND) 16604  4.5 knots  1300
5Uku Randmaa (EST)  16862  4.4 knots  1558
6 Susie Goodall GBR)  17459  4.1 knots  2155
7Istvan Kopar (USA) 17636  4 knots  2332
8Tapio Lehtinen (FIN)  17673  4 knots  2369
9Igor Zaretskiy (RUS)  18526  3.5 knots  3222
10Mark Sinclair (Aus)  18835  3.1 knots  3531

Related Articles

Marlow Ropes partner with Ian Herbert Jones
As the UK Skipper prepares for the 2022 Golden Globe Race Marlow Ropes are proud to announce that they are the Official Rope Supplier for Golden Globe Race 2022 skipper Ian Herbert Jones. Posted on 27 Nov
Cape Horners launch solo circumnavigators register
Those who have completed solo circumnavigations via the Three Great Capes The IACH has taken on the mantle of maintaining an official register of those who have completed solo circumnavigations via the Three Great Capes - Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn. Posted on 30 Oct
Celebrating offshore success and the CCA's awards
Latest Sail-World newsletter from David Schmidt in the USA The Cruising Club of America's annual awards are a great opportunity to celebrate offshore sailing in the depths of winter. Posted on 25 Feb
Two Golden Globe Race sailors honoured
Recognised by the Cruising Club of America The Cruising Club of America awarded GGR 2018-2019 winner Jean-Luc Van den Heede with the 2019 Blue Water Medal for his achievements in single-handed sailing, notably six solo circumnavigations. Posted on 19 Feb
CCA announces winner of 2019 Blue Water Medal
Six-time solo circumnavigator to receive the Cruising Club of America's most prestigious medal Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is the recipient of the Cruising Club of America's 2019 Blue Water Medal, awarded for his achievements in single-handed sailing. Posted on 13 Feb
Guy deBoer on the 2022 Golden Globe Race
An interview with Guy deBoer about his preparations for the 2022 Golden Globe Race I checked in with Guy deBoer, a newspaper publisher and one of two U.S.-flagged entrants in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, via email, to learn more about his preparations ahead this challenging retro race. Posted on 4 Feb
Looking ahead to two great retro sailing races
Golden Globe Race 2022 and the 2023 Ocean Globe Race 2020 may have only barely begun, but already entire groups of adventure-minded sailors are looking forward to 2022 and 2023, which is when the Golden Globe Race 2022 and the 2023 Ocean Globe Race are slated to begin. Posted on 7 Jan
Les Sables d'Olonne set for 2022 Golden Globe Race
Signing of the agreement at the Paris Nautic with Don McIntyre The Golden Globe Race delivers this rare alchemy: be an event of international scope and keep a family and fraternal spirit. Posted on 12 Dec 2019
Three years to the start of the Golden Globe Race
2022 Notice of Race published An independent analysis report compiled by Meltwater on media coverage secured during the 2018 Golden Globe Race shows that the Race gained US$185m worth of coverage world-wide. Posted on 18 Sep 2019
Les Sable d'Olonne to host 2022 Golden Globe Race
Confirmed as host start/finish port for the event Following the success of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, the Vendée City of Les Sables d'Olonne and its 3-town Agglomeration have voted unanimously to host the next Golden Globe Race in 2022. Posted on 11 Jul 2019
ETNZShop-Merch-728x90 HR BottomUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTERNorth Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - Footer