Please select your home edition
Edition
Clipper Ventures

Golden Globe Race, Day 204: Van Den Heede regains the initiative... for now

by Barry Pickthall, Golden Globe Race 21 Jan 08:38 PST 21 January 2019
Jean-Luc Van Den Heede has the wind and opened up a 215 mile lead over Mark Slats...but will it last? - Golden Globe Race © Christophe Favreau / Matmut / PPL

The elastic between Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and Mark Slats has stretched in the Frenchman's favour over the weekend allowing him to open up a 215-mile lead over his Dutch rival.

A week ago, the difference in terms of distance to finish was just 28 miles. Both skippers have used up what remained of their 160 litre supply of diesel fuel, with Slats expending the last drop pushing his way through the windless high pressure system sitting over the Azores. The two are now within the same weather system.

Slats is currently 330 miles south of Van Den Heede's upwind position at the start of what could be a straight drag race to the finish. The unknown factor is the forecast – especially for these two skippers, for both have been cut off from weather feeds from the Ham Radio Net community for using unlicensed call signs throughout the Race. This came to light last week when Dutch and St Lucia radio authorities issued warning notices against the skippers. Licenced Ham radio operators who communicate with them not only face losing their licences, but the threat of a large fine and possible prison sentence!

Forecasting is particularly acute for Van Den Heede whose Rustler 36 Matmut has the prospect of running straight into another high pressure system predicted to form to the north east by Wednesday. It could affect Slats too, but not before his yacht Ophen Maverick has closed the distance.

The question then for Jean-Luc is whether to push hard for the finish and run the risk of breaking Matmut's damaged mast, or settle for second place. The fact that 3rd placed Estonian Uku Randmaa trails 3,450 miles behind, could well persuade the Frenchman to push all out for a win, knowing that if the worst happens, he could still finish 2nd under a jury rig.

Illegal routing and position reports?

Recent allegations circulating on social media and in print that Jean-Luc Van Den Heede has been receiving illegal radio position reports have proved unfounded. Race Chairman Don McIntyre made the following statement today:

"French and Dutch passions, already roused by the prospect of a nail-biting finish between Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and Mark Slats, were stirred further when it became clear that first Mark, and then Jean-Luc did not have valid Ham radio licenses. Then, other accusations began to fly between the two camps; the most serious being that J-LVDH may have been breaching the rules governing weather routing and position reports. One transcribed JL VDH radio recording proved to be a simple weather forecast - NOT weather routing. Some have suggested that there are other recordings of these breaches, but after continued requests by GGR officials to hear them, these recordings remain 'unavailable'.

The GGR Notice of Race is very clear, but some do not appear to understand how the GGR skippers operate and what the rules actually mean. GGR is confident that no entrants have received weather routing, which is forbidden, nor LAT/LONG positions of their own and other yachts. To stop any further confusion, the French GGR Ham network has stopped broadcasting any weather information to J-L VDH and Mark Slats, and now transmit relevant information including forecasts only to Uku Randmaa, Istvan Kopar and Tapio Lehtinen who all hold valid Ham Radio licences."

Full interview with Don McIntyre

Back to the Race

For the moment, Istvan Kopar's charge up the South Atlantic to challenge Uku Randmaa for third has run out of steam. The American/Hungarian lost some time repairing his self-steering and is now caught in calms while Randmaa is making most of the SE trade winds, and holds a 580 mile cushion

5th placed Tapio Lehtinen is making most of the Southern Ocean weather systems and is looking to round Cape Horn in two weeks time. The Finn celebrated his 61st birthday last Friday enjoying 45knot north-westerly blast and can expect two more gales at least before rounding the Cape. He is also holding his own in the virtual race against the passage time set by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in the original Sunday Times Golden Globe Race 50 years ago and should round the Horn ahead.

Related Articles

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
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
2023 Ocean Globe Race: The Whitbread Race is back!
This retro race reopens once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for ordinary sailors The spirit of the Whitbread Round the World Race is back with the announcement of the 2023 Ocean Globe Race, a retro event starting from a European port on September 10th 2023 celebrating the 50th anniversary of this major milestone in adventure sailing. Posted on 1 Jul
Golden Globe Race 2019 overall
Final GGR finisher takes 5th place Barnacle growth was the root cause of Finnish skipper Tapio Lehtinen's slow solo circumnavigation but the 110 day difference between his and Race winner Jean-Luc Van Den Heede's time was definitely enjoyable. Posted on 20 May
Golden Globe Race day 322
Tapio Lehtinen takes 5th place Tapio Lehtinen, the 5th and final placed Finnish skipper competing in the Golden Globe Race crossed the finish line at 20:21 hours today accompanied by Bernard Moitessier's famous yacht Joshua and a flottila of excited wellwishers Posted on 19 May
Golden Globe Race day 312
Now 1,100miles from the finish line Tapio Lehtinen, the fifth and final placed Finnish skipper competing in the Golden Globe Race enjoyed an unexpected rendezvous off Faial Island in the Azores yesterday with the local representative of his Windpilot self-steering sponsor. Posted on 9 May
Celebrating Sir Robin and Earth Day
And a cleaner vision for our planet This week marks the 50th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's mind-bending solo circumnavigation, and a day when people consider ideas for lowering our species' collective environmental wake. Posted on 23 Apr
Jean-Luc Van Den Heede crowned winner
2018 Golden Globe Race prize giving held in Falmouth Exactly 50 years to the day that Sir Robin Knox-Johnston returned to Falmouth UJK after 312 days at sea to become the first man to sail solo non-stop around the Globe, 73-year old Frenchman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede was crowned winner. Posted on 23 Apr
Sailor's salute Sir Robin
On 50 year anniversary of Golden Globe victory Britain's leading sailors are paying tribute to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston today on the 50th anniversary of the date, 22 April 1969, that he entered history books as the first person to ever sail solo, non-stop around the world. Posted on 22 Apr
Golden Globe Race day 284
Tapio Lehtinen crosses Equator As Tapio Lehtinen, the last of the Golden Globe race skippers, crossed the Equator on Tuesday to start the last part of his solo circumnavigation back to Les Sables d'Olonne, plans are now well advanced for the GGR prize-giving celebrations Posted on 11 Apr
Vaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 2SOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90 BottomZhik ATR Aroshell SW FOOTER