Golden Globe: Weather Looming

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(January 24, 2019; Day 208) – With 502nm to the finish (as of 22:00 UTC), Golden Globe Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (FRA) is maintaining his lead over second placed Mark Slats (NED). The spread between the two leaders is 416nm.

Jean Luc Van Den Heede will have a new challenge as he sails the homestretch to the finish. The day before his expected arrival, a serious storm is forecast with winds from 45 to 55 kts from the northwest and waves of 8 to 10 meters, putting pressure on the French skipper and his boat. If Van Den Heede slows, the storm may pass before he approaches it.

In second place, Mark Slats is not far behind. In the next 48 hours, Slats will shift east towards the finish line, leaving the center of the anticyclone behind and will pursue the leader. It impossible for Slats to catch up with Van Den Heede, but anything can happen with the looming storm, and the forecast can still change, leaving opportunities and challenges for the leaders.

NOTE: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede absorbed an 18-hour time penalty as a result of his actions when he sustained mast damage during a storm 1,900 miles west of Cape Horn. His mast remains structurally unsound which may impact his performance for the remaining miles.

Background:
The 2018 Golden Globe Race started for 17 skippers from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday July 1, 2018, with the inaugural solo non-stop around the world yacht race expected to take 9-10 months to complete.

The event marks the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world race in 1968-69 when rules then allowed competitors to start from ports in northern France or UK between June 1st and October 31st.

A notable twist to the 2018 Golden Globe Race format is how entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were available in that first race, with the premise being to keep the race within financial reach of every dreamer.

The rules allow for one breach of the strict solo, non-stop un-assisted circumnavigation without the aid of modern electronic navigation aids regulations that make this Race unique. However, those that do move down to the Chichester Class as if, like Sir Francis Chichester in 1966-67, they have made one stop during their solo circumnavigation.

Those who breach the rules for a second time are deemed to have retired from the GGR Event and the organisers have no responsibility or obligation to them.

Source: GGR / sailingscuttlebutt

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