Golden Globe: Within 450 miles of finish

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(January 24, 2019; Day 208) – Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is within 450 miles of the Golden Globe Race finish line (08:00 UTC) and expected to receive a huge welcome home in Les Sables d’Olonne on Monday January 28th.

The 73-year old Frenchman and his Rustler 36 yacht Matmut have led this 27,000 mile solo circumnavigation since rounding the Cape of Good Hope on August 23rd last year and stretched this out a 2,000 mile lead before suffering a capsize and serious mast damage during a southern ocean storm on November 8th when 1,900 miles west of Cape Horn.

Since then, second placed Dutch rival Mark Slats (41) sailing another Rustler 36, Ohpen Maverick, has been catching up. On January 15th, the difference between the two yachts in terms of distance to finish was just 50 miles. But since then the French veteran, who is about to complete his 6th solo circumnavigation, has delivered a master class in ocean racing strategy to extend his advantage to 412 miles by 08:00 UTC today.

Now, Jean-Luc, and more importantly, the damaged mast on Matmut face one more test when a storm is due to blow across the Bay of Biscay producing 45-55 knot NW winds and viscous seas with waves building to 9 -10 meters.

Race Chairman, Don McIntyre, says: “Jean-Luc is a great seaman with vast experience and he knows what is coming. This is his backyard. The Bay of Biscay has a fearsome reputation and he will have to be very careful. If he needs to run off downwind for safety, he will he heading away from Les Sables d’Olonne and the finish line, and then have to sail back more into the wind once the storm has passed.

“This all adds time and distance, so his ETA is still not clear. This morning we are looking at sometime between 10:00 and 14:00UTC on Monday, but this is like a game with this storm presenting one last roll of the dice.”

The Challenge in the next few days is great and the opportunity for Mark is real. While Jean-Luc is struggling to make the finish line, Slats will be sailing hard and fast in wonderful weather ready to exploit any further damage that Matmut might sustain.”

Retired
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
Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya
Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
Francesco Cappelletti (ITA) Endurance 35 007
Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland
Susie Goodall (GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight
Mark Sinclair (AUS) Lello 34 Coconut

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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