GGR – ETA Les Sables d’Olonne Friday 28th!

Dateline: Les Sables d’Olonne, Tuesday, 25th of April, 2023

The trio of Simon, Kirsten and Abhilash are close now sailing within 170 miles of each other as they approach the Bay of Biscay and the final run toward Les Sables d’Olonne. But the Race is on for Kirsten Neuschäfer (ZAF) who is leading by 90 miles on her runner up. With a 23-hour compensation for Tapio’s Indian ocean rescue, she looks unbeatable, but it’s not over! First they need to negotiate the heavy traffic in the Bay of Biscay after months sailing empty oceans, and Abhilash Tomy (IND) on Bayanat is not slowing down!

Both have steady downwind conditions, but on Wednesday winds drop and become much lighter from the West and then South on Thursday. The two different boat designs act differently in different weather, so there could be last minute surprises! But with just a few days to run in light westerlies from Thursday onwards, it is a huge challenge for Abhilash. The finish will be under a spinnaker and a timid sun, so it all points to a Kirsten !

ETA’s are still to be refined after Wednesday’s light winds and will be updated on the GGR website. Kirsten continues to push hard with at times 8.1kt speeds. She could cross the line on Friday the 28th in the morning, followed by Abhilash less than a day later. Simon Curwen (GBR) in Chichester class could arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne as early as Thursday 27th.

If Kirsten was crossing the line in first place, she would be the first woman to win a round the world race by the three great capes, including solo and fully crewed races, non-stop or with stops, and the first South African sailor to win a round-the-world event! She would join the famous Bertie Reed (ZAF) in the South African Hall of Fame, and Isabelle Autissier (FRA) who in 1994 famously led the BOC Challenge after her win in the first leg before dismasting in December in the Pacific, 920 miles SE from Adelaide. She would also join Sir Robin Knox Johnston (GBR) and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (FRA) the winner of the Golden Globe Race.

“Who would have guessed that after 233 days alone we have a photo finish. Everyone who reaches the finish line of the Golden Globe is a winner yet Kirsten and Abhilash have played out an epic battle right to the end. The GGR is all about the stories and this one is EPIC!!!” Don McIntyre, GGR Founder.

A guide to the heroes’ welcome in Les Sables d’Olonne

Don will update the ETA daily on the GGR Facebook Page. Once the competitors cross the line, they will be towed into the Channel so as to not use precious fuel, and enjoy the legendary welcome from the people of Les Sables leading into Port Olona. There, they will moor in the Vendée Globe dock where they will be welcomed by Yannick Moreau, the Mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne, Don McIntyre, the GGR Founder and Chairman and Jean Luc Van Den Heede, the 2018 winner, the media and the public

They will then cross to the stage next to the Centre des Formation Maritimes des Sables d’Olonne where the GGR Race Control is housed. They then move to a quiet room to see their family and friends for 30 minutes before heading to the Press conference. Should they dock after 10.00 pm, the press conference will be held the next day.

No doubt the people of Les Sables d’Olonne will give a hero’s welcome to Simon Curwen in Chichester Class who led the GGR fleet from Cape Finisterre until January 31st when he was forced to divert to Puerto Montt for repairs. Simon has no line crossing as he is not racing, but will take his own time for his incredible round the world voyage.

He will moor on the Vendée Globe dock where he will receive the same welcome as the GGR competitors on the marina, open to the public before heading to the GGR office to meet with his family, friends and members of the media.

TO FOLLOW THE RACE:
LIVE TRACKER on the GGR website tracker.

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