The Golden Globe Race fleet is stretched 5000 miles across the Southern Ocean and is not short of stories, with just nine sailors still bound for Les Sables d’Olonne in France – and they are not even halfway!
The weather, as much as it has been frustrating and even slow for the sailors, is not bringing the usual intense Southern Ocean storms and that is a good thing. The two months delay starting this edition was obviously a good decision, but then getting around Cape Horn before the end of March 2023 and the ‘Hobart Gate’ closing on the 31st of January for slow entrants is a whole new threat!
The Golden Globe is full of challenges. It is hard to get to the start and even harder to make the finish.
Arnaud Gaist (FRA) has been plagued by rigging issues over the past few weeks and now, on top, also with barnacles. He has given up. Today he is 200 miles out of Saint Helena and officially notified GGR control that he is retiring from the race, heading north, unable to sail to windward.
It took a long, frustrating and depressing time to make the decision, but now that it’s done, he feels relaxed. After three years of planning and preparation it is a hard decision to make. With another 150 days of food on board, he is planning to head eventually to the Caribbean and then on to Les Sables d’Olonne once Hermes Phoning is back in shape.
The second remaining skipper In the Atlantic, Guy Waites (GBR), is 200 miles from Cape Town and has been posting surprisingly good speeds with his barnacle infested Tradewind Sagarmatha.
The British sailor should make landfall on Sunday night or Monday. He will slip the boat, scrape the Barnacles and paint the bottom, so could set sail a few days later. But will he? He will be a Chichester one stop sailor because of the stop.
Waites has serious decisions to make with Hobart about 6000 miles away through the Southern Ocean and only 47 days to get there before the Gate shuts. That is averaging 128 miles a day on a direct course. As a Chichester sailor missing the gate you are no longer in the GGR. He said he will make no decisions until he is ready to set sail and is focused on doing that as soon as possible.
Is the modern-day Bernard Moitessier a young American sailor?
Trailing at the back in the Southern Indian Ocean, 27 year old Elliott Smith (USA) has faced a lot over the last 17 days, when he decided to turn back towards False Bay after his bowsprit failed. Bernard Moitessier fashion, who repaired the bent bowsprit of his Joshua during the 1968 GGR, Elliott has spared no energy or creativity to repair and strengthen his own, unassisted, on Second Wind.