On Nov.6 at 0200hrs, French solo yachtsman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, the current Golden Globe Race leader, rang GGR organisers to advise that his yacht Matmut had sustained mast damage, that all was OK, and that he intended to sail for Chile when conditions improved.
Race Officials advised this would mean moving to the Chichester Class on arrival. J-L VDH said he would make a decision on his final intention in the weeks ahead, after making his landing and repair.
Subsequently, GGR organisers became aware that Van Den Heede may have made a call on the GGR satellite phone. At 1035hrs Nov. 6, GGR made contact with his team manager to clarify that J-L VDH should not make any Satphone calls and should only use his radio for advice about his mast.
If calls had been made on the Satphone he would be moved to the Chichester class and could apply for a time penalty, but only as long as no material assistance or advice was given during these phone calls, and only if no further calls were made.
At 1900hrs on Nov 8, GGR received a call from Van Den Heede advising that he had changed his mind and now intended to continue in the Race and not head to Chile, and confirmed that he had rung his wife in the hours after the mast problem.
GGR advised that he would be moved to the Chichester Class. Van Den Heede requested that he be considered for a time penalty instead of being relegated to the Chichester Class for his Satphone use, since no support was provided by the phone use and his Ham radio comms were good and providing all advice and assistance.
It is confirmed that Van Den Heede did use his Satphone in the first hours after the mast damage. This action breeched NOR 3.1.4 telephone contact. It is confirmed that no material assistance was provided by the use of the phone and no further phone use was made during subsequent days.
In the spirit of the Golden Globe Race, and noting the fact that Van Den Heede received no material assistance through the use of his GGR Satphone, GGR organisers have applied an 18-hour time penalty to Jean-Luc Van Den Heede to be served in the GGR penalty box.
Don McIntyre, GGR Race Chairman