February 13th at 22.09 local time (02.09 UTC on February 14th) the Canadian crew WHISKEY JACK crossed the finish line of leg 7 of the GLOBE40 at the entrance to the port of St Georges in Grenada. An express victory for this 2123 miles leg covered in 8 days and 8 hours at an average speed of 10.6 knots, with the 24 hour event record broken on this occasion with 347 miles at an average speed of 14.5 knots. A great recognition for the Canadian skipper Mélodie Schaffer who showed all her energy while several breakdowns in the previous stages had prevented her from claiming the podium. The Dutch from SEC HAYAI will follow during the night as well as the Americans from AHMAS. The general ranking should remain unchanged with a final transatlantic leg to Lorient which may yet decide the fate of the two leaders in the general ranking.
A stage swallowed at high speed
Starting on Sunday 5th February from Recife, the GLOBE40 competitors quickly had to make tactical choices, playing the wind off-shore like AHMAS or the current on the Brazilian coast like SEC HAYAI; for several days the results of the different tactics were undecided, each one taking its turn at the different places in the ranking, then obviously the on-shore route along the exclusion zone proved to be the right choice to benefit from a strong current. SEC HAYAI dominated for several days as a race of speed began between the different skippers. WHISKEY JACK gradually caught up with the Dutch crew before overtaking them and demonstrating their speed to the entire fleet by taking a 50-mile lead over their direct competitor and breaking the distance record in 24 hours on the event. A great success for Mélodie Schaffer, seconded on this leg by Tom Pierce, whereas on several occasions in the previous legs she had seen her excellent performance called into question by various breakdowns; multiple sail tears between Cape Verde and Mauritius, a catastrophic gybe off the island of Amsterdam in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands with several days of hardship, a broken bowsprit a week after the start from Papeete when she was in the leading group. A lifelong racer and mile-hungry sailor with several Clipper Race legs to her credit, 3 transatlantic races including a Jacques Vabre in 2021/2022, 25,000 miles sailed since June in the GLOBE40, Mélodie displays an experience and determination that is highlighted by her victory in leg 7. And it should be remembered that she and Tom had only 5 days to stop in Recife after the 3800 miles of the difficult leg from Ushuaia…
Grenada: a cocoon in Port Louis Marina before the big transatlantic race
The Campers and Nicholson Port Louis Marina will be hosting the competitors until the next start on February 24th; a large marina in the south of the Caribbean, it offers a privileged resting place for the teams with all the facilities, while the numerous shipyards and nautical professionals of this magnificent Caribbean island can meet all the technical needs for the repair of the boats. Port Louis Marina is also very active in hosting races as in a few weeks the marina has hosted the RORC transatlantic race, the Grenada Sailing Week and the ARC and VIKING cruising events. The island of Grenada, nicknamed the Spice Island, is the southernmost island in the north-south arc of the Lesser Antilles, located in the eastern Caribbean Sea about 160 km north of the coast of Venezuela. The southern Grenadines – the largest of which is Carriacou – about 20 miles north-north-east, are part of the state of Grenada and are a superb cruising area. St. George’s, on the southwest coast, is also the main port, with a beautiful natural harbour, and its picturesque pastel-coloured houses rising from the hills of the waterfront. The waterfront itself is known as Carenage because the island’s schooners were once careened there.
Who will be the winner of the GLOBE40?
After 8 months of the event, 8 legs with the prologue in Lorient and the Grand Depart in Tangier, 25,000 miles sailed, the question remains. MILAI Around the World, which is in retreat due to its accident and the work in progress in Argentina, is still in the race with a good ranking but can no longer claim victory in the general standings. The Dutch team of SEC HAYAI are showing a superb regularity with an extremely well prepared and motivated team which often compensates for an older support than the others, and should remain in the lead in the general classification at the end of this stage 7. Barring any unforeseen events, their American competitor AMHAS should lose a point at the end of this coefficient 1 leg but remains a serious threat on the last coefficient 2 leg, a long transatlantic course to Lorient which can prove complicated at this time of year. Finally, the Italo-Americans of GRYPHON SOLO2 and the Canadians of WHISKEY JACK have shown with their 2nd place before the jury in Recife for the former and their victory in Grenada for the latter that they are still capable of disrupting the ranking calculations of the overall leaders. A final exciting stage lies ahead with the arrival of the great competition and the great adventure in Lorient for this first edition of the GLOBE40.