• Race Leader Knocked Down


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    Jean Luc Vandenheede Knocked down to 150 degrees, damaged the rigging and running under bare poles in strong winds and big seas. . More news to follow...


    STOP PRESS: Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede suffers knock-down and mast damage
    At 1500hrs UTC 5th NOV. Jean-Luc Van Den Heede called GGR Founder Don McIntyre to advise that his Rustler 36 Matmut had been knocked down badly to about 150° which had damaged the connecting bolt attachment to the mast that holds all four lower shrouds. The mast was not in danger of falling, but it was not securely tensioned. The bolt has slipped 5cm down in the mast section and slackened the rigging.. He is still in the storm with 11 metre seas and 65knot winds. Conditions are expected to moderate in the next few hours.

    The 73-year old race Frenchman from Les Sables d’Olonne is now running downwind with no sails until conditions improve. He will then effect a repair that will allow him to hoist sail again and make for Valparaiso, Chile where he will make a permanent repair.

    Jean Luc was not injured during the knock-down, has requested NO ASSISTANCE at this time and is confident he can make Valparaiso safely. This will mean that he will move to the Chichester Class once he makes that port to effect repairs.

    This is NOT a CODE ORANGE situation for GGR and Jean-Luc is well in control of the situation. GGR will monitor his progress to port.



    Kopar blamed a lack of preparation for his poor start to the race. “I dropped to last place before I could work out how to fix my self-steering, and had never put my spinnaker up before the start – that first time was scary!”

    “My main goal is to save the rig, save the boat and to arrive back at the finish. Right now, I feel closer to Joshua Slocum’s achievement (first to sail solo around the world in 1895-1898) than Robin Knox-Johnston’s (first to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation and win the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968/69). I can’t even get a time signal – It’s not good. Everything is guesswork.”

    Kopar’s ‘bad luck’ started with getting to grips with an unfamiliar wind vane self steering system at the start and extends to a rogue wave that washed out much his electronics and books, and flooded the main cabin with 300 litres of water. The last straw was a bird that attempted to land on his masthead wind vane, bending one of the arms into his VHF radio antennae and interrupt the signal.

    He didn’t check his fresh water tank before the start and says now. “In Ghana they have cleaner water than I do.” He also added that the inside of his mould-ridden boat “is not healthy – not good at all.”

    Could these situations be affecting his hands? “My nails are separating from the flesh. Cuts don’t bother me, but I’m scared about the state of my nails. They are black. I don’t know if it is caused by a fungal infection, the drinking water or the fungus inside the boat.”

    He bemoans chasing cross the Atlantic to get to the start on time, rather than focusing on getting to know his boat. But still smiling, he added more positively. “Now I am on catch-up and would like to catch up with Susie Goodall in 4th place – I gave my word to her mother before the start that I would look after her!” He joked.

    There is certainly a race now, not for 4th, but to capture a podium position at the finish back in Les Sables d’Olonne. Kopar, Goodall and even 6th placed Tapio Lehtinen, due to reach Hobart tomorrow (Tuesday) all have eyes on Estonian Uku Randmaa and his struggle to maintain pace with his barnacle encrusted yacht One and All.

    4,000 miles ahead of this group, Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede is currently facing what my become one of his biggest tests so far. In a 2-minute conversation with Race HQ in Les Sables d’Olonne today he spoke about 65knot winds and 11 metre seas. But at least he is now within 1,900 miles of Cape Horn, which the Frenchman expects to round on November 21st.

    Contrast this with the performance of last placed runners Australian Mark Sinclair and Russian Igor Zaretskiy, now a whole ocean apart from Jean-Luc’s Rustler 36 Matmut. Zaretskiy, who has had his problems fixing a broken forestay and suffering hand sores, has chalked up an average VMG of just 2.1knots over the past two months.

    Sinclair is clearly getting much more enjoyment from his solitude, but still, his average VMG over the same period is only 2.3knots. Last week he took time out to track down and photograph Gregor McGuckin’s abandoned yacht Hanley Energy Endurance. “Still afloat and emitting an AIS signal” he reported to Race HQ. Sinclair expects to reach the Boatshed.com Hobart film gate on Saturday December 8. By then both Van Den Heede and second placed Dutchman Mark Slats (Ohpen Maverick) are likely to have rounded Cape Horn and heading north up the Atlantic.








    Boat
    RACE NO 8

    Name Matmut
    Type Rustler 36 Masthead sloop
    Designer Holman & Pye
    Builder Rustler Yachts (UK)
    LOA 35.33ft / 10.77m
    LWL 26.92ft / 8.21m
    Beam 11.00ft / 3.35m
    Draft 5.50ft / 1.67m
    Displacement 16805 lbs / 7623 kgs
    Sail area 693sq. ft / 64.38sq. m

    Jean-Luc van den Heede completed a 6-month refit of his Rustler 36 class yacht Matmut in 2016, replacing her mast, rigging, sails, ropes and engine. He also completed the compulsory test sail under jury rig and spent the 2017/18 winter months sailing her in the Bay of Biscay and Atlantic to test the yacht in strong winds with assistance from former GGR entrant Lionel Regnier.





    Profile
    Name Jean-Luc van den Heede

    Born June 8th 1945

    Nationality French

    Country of entry France

    Jean-Luc van den Heede is the father figure of French solo sailing. The 5-time circumnavigator already holds the record for the fastest solo west-about non-stop circumnavigation against the prevailing winds and currents, and has been a podium finisher in four previous solo round the world races. He finished 2nd in the 1986 BOC Challenge Around Alone Race, 3rd in the 1990 Vendée Globe Race, 2nd in the 1993 Vendée Globe, and 3rd in the 1995 BOC Challenge Around Alone Race. Van den Heede bought a Rustler 36 class yacht in august 2015 and spent the first few months test sailing her out in the Atlantic before commencing a complete refit in his homeport of La Sables d’Olonne.

    He has won sponsorship from the French insurance group MATMUT.

    Jean-Luc says of the GGR: “From all my experiences, I am well aware of the difficulties this race poses. The slow speeds of these classic old boats with their long keels, the absence of weather information, the loss of all electronics and reliance on a sextant to plot positions, the lack of terrestrial contact, and the replacement of an electric pilot with wind vane self steering, will make this test even more random and difficult than the Vendée Globe.
    But this is good. I want to re-live the conditions and challenges that my sailing predecessors enjoyed and to this end I have optimised my Rustler 36: New mast, new rigging, new engine, new sails, watertight bulkheads, and new winches. I am very conscious of the problems that are likely to occur during our 8 or 9 months of sea and have done everything to make Matmut safer. I am also trying to get myself in the best physical condition with the assistance of a physio, a coach – and my bicycle!
    I have also rediscovered the environment and comradeship I loved so much during the first editions of these races. We are all conscious that this will be a difficult adventure and that engenders a strong bond between us that I have not seen since the first Mini Transat 6.50 and Vendée Globe race back in the early ‘90s.
    My goal is to be in good health at the start with a top boat, then, take each day in turn, absorbing the emotions and thoughts of those who preceded us: Slocum, Moitessier, Alain Gerbault, Vito Dumas and of course, my good friend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who set such an example for us all 50 years ago.”
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Golden Globe Race Ushers In July started by Photoboy View original post