Dutchman Mark Slats has taken a further 154 miles out the Golden Globe Race leader, Frenchman Jean-Luc Van Den Heede over the past 7 days.
Slats has reduced the gap to 794 miles with 4,300 miles still to run before the winner returns to Les Sables d’Olonne at the end of January.
Both have had their share of problems during the past week.
Slats, who was suffering severe stommach problems untl tracking the source to rotten milk, was forced to lie hove-st for the first time during this race after running into heavy head winds.
Since then, business has returned to normal but Slats has to endure another 500 miles of northerly winds before beginning to experience the Easterly air flow now benefitting Van Den Heede 13 degrees to the north.
These head winds gave Van Den Heede equal concern at the end of last week when the pounding even in moderate conditions, extended the crack in Matmut’s aready damaged mast.
The 73-year old Frenchman was forced to climb the mast a sixth time to reinforce the temporary binding that is all that holds the lower shroud attachment points to the spreader above.
Now that he is back to reaching across the winds, all seems OK for the moment, but he knows that to finish, he must sail very conservativly.
Monday, 17 December, third placed Uku Randmaa of Estonia is within 230 miles of Cape Horn, and looking forward to rounding some time on Wednesday.
He is experiencing boisterous 40 knot following winds at present, but the forecast suggests that this could die to almost nothing within the next 48 hours.
Fourth placed American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar has repaired the failing bearings within the steering pedestal aboard his Tradewind 35 Puffin, and now faces the prospect of running the gauntlet before another low pressure system in three days time.
This one threatens to be the biggest storm to-date with 60-70 knot winds and 12-15 metre seas. Race HQ has advised Kopar to thread his way south of the first small storm but not drop below 53S latitude before 20 December.
Finland’s Tapio Lentinen whose Gaia 36 Asteria remains covered in barnacles and trails in fifth place among the Glolden Globe racers some 6,300 miles behind the race leader.
He has a solid breeze in typical southern Ocean weather for now and will have been buoyed by the fact that he has taken 102 miles out of Jean-Luc’s lead over the past week.
Retired at 17 December 2018
Ertan Beskardes (GBR) Rustler 36 Lazy Otter
Kevin Farebrother (AUS) Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha
Nabil Amra (PAL) Biscay 36 Liberty II
Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB
Antoine Cousot (FRA) Biscay 36 Métier Intérim
Are Wiig (NOR) OE32 Olleanna
Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya
Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
Francesco Cappelletti (ITA) Endurance 35 007
Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland
Susie Goodall (GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight
Mark Sinclair (AUS) Lello 34 Coconut
1. Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda – In Albany, W Australia