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  1. Even with a damaged rig, Jean-Luc van den Heede’s Rustler 36 Malmut (aka “Little Snail”) now has a lead of more than 300 miles with just 700 miles to go to the finish of the Golden Jubilee Golden Globe Race.

    Veteran French skipper Jean-Luc van den Heede (73) has been giving a strategic sailing masterclass in the final 1500 miles of the Golden Jubilee Golden Globe Race writes W M Nixon. A week ago, after enduring flukey and unfavourable conditions all the way northward from the Equator, his distance from the finish was barely 50 miles less than that of second-placed Mark Slats, although the two boats out in mid-ocean were never within two hundred miles of each other.

    This was because van den Heede was making every effort to get himself northwest towards the slowly approaching more favourable winds. In the end he made so much westing that he passed through the western passage of the Azores, and soon found himself making excellent speeds in the right direction well north of the islands, despite his boat’s damaged rig.

    Meanwhile, it was Slats who was now drawing the short straw in terms of the developing wind situation. His position well to the southeast meant he was on the wrong side of the new weather setup which was favouring van den Heede, and in the end he passed the Azores to the eastward, hard on the wind.

    Van den Heede is only 700 miles from the finish, right on line for Les Sables d’Olonne in the Bay of Biscay on port tack in northwest to north winds, and making 6.8 knots in his “Little Snail”, as he has nick-named his Rustler 36 Malmut.

    But Slats in his sister-ship is close northeast of the Azores, hard on the wind at only 5 knots on starboard tack, and all of 1020 miles from the finish. It’s looking good for van den Heede. Yet we mustn’t forget that he’s racing with that roughly-repaired rig, even if - despite it - he was making 7.9 knots in the right direction north of the Azores.

    Race tracker here: https://goldengloberace.com/livetracker/

  2. Spindrift Crossing the Doldrums

    Yann Guichard and his 11 crew on the 40–metre trimaran Spindrift 2 are maintaining a record pace in their quest win the around the world Jules Verne Trophy. They have an advantage of 214.4 nm having covered 734.9 nm in the past 24 hours (as of 20:45 UTC).

    They are currently just north of the equator and sailing at nearly 13 knots as they make the transition through the doldrums.

    Tracker: www.spindrift-racing.com/jules-verne/en/live

    See also Afloat.ie's Spindrift 2 North Sails competition and be in with a chance to win a North Sails Holdall here

  3. Spindrift 2 - her record bid is powered by North Sails 3Di sails

    Yann Guichard and his crew started their world tour at Ushant on, Wednesday, January 16 at 11h 47min 27sec UTC. To win the Jules Verne Trophy they have to recross the line by February 26 at 11h 16m 57sec UTC to break the record, held since 2017 by Francis Joyon and his crew, of 40 days 23h 30m 30s.

    The weather conditions were favourable at the Creac'h lighthouse, which marks one end of the start and finish line of the Jules Verne Trophy course, the round the world sailing record via the three Capes. A southwesterly breeze of 20 knots and calm seas allowed the giant black and gold trimaran to head quickly towards a front off Ushant and pick a good system from the north-west. It is these strong winds that Spindrift 2 will be able to pick up to take them quickly down to Madeira, the Canaries and the Cape Verde archipelago.

    According to the routing of the team's onshore weather router, Jean-Yves Bernot, the team could reach the equator during the night of Sunday to Monday, January 21, after less than five days at sea. Once over this imaginary line between the two hemispheres, Yann Guichard and his crew must continue to speed on, with the aim of crossing the longitude at the Cape of Good Hope in about twelve days. This challenge is very possible as Francis Joyon and his crew reached the African cape in 12d 21h 22m.

    By adding all the best reference times since the first attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy in 1993, the crewed world tour from Ushant to Ushant could potentially be completed in 38 days.

    "the voyage from Ushant to Ushant could potentially be completed in 38 days"

    The first stretch towards the equator looks very favourable, but it is still too early to anticipate what follows. If a depression moves away from Brazil during the passage off Salvador de Bahia, the weather configuration could allow the team more options to sail more directly towards the South without having to go around the St. Helena anticyclone.

    Afterwards it will be the depressions to the south, their trajectories, north-south positioning and speed that will determine if the Indian Ocean can be crossed in less than 5d 21h 08m and the Pacific in less than 7d 21h

    ...
  4. Tom Dolan in the boat he sailed in his Figaro debut last year

    ‘Flying Irishman’ Tom Dolan will join Royal St George Yacht Club members for brunch at the Dun Laoghaire waterfront clubhouse from noon this Saturday 19 January.

    Tom was nominated for Irish Sailor of the Year 2017 and again in 2018, and his adventures feature prominently in the 2019 Afloat Irish Sailing Annual.

    The France-based Irish sailing professional has been nicknamed ‘l’irlandais volant — or ‘the Flying Irishman’ — for his accomplishments in the challenging solo offshore Figaro race.

    Tom will tell RStGYC members about his intense 2018 season which culminated in the Solitaire du Figaro, a story illustrated with slides and videos that he’s already brought around Ireland.

    He will also elaborate on his plans for this year’s race with his new boat, the revolutionary foiling Beneteau Figaro 3, which he previously revealed in a talk at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Cub earlier this month.

    The offshore sailor’s visit comes after a welcome talk by Annalise Murphy last week, and should be of

    ...
  5. Robin Davie sailing aboard his 36ft yacht C'EST La VIE

    Falmouth Coastguard has issued an 'All Ships Alert' for British solo yachtsman Robin Davie, now three days overdue on a300-mile solo cross-Channel voyage from Les Sables d'Olonne, France back to his home port of Falmouth in Cornwall.

    The 67-year old experienced sailor, who has successfully completed three solo circumnavigations, set out from the French port at 10:00 on Saturday 5th January, telling his brother Rick Davie to expect him back last Tuesday. Nothing has been heard from him since.

    Davie was reported overdue on Wednesday morning and the UK Maritime Coastguard Falmouth have been broadcasting alerts to all shipping in the area since then. No EPIRB signal has been detected.

    Weather conditions have been light and variable for the past week. Davie's yacht, the Rustler 36 C'EST La VIE had recently undergone a complete refit including new mast and rigging, which had been fitted in Les Sables D'Olonne.

    Davie had entered the 2018 Golden Globe Race but ran out of time to complete his preparations, and was returning home to Cornwall intending to compete in the next GGR solo round the world race in 2022.

    Born in 1951 in St Agnes, Cornwall, the sea has always been in his blood. Davie recalled recently Robin Knox-Johnston's return to Falmouth at the end of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1969 to become the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world. His school refused to give his class time off to watch the spectacle, but he remembers saying to himself: “I’ll do that one day”.

    After serving in the British Merchant Navy for 20 years, Davie competed in the first BOC Challenge Around Alone Race in 1990 in yacht named Spirit of Cornwall, and went on to make his second and third solo circumnavigations in the 1994 and 1998 BOC races. During the 1994 race he was dismasted thousands of miles from Cape Horn and sailed under jury rig around the Cape to the Falkland Islands.