HomeGolden Globe RaceGodlen Globe Race - Kirsten Neuschäfer climbs Atlantic to France

Godlen Globe Race – Kirsten Neuschäfer climbs Atlantic to France

Kirsten Neuschäfer (RSA) continues to surge ahead in the 2022-23 Golden Globe Race with a 530 miles lead over Abhilash Tomy (IND), and has now entered a zone she knows like the back of her hand, having worked in the region as a commercial skipper aboard Skip Novak’s Pelagic.

She made a quick detour past Port Stanley in the Falkland islands, her base for Antarctic expeditions, to say ‘Hi!’ to her many friends there on the way back to France. It was a huge boost and an emotional moment for her as she climbs the Atlantic Ocean toward the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.

But will her lead be enough to keep her ahead of Tomy who has proven to be a bit quicker upwind and in light conditions of the Atlantic? Both have now sailed 75% of the course and are left with the final stretch of sea back to where they started 170 days ago in France.

After she rounded Cape Horn on February 15, a huge storm with 75 knot gusts and big seas crossed just days ahead of her when she was leaving the Falklands. Neuschäfer now has over 1000 miles of challenging sailing, first with unpredictable systems sweeping from the west and then Trades that could be forward or aft of the beam. Only then does she reach the Horse Latitudes at 30°S to endure rain and the start of frustrating doldrums.

Once across the equator, it all comes hard on, forward of the beam, wet sailing for weeks before entering the North Atlantic at the end of the northern hemisphere’s winter. On top of that, with 22,000 miles non-stop in their wake, the boats have suffered a lifetime of sailing hard. The race still has a long way to go!

In second place, Tomy sailed past the infamous Cape Horn at 18:00 UTC on February 18. The achievement follows having spent most of the previous week trapped on a lee shore off the coast of Chile, desperately trying to repair his broken wind vane in 30 to 40 knots of wind bound for Cape Horn. He did it!

Will his windpilot go the distance? He now thinks it will, having sacrificed his chart table and then toilet door for Windvane parts and finally his yacht’s emergency rudder, even dismantling an anchor for more bits. His repairs, however, have not been limited to the windvane and have also included stitched sails, broken halyards, repaired spreaders with various trips aloft, dismantled wind generators, electrical system backouts, fixed water and diesel tank leaks, etc.

Meanwhile, Michael Guggenberger (AUT) is just 400 miles from Cape Horn. His well prepared Biscay 36 is in the middle of storms with 60 knot winds and 8 meter seas. GGR has been providing regular weather updates, but there is nowhere for him to hide. He has prepared well for this blow, which is going for nearly three days, while the seas continue to build.

Missing a weather window while exiting the scenic Chilean port from the east of Chiloé island, Simon Curwen (GBR) sailed straight out into strong south-westerly headwinds and challenging seas, making no progress at all. He had to turn back and requested GGR weather and navigation advice to seek shelter in a bay behind an island some 40 miles away.

There, he sat waiting for better weather, before finally departing six days after originally setting out. Frustrating light to moderate headwinds continued for a few days. Then with building westerly then north-westerly winds, he was off. It was an eventful week, as later that night he was in storm conditions with 40-55 knots north-westerly winds. Today, he has a window of some moderate winds and then no storms for the next five days which should get him Cape Horn.

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Credit for helping with rescue of Tapio Lehtinen:
• Kirsten Neuschäfer: 35 hours + 30 litres of fuel
• Abhilash Tomy: 12hrs

2022 GGR Class:
1. Kirsten Neuschäfer (39) / South Africa / Cape George 36
2. Abhilash Tomy (43) / India / Rustler 36
3. Michael Guggenberger (44) / Austria / Biscay 36
4. Ian Herbert Jones (52) / UK / Tradewind 35

2022 GGR Chichester Class:*
1. Simon Curwen (63) / UK / Biscay 36 (will stop to repair windvane)
2. Jeremy Bagshaw (59) / South Africa / OE32 (stopped in Hobart to clean hull)
* Competitors shift to this class by making one stop.

Retired
Edward Walentynowicz (68) / Canada / Rustler 36 (dropped out, Sept. 8)
Guy deBoer (66) / USA / Tashiba 36 (ran aground, Sept. 16)
Mark Sinclair (63) / Australia / Lello 34 (retired in Lanzarote, Sept. 22)
Pat Lawless (66) / Ireland / Saga 36 (retired in Cape Town, Nov. 9)
Damien Guillou (39) / France / Rustler 36 (retired in Cape Town, Nov. 14)
Ertan Beskardes (60) / UK / Rustler 36 (retired in Cape Town, Nov. 16)
Tapio Lehtinen (64) / Finland / Gaia 36 Masthead sloop (sank off Cape Town, Nov. 18)
Arnaud Gaist (50) / France / BARBICAN 33 MKII-long keel version (retired near Saint Helena, Dec. 9)
Elliott Smith (27) / USA / Gale Force 34 (retired, Dec. 20)
Guy Waites (54) / UK / Tradewind 35 (stopped in Cape Town to clean/paint hull; retired in Hobart after losing his liferaft, Feb. 10)

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