Newsy Week in Golden Globe
The week is only half over but it’s already been a newsy one in the Golden Globe nonstop solo around-the-world race.
Jean-Luc Van Den Heede Reaches Pacific
On Monday, the veteran professional sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede was the first to reach the Pacific Ocean. He extended his lead over the seven remaining Golden Globe Race yachts, which stretch across 4,800 miles of Southern Ocean. On the weekend, the 73-year-old Frenchman followed in the wake of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Suhaili 50 years ago by cutting inside Stewart Island on the southern tip of New Zealand to navigate through the treacherous Foveaux Straight at night. By taking the shortcut, he gained a further day’s advantage over second-place Dutchman Mark Slats in the Rustler 36 Ophen Maverick, who was then some 2,000 miles astern.
Mark Slats Injured
But, that same day, Slats alerted Race HQ that his Ophen Maverick had just suffered two knockdowns in quick succession and that he had been hit by a toolbox flying across the cabin. The impact may have cracked one of his ribs. He reported that the winds had suddenly picked up to 30-35 knots and that a 10-ft southerly swell was hitting his Rustler 36 on the beam.
Abhilash Tomy Back Surgery
Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy underwent major back surgery last Thursday following his rescue in the Southern Ocean. He’s expected to make a full recovery. Capt. Sharma visited him in the INHS Kalyani Naval Hospital and tweeted, “This naval legend now has a back of steel. The docs are totally floored by his sense of humour.”
Tomy responded, “Platinum, sir. My value has just gone up!”
Gregor McGuckin Returns to Ireland
Gregor McGuckin’s Biscay 36 ketch dismasted in the same storm as Abhilash Tomy. He returned to Ireland on Monday. Recalling his ordeal aboard his Hanley Energy Endurance, which suffered three knockdowns, he admitted: “We were in the worst possible place to be in at the worst possible time. The seas were huge —15 metres high — and the biggest problem I had was keeping the boat facing downwind and not slewing round to be beam-on.”
When he heard on September 21 that Tomy had been injured some 90 miles to the north, he set up a jury rig to sail toward him. ”I thought I might be first on the scene — but prayed that I wouldn’t be!”
To keep up with the Golden Globe Race, see www.goldengloberace.com.
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