In Les Sables d’Olonne, Jane and I live in the 15th floor apartment of my friend JL VDH who is away sailing. We overlook the entrance to the river with a commanding 270 degree view of the ocean day and night. This full moon is incredible lighting my favourite silver-grey highway to the horizon. Looking out, I think of our GGR sailors all the time, as do all those in the GGR family. That family is spread around the world and is growing. We are focused on the Tracker, the Tweets, the Soundcloud and Facebook updates. That is where the GGR is and while personally I still cringe at the sight of so many people in airports, restaurants, offices, buses in fact everywhere, endlessly staring at their mobile device, GGR is feeding that too.
For GGR Social media it is the easiest and quickest way to get all types of media out as it happens. You may not know but if you go to the website and hit LIVE – then hit DAY BY DAY you have ALL the GGR social media news in the one spot online. You can check everything from there. It is the best place to get it all.
On GGR Facebook, in the past two weeks, we reached over 1 million people with over 400,000 video views. It works. We have even had some complaints that now with Flickr picture galleries, there is too much content and people cannot keep up. Yes we are happy about that. A few complained that our emailed news updates are not competitor updates like the ‘other’ Races put out every day. YES that is true, but we do not want to put out 300 updates and bore people. The daily stuff on social media is there for those who look for it. That works! You will only ever get one regular PRESS RELEASE from BARRY and hopefully just one NEWSLETTER a week from me that could be about anything, not just entrant race news.
Compliments? Yes there are and that’s the good news! We are receiving a huge amount of simple little messages and emails from all over the world. People enjoy experiencing this very REAL GGR adventure. They love the little tweets, they accept the entrant isolation and understand there will never be live satellite vision or photos from the sailors and they understand the 1968 concept. The 50th anniversary edition of the original seems to be working for now. It is not for everyone if you are after high adrenalin, but what a journey and beautiful example of the human spirit…. Don
WATCH THIS SPACE! Wow it is interesting watching the fleet when they do not all have computer weather and the same routing program onboard like the VENDEE. The leaders are making very different decisions. Who will be right, or wrong will play out in the next two days!
At the back of the fleet ANTOINE and ISTVAN are moving OK and about to sail into a no wind trough that will just sit there for a couple days so they will slow. LOIC and ABHILASH will finally get out of their light wind zone today and start moving again to keep up with the rest of the fleet. They know they need to get East to keep in the general air flow. Entrants speak with each other on HF radio occasionally and hear what each is doing. LOIC’s HF radio is now working again.
The main pack continues to move SE, which is the general recommendation for passing through this area in the least amount of time. Historically the Doldrums are the narrowest here. Then when you get through you need the easting to prepare yourself to tack and cut across the predominate SE trades to get south. GREGOR is moving at 6kts to the SE. Strangely IGOR has slowed to 3.4kts when the wind map suggests he should be moving well? Not sure why? Over the past days ARE doing 4.6kts has lost ground as I predicted two days ago with the others in this group in consistent wind catching up. UKU has sailed over to SUSIE for her birthday party today with both making 5.5kts and TAPIO further to the east where the breeze holds firm is still making up ground each day, currently doing 6kts.
Now the fun part JL VDH is holding his nerve! He continues to make SE and it is clear to me he is working to a PLAN! He knows this is the right thing to do NORMALLY. I am not sure how good his weather reports are. He uses the HAM network but he will be sure to tack anytime now. He is in an excellent position to move fast to the South and West. PHILIPPE has been forced to TACK with the wind and is now on Starboard heading away to the SE. In my opinion MARK SLATS may be too far to the west already that will cost him speed when he has to hold the trade winds closer to the bow to head south.
BUT! When you look at the forecast for the wind of these leaders in the next 24 hours, it shifts from SSE to SE and then 24 hours after that is keeps swinging to the ESE. This could change everything. JL VDH may lose some strategic advantage but sail faster on the best course. PHILIPPE will tack by late today probably and get back on track and even MARK SLATS could just squeak through. ALL very interesting indeed.
The leaderboard is hard to follow right now. It may not reflect the true leader. The computer distance sailed is worked out on a straight line to a waypoint just under CAPETOWN. The reality is all entrants now want to head south west (away from the direct line) and down the east coast of south America and around the South Atlantic high. This is the traditional way. BUT! The only thing wrong with that is that sailors do not usually do that at this time of the year and the South Atlantic High (a zone of light winds in the middle of the Atlantic) is not well formed yet. So watch this space. Anything could happen in the next week or so.
Istvan Chichester Class Consideration
On 17th JULY ISTVAN called GGR Chairman on his SAT Phone to DECLARE his move to CHICHESTER CLASS. This was accepted. ISTVAN asked for messages to be passed to his USA Manager to order a new wind vane and ship by air to Cape VERDE. ISTVAN requested navigation advice on best port to proceed to in CAPE VERDE. Only based on ISTVANS declared move to CHICHESTER CLASS did GGR comply with both requests as a SAT PHONE may NOT be used for any form of assistance for a GGR Entrant other than in an Emergency. NOR 3.1.4
Subsequently two days later, on the 19th JULY ISTVAN appears to have second thoughts about the Cape Verde stop. A new wind vane would not be delivered until 31st July at earliest and this could have been a factor. ISTVAN stopped at UTC 0600hrs on the 23rd JULY in MINDEO PORT on anchor. He received NO outside assistance and departed at approx. UTC 2100hrs on the 24th JULY. GGR Entrants may NOT enter any port. NOR 3.1.5
ISTVAN has now accepted his status as a CHICHESTER CLASS sailor, but requests re-consideration due to stress, effecting his decisions and that NO materiel advantage was gained through his actions.
BREACH OF RULES of NOTICE OF RACE
- Requesting and Accepting NON-EMERGENCY assistance on the SAT PHONE.
- Entering a Port.
ISTVAN was under stress from hand steering due to a Faulty wind vane. In a phone conversation of the 19th JULY he is clearly confused even about making emergency/distress Satellite phone calls being allowed. The responsibility for understanding NOR Rules rests with the Entrant. (The issue of SAT Phone use has been covered by GGR over the past two years in EXTREME detail in conference briefings, emails, publications and at two very comprehensive full day safety seminars in the weeks leading up to the Start of the GGR).
- GGR may make exceptions in the Application of the Rules. NOR 3.2
- In the spirit of the GGR and accepting stress may have confused ISTVAN on Rule interpretation and on the basis that no real or materiel advantage has been provided to ISTVAN through the inappropriate use of his satellite phone and his stop in Port, an alternate time penalty has been decided.
- For breaching NOR 3.1.4 an 18-hour time penalty is given.
- For breaching NOR 3.1.5 a 6-hour time penalty is given.
- ISTVAN will now move from CHICHESTER CLASS back into the GGR ENTRANT status.