Jean-Luc Van Den Heede on course to reach Hobart film drop on Friday
Dateline 01.10.2018 – Les Sables d’Olonne, France
Gregor McGuckin arrived into Rockingham, Perth, Western Australia today aboard the Australian frigate HMAS Ballarat following the dismasting of his Biscay 36 yacht Hanley Energy Endurance during a southern ocean storm on 21st September.
Speaking at a press conference, the 32-year old Irish yachtsman said:
It’s fantastic to be here in Perth. While Australia was never my intended final port, I couldn’t be happier and more grateful right now. My journey started some 92 days ago, when I departed France on Hanley Energy Endurance in an attempt to sail alone non-stop around the world.
In a horrendous storm, my yacht was capsized and dismasted, as was my competitor Abhilash Tomy’s yacht. I was uninjured and was planning to sail to safety. However, Abhilash was not so lucky. He suffered a back injury and was in immediate danger, so I built a jury rig and set a course for his location. Thankfully, we were both picked up and Abhilash is now recovering.
The real heroes today are the professionals that coordinate and execute such missions. All services were tested to their limits and excelled. The international cooperation between Australia, France, and India has proven that no matter how remote, there is always cover, and the investment in naval assets and training paid off. I understand the Ballarat crew had returned early from leave and I pass on my deep gratitude to them and their families for their dedication to duty.Gregor McGuckin
Of course, the Golden Globe Race continues and my thoughts are very much with my fellow competitors. My incident merely underpins the challenges they face and I am sure we would all wish the remaining boats a safe passage until the race completes next year. I would also like to thank Don McIntyre and his team for their support.
Right now I want to spend time with my family. I will reflect on my experience and address all matters and questions at great length in due course. Thanks again to all involved. I will forever be indebted for your efforts.Gregor McGuckin
Indian, Abhilash Tomy, who was rescued at the same time is now enroute to his home waters and recovering. These two retirements now leave 8 of the original 18 Golden Globe entrants who continue to be led by French veteran Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and his Rustler 36 Matmut. Jean-Luc has built up a 1,500 mile lead over 2nd placed Dutchman Mark Slats and is expected to reach the BoatShed.com film gate in Storm Bay, Tasmania on Friday. In a satellite call to Race HQ today, the 73-year old Frenchman reported:
All good, had a good week and good winds. Since this morning i have had 15 knot headwinds from the SE so am close hauled, and can’t go more south at the moment. No major nor minor probleme. ETA: 3 – 4 days depending on the wind direction changing soon or not.Jean-Luc Van Den Heede
Estonian Uku Randmaa sailing another Rustler 36 One and All, is 2,132 miles behind the leader, and now in 3rd place. He reported a major change in the weather since last week’s storms. ‘No wind, boat ok. On the radio with Susie Goodall and Mark Slats everyday. ETA: 20 days to Hobart’.
Goodall and her yacht DHL Starlight, 664 miles behind, has also been plagued by light winds: ‘No wind, but now used to these calms. Boat OK. A whale came yesterday very close, and a sea lion this morning. Not so much water. I’m a little bit concerned’. She would normally be collecting rain caught in the yacht’s mainsail, but the yellow paint finish on the cloth is tinting the water she collects. Her concern is that this could be toxic.
Race Organisers are also concerned for Russian skipper Igor Zaretskiy who reported a week ago that his hands had become so chapped and sore that he was having problems sailing his Endurance 35 Esmeralda. She has averaged only 1.8 knots over the past 24 hours but Team spokesman Rasim Poloskim reported today:
We had Igor on SSB at 1700UTC yesterday. The latest news: is that his fingers are working now. What we hear is that he was pretty much exhaust by the storm on 29 September. It was quite violent, and he decided to weather it by lying hove to. The wind was so strong that it broke the wing of the windvane self steering. Igor has a spare one onboard but it was not safe to work on the stern at that time. As he said, ‘It was the type of storm you are better staying down below in your sleeping bag!’.
He balanced Esmeralda by setting her storm sails, fixed the wheel, and was quite happy how she held a course. His storm jib sustained some damage and the bilge pump failed – although the latter has now been fixed. Last night he sounded pretty chipper, and signed off with his usual phrase, ‘Esmeralda OK’.Rasim Poloskim
Latest positions at 12:00 UTC today 01.10.18
- Jean- Luc VDH (FRA)Rustler 36 Matmut
- Mark Slats (NED)Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick
- Uku Randmaa (EST) Rustler 36 One and All
- Susie Goodall (GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight
- Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria
- Istvan Kopar (USA) Tradewind 35 Puffin
- Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda
- Mark Sinclair (Aus) Lello 34 Coconut
- Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland
- Ertan Beskardes (GBR) Rustler 36 Lazy Otter
- Kevin Farebrother (AUS) Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha
- Nabil Amra (PAL) Biscay 36 Liberty II
- Antoine Cousot (FRA) Biscay 36 Métier Intérim
- Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB
- Are Wiig (NOR) OE 32 Olleanna
- Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
- Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya
- Francesco Cappelletti (ITA) Endurance 35 007
BoatShed.com Film Gate in Storm Bay, Hobart, Tasmania
All skippers are compelled to pick up a buoy and stop in Storm Bay for a minimum of 90 minutes to hand across film and letters, be interviewed by the media and meet family and team members. No one can board the yachts or provide any assistance and the skipper cannot disembark.
Each skipper will be interviewed live by Race Chairman Don McIntyre and answer questions from media gathered at GGR Race HQ in Les Sables d’Olonne and Hobart. These interviews will be broadcast live on Facebook, and TV VNRs and hi.res photographs will be available to download from the Press Login pages on www.goldengloberace.com.
Don McIntyre is already in Hobart and available for interview on +61 (0) 481231710. Contact Don also if you wish to participate in one or more of these interviews firstname.lastname@example.org.