(3 August 2022) – The double-handed, multi-stage Class 40 Globe40 race began its second leg on July 17, taking the fleet of five boats along the 7000nm course from Cape Verde to Mauritius. With the expectation that the leaders will be finished within 35 days, they are now halfway through, averaging 9.1 knots for the top duos.
The first week of racing featured a long sprint towards the African coast in search of an SE Passat, while the second leg towards the South Atlantic consisted of a seemingly never-ending beat spanning almost two weeks, with a short but lively passage through the doldrums and across the equator.
What followed was a fairly relaxed stretch of circuit with an average breeze of around 15 knots and mild temperatures off the coast of Brazil, along with a few small tactical pitfalls along the way.
In recent days, the skippers have embarked on the third phase of this epic leg, having gradually made up some ground east to bypass Saint Helena High and head towards South Africa, which is still some 1,500 miles ahead of their bows lies .
Currently sailing downwind, the pace has picked up across the fleet and skippers have had to up their game trying to adapt their strategies to this complex situation, slinking along a corridor of breezes between two windless high pressure zones.
Inevitably, the duos will be keen to make hay while the sun shines, as the door at the end of the corridor may be closed, leaving them to hit headwinds with the looming first storm under the tip of South Africa.
At the top there is a bitter duel between MILAI Around The World (JPN) and AMHAS (USA), with the teams being separated by only about 20 miles, which is very little after 3,600 miles of racing. Behind them are WHISKEY JACK (CAN) and GRYPHON SOLO 2 (USA) locked in equally fierce competition. In fact, their proximity, just six miles apart, last night meant they were able to speak to each other on VHF.
Meanwhile, SEC HAYAI (NED) remains in an intermediate position between the two groups, awaiting a favorable weather scenario that would allow them to catch up with the front of the fleet again.
For crews, the long t-shirt days in the trade winds are over, temperatures are dropping and the days are getting shorter. All thoughts are now on the next big passage around the tip of South Africa.
A major milestone in this race that comes with some trepidation, although it will be followed by a quick climb to Madagascar, Réunion and Mauritius. In theory, there is less risk of encountering strong winds on this final section of the course, but it can prove difficult to negotiate given the various weather strategies required to hook up to the numerous and varied systems.
“Halfway, almost three weeks of monitoring position reports, optimizing polars, monitoring grib files… the basics that go without saying for the course,” notes race director Christophe Gaumont. “But also sharing the crews’ adventure at sea for three weeks, experiencing a similar temperature spectrum, a mix of European heatwave and southern hemisphere trade winds.
“Over time, the regulatory daily emails have been fleshed out, from a cryptic ‘All right on board, nothing to report’ to longer sentences, appropriate exchanges to first talk about technical complications, and then to day-to-day life. But also the ups and downs now, the doubts and the little joys of life on board.
“Time has passed, a sense of trust has been built, and we are stepping into the moment of truth, with the cold approaching, the longer nights and the journey into the unknown as the lows roll in, the exchanges are becoming more frequent. It’s about staying in touch with the land for some, the sea for the rest. We still have half of the course to complete before we meet again in Mauritius!”
Race Details – Messages – Tracker
Results of the first leg:
The inaugural Globe40 is an eight-stage round-the-world race for two-handed Class40 teams. Since all stages are included in the overall ranking, the longer distances are weighted more heavily. The first stage, which lasted seven to eight days, had a coefficient of 1, while the second stage was classified as a stage of coefficient 3. The race is expected to end in March 2023. Seven teams were ready to compete but a starting line collision on Leg 1 eliminated The Globe En Solidaire with Eric and Léo Grosclaude (FRA), while the Moroccan team of Simon and Omar Bensenddik were eliminated on IBN BATTOUTA before Leg 2 starts.
Tangier, Morocco – June 26th
Stage 2 Start: Sao Vincente, Cape Verde Islands – July 17th
Stage 3 Start: Port Louis, Mauritius
Leg 4 Start: Auckland, New Zealand
Stage 5 Start: Papeete, French Polynesia
Stage 6 Start: Ushuaia, Argentina
Stage 7 Start: Recife, Brazil
Leg 8 Start: St. Georges, Grenada