Golden Globe Race - Leader suffers knock-down and mast damage

Golden Globe Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede has reported that he has suffered a knock-down and mast damage.

At 15:00 hrs UTC 5 November, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede called GGR Founder Don McIntyre to advise that his Rustler 36 Matmut had been knocked down badly to about 150 deg.

This had damaged the connecting bolt attachment to the mast that holds all four lower shrouds. The mast was not in danger of falling, but it was not securely tensioned. The bolt has slipped 5cm down in the mast section and slackened the rigging.

He is still in the storm with 11 metre seas and 65 knot winds. Conditions are expected to moderate in the next few hours.

The 73-year old race Frenchman from Les Sables d'Olonne is now running downwind with no sails until conditions improve. He will then effect a repair that will allow him to hoist sail again and make for Valparaiso, Chile where he will make a permanent repair.

Jean Luc was not injured during the knock-down, has requested NO ASSISTANCE at this time and is confident he can make Valparaiso safely. This will mean that he will move to the Chichester Class once he makes that port to effect repairs.

This is NOT a CODE ORANGE situation for GGR and Jean-Luc is well in control of the situation. GGR will monitor his progress to port.

Dutchman Mark Slats on Ohpen Maverick is now the Golden Globe Race leader.

Second, 1,000 nm behind is Estonian Uku Randmaa with his barnacle encrusted yacht, One and All. Britain's Susie Goodall on her Rustler 36 DHL Starlight is now in third place.

Istvan Kopar, the American/Hungarian GGR skipper sailing the Tradewind 35 Puffin gave a chilling account of the recent southern ocean storm to have swept the through the fleet.

An exhausted Kopar had been forced to seek shelter off South Port beach, before continuing on around Tasmania’s South East Cape.

He arrived at the compulsory Hobart film drop in Storm Bay Tasmania without a radio, direction finder nor an accurate idea of time.

“You really don’t know where you are and it was blowing a minimum of 50 knots. Right now, I’m more attracted to gardening than offshore sailing.”

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