Jean-Luc Van Den Heede continues to extend his lead over the seven remaining Golden Globe Race yachts now stretched across 4,800 miles of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Following in the wake of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s yacht Suhaili 50 years ago, the 73 year old Frenchman also cut inside Stewart Island on the southern tip of New Zealand to navigate recently through the treacherous Fouveaux Straight at night.
The short cut has gained him a further day advantage over second placed Dutchman Mark Slats (Rustler 36 Ophen Maverick) who is now some 2,000 miles astern, and not expected to reach the mandatory gate off Tasmania (AUS) before October 22.
That is assuming Slats recovers from injury, as the Dutch skipper alerted Race HQ that his yacht had just suffered two knock-downs in quick succession and that he had been hit by a toolbox flying across the cabin which may have resulted in him sustaining a cracked rib.
The tough Dutchman was not too concerned about the injury, but more about the sudden change in conditions. He reported that the winds had suddenly picked up to 30-35 knots and that a 3 metre southerly swell was hitting Ophen Maverick on the beam. Race HQ is monitoring the situation and will make a safety call to Slats tomorrow.
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