Jean Luc Van Den Heede (73) brukte 212 dager, 5 timer og 10 minutter. Han er nå den eldste person i historien som har fullført en jorden rundt seilas alene uten stopp, og han slår dermed legenden Sir Robin Knox-Johnston som var 67 år da han gjennomførte sin seilas.
Fortsatte tross rigghavari
Det var lenge usikkert om Van Den Heede i det hele tatt kunne fullføre seilasen. Etter å ha opparbeidet en ledelse på rundt 2000 nautiske mil til Mark Slats, gjorde han kollbøtte i Sørishavet på vei mot Kapp Horn og fikk alvorlig skade på riggen. Franskmannen satte flrst kursen mot Chile, men etter selv å ha klatret opp i riggen og foretatt en midlertidig reparasjon av undervantene som var dratt 5-10 cm nedover i masten, valgte han å fortsette seilasen.
Slats drar innpå
Ved Kapp Horn var ledelsen til Mark Slats halvert og nederlenderen dro stadig innpå på veien nordover langs Sør Amerika. En stund så det ut til at han skulle seile forbi franskmannen, men Van Den Heede avgjorde seilasen ved et smartere veivalg da han seilte nord om Azorene og på den måten først kom inn i nordvestvinden som har ført ham direkte til målet.
Storm i Biskaia
En storm i Biskaia har imidlertid gjort de siste dagers seilas krevende for begge, og mens Van Den Heede nå er trygt i havn har det oppstått en opphetet diskusjon mellom regattaledelsen og Mark Slats hjelpemannskap på land. For at leserne skal få best mulig inntikt i dette drama, har vi valg å gjengi dialogen in extenso:
STOP PRESS – Storm clouds surround Mark Slats
Dutchman faces time penalty for breach of Satellite communication rules
Dateline: 18:03 UTC 28. 01. 2019 – Les Sables d’Olonne, France
Second placed Golden Globe Race skipper Mark Slats tonight is facing a time penalty for a breach of satellite communication rules, and direct outside assistance from his Dutch team manager Dick Koopmans.
Slatsis facing a dilemma: To run ahead of an approaching north-westerly storm and hope to reach the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne on Thursday evening before it strikes the Vendee coast – a lee shore; lie hove-to outside the Bay of Biscay until the storm has passed, or seek a refuge, which is allowed under the race rules, provided he does not step ashore or communicate with the outside world other than via VHF or HF radio.
At 10:30, Race HQ received a communication fromDick Koopmans,Mark Slats‘ team manager, asking for the Race finish line to be moved 50 miles offshore. This was denied.
11:59, Race HQ responded toKoopmanssaying that Race ChairmanDon McIntyrehad sent a weather warning toSlatsand thatMarkand subsequently called via his safety sat phone to discuss the weather scenario.Slatsadvised that he was receiving weather forecasts onboard and was aware of the approaching storm. The email advisedKoopmansthatSlatswas not slowing down and continuing towards the finish line. It added.“But if you want a message passed on the weather, we are happy to do that. Just email here.”
12:21 Koopmansreplied by e.mail saying that“I spoke to Gerrit Hiemsta, one of our leading meteorologists in Holland…In his opinion it is completely unsafe to sail into the Bay of Biscay. He suggests to stay outside and finish in La Coruna or Brest, but not in Les Sables d’Olonne. This is also the (unofficial) opinion of the Dutch Coastguard and Falmouth Coastguard. I am very unhappy with your advice and consider to callMarkon his Iridium phone, whatever the consequences may be.”
13:16, Race ChairmanDon McIntyreresponded:“Just a reminder, we never give directives to entrants. We give opinions and the final choice is up to entrants.Markis receiving weather reports on his radio….
I would strongly suggest that you do NOT callMark. I have offered to message him any advice you wish to send him in relation to safety avoiding the storm.I am awaiting for that advice.All decisions are the responsibility of the skipper.…I am nowofficially asking you for your adviceon the safest route for him to take if you wish to be involved with efforts to send him to the safest place. I will then pass him that from you.”
13:28: message fromGGR HQ toMark. “Dickadvice:head to la Corunna or Brest to miss the storm.”
13:33 Email fromKoopmansto GGR:”Ignoring authorities like Coastguard and top meteorologist. I do not trust the Race Committee on their knowledge in the situation. I think safety is now more important than rules.
I will sendMarkmessages to his Iridium phones from now on.
Advice from Mr Hiemsta – ‘Have a helicopter ready’
13:34. Email fromKoopmansto GGR:Do not speak toMarkin my name.”
13:38 Race HQ toKoopmans:“Markwill be penalised for breech of rules. We have NOT been directed by any authority and if you look at your emails, we are awaiting your advice on where to send him. Your actions and commentsDO NOTrelate in the best interests ofMark’s raceand we are both working towardsMark’s Safety.PLEASE place your message through GGR.If you need clarification, please ring. WE ARE STILL WAITING YOUR ADVICE.
YOU RISK PENALISING MARK FOR NO REASON AT ALL…YOUR CHOICE. WE HAVE MADE IT CLEAR WE CAN SEND ANY MESSAGE TO HIM. WE ARE STILL WAITING. YOU MUST NOT CONTACT MARK
13:46:Email fromKoopmansto Race HQ:“Safety is more important than penalties. You can read all the messages later and decide on penalties.”
Koopmans ignored RACE HQ advise and messaged Slats directly – a direct breach of the Notice of Race.
16: 00(approx.): Markphoned Race HQ to discuss the weather and asked permission to callKoopmansfor advice, and asked forKoopman’s phone number. GGR agreed asKoopmanswould not give GGR the safety information. At subsequent meeting of the Race Committee, it was decided not to provide the number since a call toKoopmansconstituted outside assistance and a further breach of the Notice of Race.
16:12:Markcalled Race HQ to say that he had altered course toLa Corunnaand confirmed thatKoopmans had contacted him directly. Slats was advised that he now faced a time penalty.
The Race Committee will meet tomorrow to access the evidence and any time penalty will have to be served at sea before the finish.
In a statement tonight,Don McIntyresaid:“There are two issues here. One is safety and we all work in the best interests ofMark Slats. The second is process under the Notice of Race. GGR continues to offer safety weather advice to all competitors. Unfortunately,Slats’ team manager decided not to abide by the Notice of Race.”