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un­flap­pable Jean-luc Van Den Heede shows how much ex­pe­ri­ence he has as a solo sailor in th­ese con­di­tions. The race is prov­ing to be an in­ter­est­ing in­sight into the ways of the sea.

David Mclaren

Your re­port on the sta­bil­ity of the tra­di­tional long-keeled Golden Globe

Race was very in­ter­est­ing.

I had been won­der­ing why we are see­ing such a huge num­ber of re­tire­ments, in­juries and dam­age in this race. So far, nine out of 18 starters have gone. The orig­i­nal race didn’t suf­fer any­thing like this, did it?

Yet th­ese boats are by far bet­ter pre­pared with bet­ter gear, bet­ter rig­ging and bet­ter sails/rigs, and un­der­stand­ing of the weather is or­ders of mag­ni­tude bet­ter. So why are they fall­ing by the way­side like this?

Are they so much more com­pet­i­tive that they’re push­ing too hard whereas the orig­i­nals treated progress more as one does in a cruise? We don’t see this sort of at­tri­tion rate in other round the world races with modern su­per­fast su­perlight boats viewed as far less sta­ble.

Brian Phillips

‘He who makes the fewest mis­takes wins’, the old say­ing goes. Jean-luc Van Den Heede very de­lib­er­ately re­duced the size, weight and com­plex­ity of his rig, rea­son­ing from ex­pe­ri­ence that he’d spent far more of his time on his pre­vi­ous cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tions with at least one reef in com­pared with us­ing full sail. A smaller rig is far less li­able to fail­ure.

He en­sured all his work­ing sails could be man­aged from the cock­pit, avoid­ing the many time-con­sum­ing and ex­haust­ing trips to the fore­deck to change head­sails. He tested and retested all his sys­tems on the wa­ter dur­ing the pre­vi­ous win­ter un­til they were sim­ply re­li­able. He em­ployed the ‘KISS’ prin­ci­ple.

Freed from much un­help­ful drudgery, he could con­cen­trate his en­ergy on route de­ci­sion-mak­ing and sail­ing the boat closer to its po­ten­tial than oth­ers.

On the rolling road that is the Cape to Tassie leg, he chose a lat­i­tude and tracked it down it. Oth­ers gybed here, tacked there, sail­ing fur­ther. Hence his hand­some lead.

Richard Sand­berg

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