Earlier this week Mark heard via radio, that raceleader Jean-Luc van den Heede, suffered a 150-degree knockdown. Van den Heede's mast is seriously damaged. For a while, it seemed Slats could take over the lead position. Van den Heede decided to sail to Chile to repair his mast. If he would do this ashore, he would be set back to the Chichester class. Slats would then, automatically , take over the leading position. Eventually, the experienced French sailor decided to repair his mast at sea without outside assistance. This keeps him with a lead of almost 1500 miles on Slats, in the race. For calling his wife after the knockdown, the 73-year-old Frenchman received a time penalty of eighteen hours.
Slats: ‘At first I said shit, if he had gone ashore in Chile it would have been much easier for me, but on the other hand it will be very exciting as well. I can tell you today I was handsteering all day today. I am really hyper here on board. I am doing everything I can to sail an average of 6.5 knots. I really try to do my best and it's going to be really cool again. '
Slats thinks that the Frenchman, can sail at an equal speed in calm weather in the Atlantic Ocean. But in heavy weather, where wind must be sailed at 35-40 knots, Slats expects to be able to get higher and be able to sail harder. When Slats heard about the damage to Van den Heede's boat, he temporarily sailed more slowly to keep the boat and materials intact. When he heard that Van den Heede stayed in the race, he literally put up all the sails again and pushed his boat Ohpen Maverick. 'Full speed suits me better, I really do everything I can and I’m handsteering a lot. This is so cool. I am curious which date I’ll arrive. '
Slats passed 142 degrees latitude on Monday 12 November and halfway Tasmania (Australia) and Cape Horn. When he passes 132 degrees latitude 3 days later, he's halfway New Zealand and Cape Horn. 'I have just had a weather forecast for a week. It looks good. The next 2 to 3 days will be a bit more slow but then again 25-30 knots, sometimes 40 knots. So it seems to me that the weather is going fast '.
Slats's tactic is to sail hard in light weather, put a lot of sail up and perhaps he’ll be sailing overpowered in light weather. But if the weather is heavy, he keeps sailing controlled as he has done before. 'I do not want to destroy things. When things get destroyed, it is almost always in heavy weather. ' For this reason Slats takes a step back in heavy weather. Last night Slats had lighter weather. He sailed through the night with the big Bolle Jan.
Slats ends his voicemessage: ‘I do like to continue, I'm really looking forward to it all. Right now , days go faster and at night I notice that I am out every 20 minutes. I am on deck to check the sails and see if the wind changed or not. I have not slept for two days. Just because of the fact that I am so busy with it. I really like it! ‘
Picture by Toby Schrapel | Toby Schrapel Freelance Photography
Pressrelease by Karen Hogenbirk | Hogenbirk Support
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