Mark will be at Cape Horn this weekend! He has been there before. He told me before the start, he will feel nearly at home then and just needs to sail the last leg. He also told me that this last part took longer than he then thought. So he will be happy but he also knows it is still a long way to France.
There will be a NW gale during the rounding. The gale will be there for about 8 hours. In time its manageable but it is close to shore and some dangerous waves can develop. I expect Mark to hand steer for most of the time if the sea state asks for it. After the storm he will have a short period of headwinds and then he can set the spinnaker I hope.
Mark has gained a lot of miles on Jean Luc. This was expected but his average speed will drop after Cape Horn. The winds will be more from aside and in general he will get some headwinds. This is good for the race. Marks sail sets are relative good for this last part and I think that if he changes his sails regularly for optimum speed, he will be half a knot faster than Jean Luc. Jean Luc still has his mast problem so he might sail half a knot slower. With a predicted daily average of around 120 miles for Mark and 105 miles for Jean Luc, Mark will be home after 7314/120=61 days and Jean Luc will be home in 6164/105=59 days. (Distance from tracker today)
Jean Luc will lose a day in his “penalty box” so that makes them finish within a day! All on paper and without too much reliability but you see it is still a race.
Uku and Susie need 155 miles daily to be there on the same date. This is much faster than their average and not realistic. But Jean Luc can lose his mast and also Mark can have damage before the finish. Therefore Uku and Susie can still both be on the podium.
Earlier I mentioned Nehaj from Susanne in the Longue Route. She is behind Mark but makes around the same speed. In my last voice message to Mark I mentioned her to keep him focused. She might be in contact with Mark by HF radio because she seems to know lots of details about his cold wet and leaking boat. The 40 ft aluminium v-shaped boat of Susanne is 100% watertight and fitted with a heater. She will sail in much more comfort than most GGR boats but that is the difference between a race and a challenge.
There is some discussion about the positions from the GGR tracker send to the ships by HF radio. Looking at the accurate routes around the forbidden areas it looks as if nearly all boats use this now and then. Although this was not the idea for the GGR, it is not fair to change the rule halfway and forbid it. The boats in front have an extra advantage with it. I proposed GGR to let it start for all boats after passing Cape Horn. Then it would be equal sailing for all boats from start to finish.
Another comment on rules is the 18 hr penalty on Jean Luc for using his Iridium phone. If it is compulsory to have two working Iridium phones onboard, you cannot expect not to use them when you know that your partner and family are very concerned about your safety. Especially if you are in a real dangerous sea with mast problems or other problems. In 1968 there were no trackers, Internet and reliable weather forecasts and reports. People at home had no specific reason to worry. Now they see all the dangers and even get them in bold capital letters on the GGR Facebook page. If you stick to these rules just do not put a tracker on Internet and do not post any reports from the boats other than by HF radio. But for publicity it seems to be no problem to bend the rules.
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