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Globe40 Leg 8 Update: AMHAS moves into the lead in a stormy Azores archipelago

by Sirius Events 9 Mar 20:09 GMT 9 March 2023

The Anglo-American crew on AMHAS moved into the lead at the Azores gate to the west of the archipelago today at 19H19 UTC with a 51 miles lead over their closest rival more in the south, the Dutch team on SEC HAYAI.

In this 8th and final leg of the GLOBE40, Craig Horsfield and Oliver Bond have covered nearly 2590 miles, with around 1270 miles to go to the finish in Lorient, Brittany. Like their fellow competitors, they're having to contend with some particularly difficult conditions with a front rolling through generating 40 knots of SSW'ly wind, gusting to 55 and heavy seas with 6 to 7-metre waves. GRYPHON SOLO 2 posted up to 62 knots of boat speed last night. AMHAS is ahead of the latest forecasts and could well cross the final finish line in this round the world epic on Tuesday 14 March.

One final test before the finish

Having set sail from the southernmost island in the Antilles, Grenada, on 24 February, the fleet initially headed northwards, picking off all the islands of the Caribbean arc whose names conjure up a sense of gentle tranquillity: St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Martinique and Dominica. WHISKEY JACK even extended her time there with an unscheduled stop in Guadeloupe on Sunday 26 February for a rapid repair to one of her rudders. Alas, the pit stop cost the crew dearly the following week, which was punctuated by a zone of high pressure that was impressive in scale and duration. Indeed, the extensive area of calms stretched from the Moroccan coast to the Bahamas, or up to 400-miles wide, and spanned a period of time reminiscent of a remake of the doldrums. Ensnared for days in zero or very light airs, the skippers had no other option than to sit tight and wait for the wind to kick back in. They were soon back with a vengeance though, because by hooking onto the southern edge of a low-pressure system located in the North Atlantic, they could finally climb up to the latitude of the Azores archipelago, albeit at the mercy of some meaty winter depressions. Conditions over the past 24 hours have really put the machines and the sailors to the test, with more of the same due to be served up over the next 24 hours. Having already clocked up over 30,000 miles since the start of the event last June, it's all about striking a balance in the sprint for the finish.

A week to celebrate the string of arrivals in Lorient

Together with the teams from LORIENT GRAND LARGE and LORIENT AGGLOMERATION, the organisation is putting in place a comprehensive programme to round off the event in style with the focus on enabling the public to share what has been a truly unique round the world adventure, the prologue for which set sail from LORIENT LA BASE on 11 June 2022.

The programme step by step (local times):

  • On Saturday 11 March - 11:00 hrs: inauguration of 'LE GRAND VOYAGE DE LA GLOBE40' exhibition, 9 x 3.5 m high four-sided totems dockside in LORIENT LA BASE, which recount the great epic leg by leg
  • Tuesday 14 March - 10:00 hrs: press conference - Cité Eric Tabarly
  • Tuesday 14/ Wednesday 15 March: according to the ETA of the first competitor
  • Wednesday 15 March - Sunday 19 March: other arrivals
  • Sunday 19 March - screening of the 26' film summarising the event - prize-giving - special evening - Cité Eric Tabarly

An overall ranking to be decided in Lorient

Though AMHAS seems to have a firm grip on the top spot in leg 8 with a lead of around 80 miles over Dutch rival SEC HAYAI (Frans Budel / Ysbrand Endt), the latter still has the potential to take the lead of the overall ranking as there were just 4 points separating the duos at the start of this coefficient 2 race. GRYPHON SOLO 2 meantime looks set to hang onto her 3rd place overall. After 9 months of racing and 8 legs, final victory will go right to the wire then. Meantime, penalised for stopping off in Guadeloupe, WHISKEY JACK is set back from the top 3, but she too could well make landfall in Lorient before the weekend of 18/19 March. Right now, whilst the main focus is on trying to avoid damage in the current gale, it's still very much game on in this circumnavigation of the globe.

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