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Golden Globe Race Day 233: Les Sables d'Olonne gearing up for a huge GGR finish on Friday 28th

by Golden Globe Race 26 Apr 20:25 BST 26 April 2023
Come and greet the sailors as they come up the famous Les Sables d'Olonne channel after more than 230 days at sea! © Etienne Messikommer / GGR2022

Estimated Times of Arrival are easier for Swiss trains than sailing boats for sure, and with very unstable light weather on arrival at 48 hours from the finish, there still is some discrepancy between weather models and routing programs moderated by Don's predictions.

  • Kirsten Neuschäfer holding first place, set to possibly break many records with only 180 miles to finish and a 100 mile lead and 23hr time credit on Abhilash Tomy on Bayanat.
  • GGR ETAs? Routing programs vs. Don McIntyre brains, the battle of titans!
  • Models differ but we should have a Friday arrival for the leaders.
  • How to follow updated ETA's and plan the arrival follow up
  • Interest for the GGR grows rapidly in the global sailing community

We have run several offshore racing routing program's and the earliest predictions are:

  • Simon Curwen HOWDENS Thursday 27 afternoon
  • Kirsten Neuschäfer MINNEHAHA Friday 28 morning
  • Abhilash Tomy BAYANAT Friday 28 evening

However, the weather is very unstable on Friday and synoptic predictions do not take local weather influences into account. Furthermore, the routing programs take into consideration that boats follow the path crafted for them by another computer routing program onboard, which they do not have, so those predictions could easily slip 12-18 hours back or more.

"Weather routing programs work on precise polars and Velocity Predictions Programs, however the GGR boats do not have precise polars, much less after 233 days at sea, tired sails and potential growth. Also, the sailors do not have the weather and are not following the best route." Don McIntyre, GGR Founder and Chairman.

Don is suggesting, based on current weather forecast for Kirsten

2200 hr UTC 26th 147 miles Distance To Finish
0800 hr UTC 27th 90 miles DTF
2200 hr UTC 27th 50 miles DTF
0800 hr UTC 28th 20 miles DTF...but with complete calms around and light headwinds forecast for late Friday it could take another 5-10 hours or ?

There will be LIVE feed of all arrivals and interviews by Aïda and Don on both the GGR Facebook page and GGR Youtube pages.

GGR sailors in the dark, while the sailing community gathers in Les Sables d'Olonne

The Race Office had thought that the lead trio as they entered a zone of intense traffic could get information on their respective positions, but the VHF chatter has not yet let the cat out of the bag.

"We spoke to both Abhilash and Simon on the phone on Monday. Both of them have no idea where the others are, and they both think they are hundreds if not thousands of miles behind the leader. It appears from our last conversation with Kirsten that she also thinks the same after spending several weeks in the Doldrums. Pretty unique 233 days after the start." Sébastien Delasnerie GGR Race Director

Kirsten just called, and also has no idea she is winning, listen to her last call here before her grand arrival.

Jean-Luc Van den Heede (FRA), Edward Walentynowycz (CAN), Damien Guillou (FRA) and Ian Herbert-Jones (GBR), freshly off the F/V ZI DA WANG in Cape Town are planning to be in town to welcome their friends Several round the world sailors of Vendée Globe fame have also expressed their interest to welcome the skippers and show their appreciation for the history in the making that is under way.

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