It has been slow going for first days of Golden Globe Race for Ireland's solo sailor, Dubliner Gregor McGuckin who is in ninth place in the 17–boat race with 25,000 miles to sail. The first four days of light, variable winds appear to have played into the hands of race leader Mark Slats, the Dutch transatlantic rowing record-holder and his secret weapon – a pair of giant sculling oars.
Slats overtook the initial fleet leader Philippe Peche during their first night at sea after leaving Les Sables d’Olonne last Sunday and has been a consistent front-runner since. At 06:00 UTC today the Dutchman held a 3 mile lead on second-placed Peche as the leaders rounded Cape Finisterre and began their run south towards the Canaries and their first ‘gate’ off Lanzarote.
The fleet is now spread out over a 100-mile distance with Australian Mark Sinclair currently trapped in very light airs close into the North Spanish coast and wishing perhaps that he too had an oar.
The first four skippers, Slats, Peche, Estonian Uku Randmaa and French veteran Jean-Luc Van Den Heede have all shared the lead during this first week at sea and significantly perhaps, are all sailing Rustler 36 yachts. 12 miles is all that divides them today.
The forecast does not bode well for the tail-enders with calms continuing in the Finisterre region over the weekend while the leaders can expect favourable 10 increasing to 20knot northerly winds as they run down the Portuguese coast.
GGR Leaderboard: 06:00 UTC 05.08.18
1. Mark Slats (NED) Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick, 24,623 n.miles to finish
2. Philippe Peche (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB, +3
3. Uku Randmaa (EST) Rustler 36 One and All, +10
4. Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (FRA) Rustler 36 Matmut, +12
5. Are Wiig (NOR) OE 32 Olleanna, +24
6. Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria, +34
7. Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda, +42
8. Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland, +47
9. Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance, +48
10. Antoine Cousot (FRA) Biscay 36 Metier Interim, +52
11. Susie Goodall (GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight, +55
12. Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya, +56
13. Nabil Amra (PAL) Biscay 36 Liberty II, +60
14. Ertan Beskardes (GBR) Rustler 36 Lazy Otter, +63
15. Istvan Kopar (USA) Tradewind 35 Puffin, +81
16. Kevin Farebrother (AUS) Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha, +84
17. Mark Sinclair (Aus) Lello 34 Coconut, +100