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sail-world.com -- Vendee Globe - Frustrations for Mike Golding

Vendee Globe - Frustrations for Mike Golding    
Wed, 23 Jan 2013

Vendee Globe, 22 January 2013 12:05 GMT Mike Golding LIVE update:

Hi Mike, you are having a ding dong battle 700 miles from the Equator with Jean Le Cam, on the ranking at least what’s it like on the water?

Pretty frustrating at the moment, we got lifted last night, and we were sailing pretty fast straight towards the mark which is the way we want to go and I made various changes, and changed the setup of the boat, but actually as I speak now we are back on the wind, so not quite pointing at Brazil, but we are back on the wind, so pretty frustrating.

Mike have you heard what has happened to Jean-Pierre Dick, obviously you have some experience of losing a keel even closer to the finish?

Yes it is terrible news, that’s a lot more frustrating, it is a horrible experience and Jean-Pierre really deserves to do well in this race, he has been sailing a very good race, he has had various problems but has kept the boat going and it is very disappointing when someone like JP [Jean-Pierre Dick] or indeed anyone at this stage of the race, I think anyone going out like that is very sad indeed.

Mike my colleague Pierre-François Bonneau has a question....

Mike, you are the first sailor in the Vendée Globe to have lost a keel and to succeed to finish the Vendée Globe, at the time in 2005 did you imagine you could finish the race?


In 2005 I was 50 miles from the finish, my immediate reaction when I lost the keel was that this is the end of it, you cannot sail the boat, but quite quickly I worked out that with ballast I could sail the boat, and even though it was up wind to the finish, in fact it was nearer 90 miles by the time I sailed it, because I had to tack upwind to get to Les Sables d'Olonne, the boat will sail but I think the real problem is it is quite different being close to the finish like that, and in the position where Jean-Pierre is, he is a long way out and a long way from the finish and the reality is the boat is not very safe without the keel.

When something like that happens Mike, does it send shock through the fleet, how does it make you feel?

It does, I think everyone will be looking down in their keel pits and making sure everything is the way, or at least looks the way it should be, the trouble with these fabricated steel failures is there is pretty much no warning, you don’t really see anything, you don’t hear anything, you don’t feel anything, and then right at the end it tends to fail, it tends to release, it bends massively before it breaks, probably Jean-Pierre mentioned in his report he felt a gust of wind and he went out and he sails, the reality is I recall exactly the same experience, in hindsight I don’t think the wind increased at all, there was no gust, the keel was bending and then the bang is when it finally releases, so what happened to JP [Jean-Pierre] sounds extremely similar to what happened to me, I ended up quite confused about why the boat was heeling so much when the keel was seemingly in the right position.

Mike, we have been talking about the life span of these keels, what do you think about the design and the life span of these boats, and in this case particularly the keel?

A fabricated keel has the life span of one Vendée Globe, period. If it makes the finish it is a design success, if it breaks it is a design failure, unfortunately we have seen far too many design failures with fabricated steel keels. I championed several years ago changing the rule when I was President of the technical committee, I tried to change the rule to have forged steel keels which is pretty much the only way of guaranteeing, well not guaranteeing but reducing keel fatigue failures like this, unfortunately the votes missed by three or four votes out of a hundred people, as a result we have still got the fabricated forged and carbon variations, for me I chose to switch to a carbon keel, so I’m on a carbon keel, theoretically if the carbon keel is good, it is good for the life of the boat, theoretically [laughs].

Mike thank you very much for joining us and for all your thoughts on that and experience, I wish you well in the continued battle with Jean Le Cam and we will speak to you very soon.

OK thank you very much!

Vendee Globe website
Mike Golding website

by Sara Blackwell



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