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Vendée Globe - Golding catching up to Le Cam + Interview

by Sara Blackwell on 14 Jan 2013
Mike Golding, Gamesa - 2012 Vendee Globe Mike Golding Yacht Racing © http://www.mikegolding.com
Vendée Globe 2012-13 skipper Mike Golding has caught to within 47 miles of his long time rival Jean Le Cam this morning and is still going very slightly quicker than the French skipper of SynerCiel.

Approaching Cape Horn one week ago the British solo skipper was 289 miles behind his friend and adversary who finished second in the

2004-5 Vendée Globe when Mike finished third. In the East Pacific Golding was over 420 miles behind. But both Gamesa and SynerCiel are challenged by a messy, big ridge of high pressure to their west and Golding is frustrated at the moment that the weather models are not showing a clear route through the mess. There is no obvious exit door, though he is still making decent progress, 11 kts compared with Le Cam’s 9.

'It is slow and looking quite messy ahead. The weather files are not matching at all and that is frustrating. I am still moving a bit but the angles and wind strength really are leaving me between sails in terms of the crossovers at the moment'.

'We are kind of trundling along OK, but it is not quick. I have about 14-15kts of breeze but when it will stabilise is anyone’s guess. I can see it is going to be like this for a while, for several days. It is not looking as clear as it was before, so I just have to wait and be patient and see when we get some weather files that agree. It is the not knowing which is more frustrating just now.'

'Otherwise I am fine. It is warming up a bit and so I am out of my mid-layer bottoms and I am going to have a really good clean up soon.'

14 January 2013 12:05 GMT Mike Golding Live Update:

Hi Mike, can you tell us how you are going right now?
'Pretty good, it’s alright, it has been a bit stop and start, I have been stopped but I am going OK at the moment, in five minutes time I don’t know!'

It’s an interesting one, you are obviously closing on Jean [Le Cam] and to the outside world you are within 23 miles and you look like you are in a good position, your message this morning showed your own personal frustrations with the speed of the boat, is that an interesting mix on the water for you of the race within a race with Jean, and then overall?
'I don’t think so, I have had some problems on board which have caused me some speed problems, but the boat itself is fine, it’s just that obviously as you go on through the race your situation changes and you don’t have various facilities, and as a result you are not as quick as you perhaps would like to be. With regards to Jean, Jean represents a place in the rankings, it would be nice to move up and I’m sure he wants to hold on to it, and so naturally it is a bit of a race within a race'.

Mike, you said you had some problems, can you tell us a little bit about what they are?
'NO' [laughs]

Please, or are they secrets!?
'Not even pretty please [laughs], all the boats have got little problems going on, and some of them you know about and some of them you don’t'.

OK, well we will leave that there, you’ve said previously when I’ve spoken to you it keeps you honest having someone like Jean Le Cam next to you, does it also lessen that frustration a little bit as he has been doing 8 knots, I know he is slightly North West of you, but he has been doing 8 knots overnight and struggled this morning and again you have halved the distance between you over the last 7hrs I think, that must be positive for you but must be incredibly frustrating for him I would have thought?
'It makes me wonder what problems he’s got to be honest, he may be missing a sail, I did consider that as Jean is not a slow sailor, and I’m sure he isn’t giving up the miles just to have the company [laughs]. The reality is you did make me wonder whether Jean is not down a sail, or has a halyard problem, I don’t know it could be a lot of things, but anyway the difficulty we are having at the moment is the weather we are experiencing is not matching with the files, the various models, so, as a consequence it is a little bit of a Russian roulette. My wanting to be on the right hand side of the course is more to do with the big rotation and nothing to do with the weather file, because if the weather file was right I’d be stopped and I’m not. So, the weather file has been wrong for a number of days, in general terms what I can say is it matches in the sense that it is very confused, very erratic and it’s stop starts, and in that sense it is correct, but as to where it is stopping and where it is starting that is anyone’s guess. I had my turn last night and Jean might have his turn tonight'.

A last question, you have been in these situations before, coming in to the finish, 2004 springs to mind with these races within a race, where are the places to strike here, where are you looking to take miles out of people and where do you think others will be too?
'Well, I think probably from the perspective of boats behind, where we are now is going to represent a bit of an opportunity for them to close down the distance, because as we move from being on a reaching or downwind course in to an upwind course it is an opportunity to close the distance, but distance is not always time it depends on the relative speed, so when you see the distances compressed, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is any change in position, because it takes longer to travel that distance, excuse me….I told you it was changeable….suddenly I’m over on my ear now, so you know, as a consequence of that I think right now we are in a vulnerable place with regard to boats behind, but ahead of us of course we have The Doldrums, the Atlantic high, Biscay, the race is on right the way to the finish'.

Sounds like we have to leave you there Mike, time is against us a little bit, I hope that wasn’t a serious change, and we will speak to you very soon.
'No, it’s a good change, more wind, sorry Mike Golding website
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