Vendée Globe skipper Golding comments on Stamm disqualification
by Sara Blackwell on 2 Jan 2013
Vendèe Globe 2012-13 skipper Mike Golding, commenting immediately after being told the news that Bernard Stamm was disqualified from the Vendée Globe for receiving outside help, said, 'While the decision might technically be correct, it doesn't feel right. Bernard, perhaps more than others, has worked extremely hard to get to this Vendée Globe and is a great competitor.
Mike Golding, Gamesa - 2012 Vendee Globe Mike Golding Yacht Racing © http://www.mikegolding.com
'The Vendée Globe is the pinnacle of offshore racing, solo and without assistance. To preserve the fundamental ethos of the Vendée Globe we have to live by the sword and die by the sword. Part of the lure of the race is that it is without assistance and so places the ultimate premium on self-reliance.
'I think I can see the thinking behind the decision. The rules are the rules and all that. But I think when you know all the story about Bernard and you know the situation he is in now, facing a good chunk of South Pacific to sail across and then icebergs at Cape Horn and the problems he still has, I think it just doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel like the right thing. But as I say, the rules are clear and unfortunately, based on the information I've got, it sounds like the rules were inadvertently, and I think I make that point, inadvertently breached. I am not sure about it at all, it doesn't feel right to me and I really …… I am very, very sad for Bernard and I hope he can get an appeal together and stay in the race.
'Poor Bernard, he'll be devastated. I really empathise with his situation and with almost a duplication of what happened in the last edition, the safety of the boat and those around him must come first.
'The race, for the leader, is about being the leader, but for the boats that are further back, including myself, the race is about the atmosphere at the start, the atmosphere at the finish and the amazing adventure you have in between. The rankings, the classement, it is something you follow, it keeps you driving on and keeps you pushing your boat and keeps you trying to catch the boats in front and stay away from the boats behind, but it is not the only driver to doing the Vendée Globe. I think the reception Bernard gets as he goes up the canal in Les Sables d'Olonne, will be, and should be, equal and perhaps greater than the boats around him. Bernard is a very popular skipper, and rightly so, he is a lovely guy, and he has worked extraordinarily hard on this project, and I think everyone in this race, and everyone of his followers and the followers of the race will be really upset by the prospect of a seemingly heartless jury, making a decision that perhaps they had to make.'