by Emily Caroe
Transat B to B - Gamesa's skipper, Mike Golding, is in fifth place on the fifth day of the single-handed race from Saint Barts, Caribbean to Lorient, Brittany.
Mike Golding onboard Gamesa - Transat B to B 2011
Recovering from some nasty stomach cramps and getting back to form Golding is enjoying spells of great sailing conditions.
The only down side, as it is for the fleet, is that they are still very much heading north which does not feel in any way like pointing towards the finish.
'It’s ironic I suppose, I was on the phone home last night and the conditions were just perfect, we were flying along nicely under spinnaker, making good progress, the only thing – I was telling them – was we are going almost in the wrong direction!' noted Golding this morning. 'Certainly we are all kind of getting used to seeing the world’s worst VMG [velocity made good is the net speed achieved on the course to the finish].
The reason for the course is the continued investment to get north to find the low pressure systems which will drive the eight IMOCA 60s across the Atlantic during the second week of the race. Of the direct rhumb line course from start to finish of 3,300 miles, the lead boat still has 2651 miles straight line to the finish after starting Monday at 1400 GMT.
'I’m kind of in recovery mode at the moment, I had a pretty nasty period of stomach cramps which were a bit of a concern but I am feeling better. Let’s just say that whatever caused it got out of my system pretty quickly. I have been drinking lots of water and am feeling better.
'Otherwise it has been good, nice and steady. We had quite a good session last night with spells of up to 25kts of breeze with flat water and that was quite exciting and fun.'
In terms of strategy there are not many choices open to Golding on Gamesa at the moment, 'We are on the northern side of the high pressure ridge now and the more north and west you go you will just get headed, so I was kind of debating about going on the genoa and sailing a bit higher, but I have not really decided. It is still pretty tricky.'
'I am enjoying it, I feel like it is coming together OK now and I feel like I am ‘on it’ except through the transitions.
Golding saw Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss yesterday and the pair chatted on the VHF for a while, and Mike had a close encounter with Safran’s Marc Guillemot early last night.
'I chatted with Alex which was nice, just about the race and talking about what it's like to be sailing solo again, just comparing notes about the race and stuff.
'But then last night Safran came pretty close, Marco was on the deck running around doing sail changes I think, he called me up afterwards and at that point I had my hands full, so I’m afraid I could not get back to him.'
Mike Golding website