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Southern Spars - North Technology

Vendee Globe - Distant threat for Mike Golding

by Sara Blackwell on 2 Jan 2013
Mike Golding, Gamesa - 2012 Vendee Globe Mike Golding Yacht Racing © http://www.mikegolding.com
Sailing away from the Pacific West gate on a SE’ly course in the Vendee Globe, Mike Golding now has the distant threat of Javier ‘Bubi’ Sanso attacking behind Dominique Wavre. Sanso has caught more than 140 miles on Wavre since Christmas Day, coming back with a more direct course and better breeze than the two skippers have had. Golding leads Wavre by 56.9 nm and Sanso by 113 miles as they head SE on routing for the final gate of the course, Pacific East which is 1230 miles to their east.

Gamesa is the quickest of this trio making over 15.5kts and should descend into stronger breeze. Recently Mike has had 17-20kts of W’ly winds. The trio, sixth, seventh and eighth, are all in the same weather, under the influence of a high pressure system to their north. Ahead of Golding there now seems a strong prospect that Jean Cam 477 miles ahead in fifth, will be slowed as the high spreads east and a low pressure arrives to give Golding and his two rivals a chance to regain some miles on Le Cam.

Mike was live on BBC News twice last night, celebrating the New Year in the South Pacific Ocean, first on BBC News Channel and then BBC TV World Service, around the globe, giving viewers a view of life after 51 days at sea in the Vendée Globe.

Vendée Globe Live Interview with Mike Golding 12:05 GMT:

Happy New Year to you Mike, how are you?

I’m fine, just had a busy 12 hours just coming away from the ice gate, been slightly frustrated by wind directly behind me which means I’m either having to gybe or I’m not making very good BMG towards the mark, whilst the wind has now lifted me slightly and I’m a little better off, I see the boats behind have come straight round the mark and have got the lifted wind which is a bit disappointing.

What are the prospects for the immediate future, are they going to stay in line with you behind or is it a fairly straight race just now?

I guess they have got a more direct route now, because I’m quite a bit further south, obviously it could work to my advantage later on as we go up to the next gate, but for now it feels like I’ve spent a worried 12 hours for nothing because it’s all been eliminated by the fact they are now pointing in the same direction.

In the bigger picture there might be some opportunity to catch Jean Le Cam a bit, he seems to be slowed and is in to the high pressure ridge and breeze coming up to you from behind?

Yes, that would be an upside, but there is a lot to catch there, he (Le Cam) is more than 400 miles ahead so I don’t know whether that ridge alone will do it but it would be nice to close the gap that’s for sure before Cape Horn, it’s certainly going to be an interesting race in the Atlantic now.

Talk to me a little about the performance of Francois Gabart, it looks like he is going to be leading to Cape Horn on his first Vendee Globe?

It is amazing, an amazing job, both of them (Gabart and Le Cle’ach) have sailed an amazing race, it’s almost like they’ve been glued together, I’ve never seen anything quite like it the changing places the continuous high speeds, basically all the boats ahead of Jean seem to have another layer of performance that we have not seen before, we have seen 19, 20, 21 knot averages which we have never seen that before, it is quite extraordinary, Francois has done an amazing job to come in and immediately perform so brilliantly, I think he is obviously a very clever guy but he has had a great tutor as well with Michel Desjoyeaux and that probably has given him the support to make the good decisions about the boat and equipment and the way he is sailing and so on and so forth so clearly he has done very very well indeed.

A few words on the first day of 2013, how do you feel today?

Just the same, but it is nice to be in 2013, I’m looking forward now to getting back in to the Atlantic, a little worried by all this ice at Cape Horn but once we are clear of that, on our way northwards it will be a good feeling I’m sure.

All the best Mike and Happy New Year to you, hope 2013 is good for you.

Thanks very much, Happy New Year to you Mike Golding Vendee Globe website
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