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Vendee Globe - Golding, Le Cam battle continues

by Andrea Golding on 21 Jan 2013
Mike Golding onboard Gamesa - 2012 Vendee Globe Mike Golding Yacht Racing © http://www.mikegolding.com
In the Vendee Globe as they scrap over fifth place on converging courses, there is very little to choose between Mike Golding and Jean Le Cam this Sunday morning. Now sailing ENE and emerging from his position closer to the Brazilian coast it is Le Cam who has taken back fifth from Golding this morning, by a matter of ten miles, but the British skipper held the position for most of yesterday.

Golding has had a little less wind, working upwind in a corridor of slightly lighter breeze, but both still have very similar boat speeds this morning. Le Cam, now 211 miles WNW of Golding, was making 10.5 kts compared with Golding’s 10.1kts but the British skipper has the better VMG and might expect to carry on gaining on his French rival. Conditions remain unpleasant as Golding battles against Le Cam at the head of a group of five boats. In the upwind conditions the boats are slamming a lot in the seaway.

'It is still pretty horrendous just now although the wind has stabilised, but for me it is heading just now which is not ideal and there is not much I can do about that. I have only so much runway, I will probably go east again in about six or seven hours. I am not worried about Jean, I am just sailing my own race. But the writing is on the wall for him. I am not too worried about him.'

'It is better than it was yesterday when I had squalls all the time. I had up to 30kts which is a lot when you are set up for 15. The seas are still choppy and awkward, not like bone crunching, but just awkward. I don’t know why it is so bad but it feels like this has gone on forever. I saw what Jean was saying about the South Atlantic and I do agree that we really have sailed the hard yards now and hope that the last bit, the North Atlantic, is kind to us.'

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

How are things right at this moment? Is this battle with Jean Le Cam important or are you looking at a bigger picture?

I’m just trying to get out of here like Jean (laughs). The reality of it is that is has been a shocking few days and takes forever to get into the lift and we still have some more manoeuvres ahead of us, so we are not out of it yet. I don’t see an appreciable lift really until tomorrow evening, so we still have a little bit to do – hopefully a day, day and half, we should be able to make some more direct progress.

Jean Le Cam said this is 'the most difficult South Atlantic he has ever faced.' Where would you rank it?

I have to agree, it has been pretty shocking really. Normally you are able to find one course that you can lay for a good period, then with one or two manoeuvres you get lifted towards Recife and then you are off. This is quite exceptional, being affected by the middle low pressure, seems to have bent the trades. It’s not proving easy whether you are inshore or offshore.

<>Kito de Pavant, Skipper Groupe Bel: Your battle against your friend Jean is fantastic, but I think your position to the east of the fleet looks very good to me.

I think it is good in the long run, but Jean is doing a very good job of mitigating his losses. But I think in the end, I should get the lift but I’ve still got some work to do that and Jean’s pretty canny and using the middle low to his advantage quite well.

You wrote a great philosophical breakfast letter a few days ago and you said if you were asked to set out from Rio now with your current supplies, you would laugh. Does this time it is taking to get to The Equator put even more pressure on you, in that respect?

Absolutely – the reason that prompted me writing that is I could see the course was being dragged out and for us we are looking at five days added to the route, potentially, by the problems in the South Atlantic. Yes that puts extra pressure on everything – fuel, food, and this has been a very hard period for the boat as well; going upwind in strong breeze, fully ballasted puts extra pressure on the boat.

Running out of cereal is one thing, but running low on fuel is another. You said you’ve had problems with your hyrdo generators, but because you thought others had worse problems you’ve not made a fuss about them. However, it sounds like it could be potentially serious?

Yes, it has not been easy as we have not had hydro generators since the Southern Ocean. While we did load some fuel, we had a plan that covered a lot of bases – we have hydro, solar and fuel – we tried to cover our options. However, trying to predict our fuel usage from the beginning of Southern Ocean to the current point has been very difficult and now we are very low on fuel. So yes, pretty Vendee Globe Mike Golding website
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