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Vendee Globe - Golding extends lead over Le Cam + Interview

by Emily Caroe on 3 Feb 2013
Mike Golding, Gamesa - 2012 Vendee Globe Mike Golding Yacht Racing © http://www.mikegolding.com
Vendee Globe 2012-2013 In the fight for fifth place overall British sailor Mike Golding has doubled his lead on his French rival Jean Le Cam since the same time yesterday morning. Golding is now 80 miles ahead with 260 miles of separation NW-SE. Golding is at the latitude of Lisbon and is now on the opposite side of the high pressure system.

Speeds are relatively similar between the two, Mike is making around 9kts and Jean 10kts. In fact Le Cam has sailed about 55 miles further in the last 24 hours, but his VMG – his net speed in the direction to the mark – is not as good as Golding’s.

Whilst the different routings were in the balance yesterday, Mike Golding can see a change in his favour this morning, and though it is still marginal either way, he considers that his route is more readily achievable when compared with Le Cam’s which has more downwind sailing.

Golding told his team this morning, 'The breeze is easing down a little at the moment and in 5-6 hours I am going to have to push back to the east to stay with the wind. It is not looking too bad for me just now. It could be worse. The routing has me just ahead now which I kind of like. I can make my routing I think because it is a reaching routing whereas I think Jean will struggle to make his because he is light downwind. So whilst I think I can make 100% of my polars reaching, it is not so easy downwind.

'It is quiet now and definitely getting cooler. Of course I might get stopped but first I have to tack and then I have to clear Finisterre. And I have to make doubly sure I don’t upset the jury there….!'

3 February 2013 Vendée Globe LIVE 12:15 GMT interview with Mike Golding:

How are things onboard now, Mike?

It is ok, the breeze is easing down, it is starting to show sharp signs of heading, I need a good strong header really, which would be perfect for me. We are dealing with a high pressure so anything could happen. This is the risky bit of my strategy.

You are sounding a little bit more positive about your strategy this morning.

The routing looks a bit better for me this morning. We are very close to be honest, you can't split the difference except to say I think Jean's routing is the safer bet, but on the other hand there is another high coming in and Jean ends up potentially in some difficulty in getting going really but we'll have to see. He has gone strangely quiet at the moment, hasn't he!

I don't know if that is a good sign or bad sign! Mike give us an explanation how you see it playing out over the next few days.

Well just very simply in the high pressure the circulation around the high pressure is clockwise and I am going underneath it which means I am having to go upwind and Jean is going over the top of it downwind, but he has to sail considerably more miles. I saw on one of the reports yesterday they called his route a 'classic route' but I would say that my route is more classic as Jean's route is only possible since we have had much quicker boats. But this particular high pressure, it all depends on timing and it seems like the two routes are very, very similar but of course there are lots of other variables, the file might not be perfect and so on. By dividing like this it gives me more possibilities to get past Jean.

Will you still be more or less upwind coming into Les Sables?

I will be upwind all the way to this point, but once I get onto port I will be on the side of the high pressure system and I should be reaching. I'll be upwind for the first section as I push away from the high but then quite quickly the wind will start to lift and I should be reaching at fairly fast angles and once I get to Finisterre I should be on 100 degree wind angle, so that's a fairly fast wind angle. No matter what the wind strength is, with a 100 degree wind angle you can make good speed. Even if it is still light at that point I should be able to go reasonably quick.

Mike, we'll talk about the problems you have once you get in, but is there anything that compromises you in particular between where you are and the finish?

Not particularly. I am missing a sail and theoretically that could have been a problem, but given the forecast I'll be ok without the sail. I have managed to hide it quite successfully since early in the Southern Ocean so no one has really spotted it, but I lost my Code Zero in an incident in the south but it hasn't seemed to have hurt me. I seemed to be able to find a way of hiding it, theoretically it could hurt me now, but in practice I have my upwind sails, I have a good Genoa and in practice I think I am ok.

What is life like onboard today, what's the weather, the sea state, the overhead?

I suppose it is mild if you are thinking about a European winter. It is overcast, partly broken sky and I can see some blue through, the sun is up, can just see it through the clouds, the sea state is slight. Yesterday coming upwind it was absolutely horrible, it seemed like every single wave I had to count down, I think I have made the ocean much flatter which is why it is quieter this morning, as it I have hit every single wave for the last 12 hours!
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