In the Vendee Globe, steady progress under the influence of a dominant high pressure system is the main topic of Mike Golding’s report from Gamesa this morning. He has done a good job in moving away again from Dominique Wavre since yesterday morning and now has established a lead of 30 miles over the Swiss soloist in terms of distance to finish. Gamesa, positioned to the south of Wavre on Mirabaud, has been one knot faster this morning and is opening more distance with 553 miles to the Pacific Gate.
For Golding the weather pattern is very much influenced by high pressure which is progressively ridging on a NE-SW axis from a centre to their NE. This will mean more light to moderate winds although this will increasingly affect the boats behind as well.
The Pacific Ocean continues to deliver relatively benign conditions for Golding and the group around him. While this is great in terms of not pressing the boat and skipper too much, Golding is frustrated that so far he has not had a sustained low pressure system ride at all.
30 December 2012 : Vendée Globe Live interview with Mike Golding:
50 days at sea, how are things onboard Gamesa today?
Very good, we have had a very steady two and a half days sailing under this anticyclone and it has been quite steady conditions, almost Atlantic type conditions. It has been quite easy sailing. A chance to clean up and look round the boat and generally make sure we are ready for the next half of the race, or the next part of the race.
You have managed to have something resembling an English breakfast today?
Yes, I was very proud of that - toast, egg and baked beans with HP sauce, which I thought was pretty special 50 days for into the Vendée Globe.
You feel better after that Mike, have you recharged and ready for the next day?
Absolutely. It makes a nice break from the regular freeze dried food, which all have much fancier names, but tastes nothing like normal food!
Is that the last one [cooked breakfast] for the race or do you still have beans left?
I might have kept a little bit back for special occasions. I still have some bread which might surprise people, I still have some eggs, not real eggs, but powdered eggs. There you go! Magic bread!
Seven weeks into the race, we can see you in a relatively small space. Do you start to get cabin fever. Do you need more space, do you start to get claustrophobic at times?
If I feel claustrophobic down here, all I have to do is go on deck and I feel agoraphobic!
Life at the extremes, eh?
Exactly. It goes from one extreme to the other. The reality is that a few days ago we were sailing in fog and rain and the cloud level was really, really low and that was claustrophobic and that was how I described it at the time. But the cabin, it is small but it is home to me.
Talking about Cape Horn, you say you want to get out of the Pacific in one piece and in good shape and at the moment, everything is fine?
The reality is you come to the South expecting the South type conditions, icebergs, big waves. We have had a little bit of that, but it has been a reality benign crossing. In fact the Indian Ocean was for me, was centred around troughs and ridges. Everyone of which seemed to nail me! It has been a slightly different Southern Ocean crossing than I have experienced before, and different to the last edition when we were absolutely on fire. But you can see with the way Armel and Francois have shot away, that when you get the right set of systems what can be done. But unfortunately it has not the same right across the fleet.
You speak with your family fairly regularly, but overall you tend to live in the Vendée Globe bubble, do you have an interest what is happening in the wider world, beyond your family?
Absolutely. Whilst our sat communications are expensive, I do take the time and the trouble to log onto the BBC website to keep up with news at home and around the world. It is nice to know what is going on. I do recall being on the Vendée when the tsunami happened and I was completely unaware and I found that a little disturbing. It is nice to know what is going on in the world.
The sailing news at home is a knighthood for Ben Ainslie.
Well deserved, and my congratulations to him. He has been an absolute star and thoroughly deserves it. We are all very proud of Ben. A British sailor and potentially the best sailor in the world.
Golding is expected to feature live, in visio at 12:05 GMT today at Vendee Globe.