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Vendee Globe - Productive third night at sea onboard Gamesa

by Emily Caroe on 14 Nov 2012
13 Nov Flying Squid found onboard Gamesa - 2012 Vendee Globe Gamesa Sailing Team
In the 2012 Vendee Globe, challenging fellow Brit Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss for sixth place this morning, Mike Golding has had a productive third night at sea onboard Gamesa making one of the best 'VMG’ [net speed towards the finish] of the fleet by retaining to a good, southerly course.

Golding has elected to stick with the northeasterly breeze he is in and carry the downwind conditions south rather than work more to the west such as some of his rivals have done. They are looking to line up for a low pressure system which would arrive for them some time later tomorrow, but for Golding that choice means at least 24 hours of light, unsettled winds. Meanwhile, he is happy this morning to be sliding downwind under spinnaker in around 12 knots of wind, making steady speeds.

'It is difficult to do anything other than stick with what breeze I have. The models have been saying to go west for a while but it just does not add up for me at the moment. I still can see a little compression of miles to the leaders which in any case would be good,' said Golding this morning.

'The wind has some holes in it here, but the big debate really is when to go west and pile into the big hole which is there. I didn’t want to be the first to do that but neither do I want to be the last. As long as I stay out to the east, I can see I might get some miles back. But equally I saw Jean Le Cam last night and he is more to the east than me and I can see him being caught out. My focus has been to stay in the strongest band of breeze and I feel I have done that well.

'Equally going west early means you are getting closer to the centre of the low early and it is quite aggressive and not moving very quickly [that means encountering quite a lot more wind closer to the middle of the depression] and so you really still don’t want to be giving yourself a kicking this early in the race.

'I had a pretty good, steady night. I lost a splice in the kite sheets at one point and so had to squeeze it quickly and put a spare sheet on but that did not cost me too much.'

Speaking about the accident which has required the retirement of Groupe Bel into Cascais yesterday after Kito de Pavant’s boat was hit by a fishing boat yesterday morning and badly damaged, Golding said:

'It is difficult to believe. The trouble is that you do have to sleep some time. It is so very sad for him, and indeed for Marc Guillemot of Safran. They are two of the best prepared boats in the fleet.

'Of course it affects you. You are nervous anyway until you settle into the race. I have been acting as if I had been in car accident and that is not about winching or the physical activity, but just the adrenalin which is there through the first days. But now I have caught up on my rest last night and feeling better all the time. But when you see such good, very experienced sailors go out you can suddenly have times when you do feel exposed out here. Certainly when they put their bags on board on their boats on Saturday morning there is just no way they would think these things might have happened to them so early in the race.' Vendee Globe website

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