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Vendee Globe - Updates from Mike Golding onboard Gamesa

by Emily Caroe on 15 Nov 2012
Mike Golding, Gamesa © Mark Lloyd http://www.lloyd-images.com
Vendee Globe, transcription of Mike Golding on Radio Vacs:

Update 13:05 GMT: 'Life onboard is good, I've come through the front now and we are on our way south again, so quite a relief to get past that.


'Last night was pretty busy as we went through pretty much everything on the sail plan and the boat is alright down below but a bit of tidying up in the cockpit is needed. It's been a very hard night. We are slamming along, it's very, very wet and quite difficult to do anything because the boat is slamming so hard.

'At the moment I am fully eased, the problem is that if I let the boat go, she is slamming really hard, I am taking it a bit easy until the sea settles down, then turn the taps up.

'I have had a good couple of days and got myself back into the game. I haven't made much inroads, or any, into Macif, he is doing a fantastic job, in terms of going forward, generally west is a little bit more favoured, however one could also argue I will be able to put my bows up and sail faster angles when it gets softer so there are pros and cons on both sides of the race course right now.

'It looks like five days down to the Doldrums entry point and it will be reasonably fast, but then it will soften down and we'll be back into more traditional north Atlantic sailing conditions. We are set here on an extended starboard tack, so a chance to settle down and once I have the boat back up to speed and out of the bad conditions, I'll be able to get some rest and eat. Put some fuel in the fires before the next installment.

'[The Vendée Globe] it's always a shock to the system, what can you do to get over that? More sailing, one could argue, but the reality of it is nothing really prepares you for the fact you suddenly realise have this huge race in front of you and these boats are increasingly tough and powerful and everything is pretty heavy and the boat becomes less complicated, but that almost makes life harder. It takes getting used to and takes a while to settle down into a proper, sustainable rhythm.

'Looking forward to real sunshine! The weather hasn't been bad, I have been out of thermals for maybe a day and a half, it is not cold, in fact quite mild, but at the moment it is grey and overcast and hopefully that will clear soon and we'll see some blue Atlantic.

When asked if he looks at the other skippers' positions not the racecourse. 'I am always looking as it is a great barometer on what is happening on on the racecourse and opinion, you have a lot of good sailors here, you would be pretty daft to ignore someone who is making a bold move different to the fleet, so you do take notice, but at the same time you have to make your own choices and play your own moves on the race courses. If you get them right, as Gabart has for the last couple of days, you can move yourself round the race course even if you aren't necessarily in the fastest boat.

'Alex [Thomson] is interesting, he is not a particular benchmark any more than anyone else. I always look and see where he is, what he is up to, just the same as everyone else.'

Update Wednesday 13 November 07:45 GMT:

After a busy night which required him to work through the sailplan, from downwind sails in light airs to upwind in stronger breezes , Mike Golding is pleased to be emerging from the slow going of a high pressure ridge into the front at the start of a low pressure which should go on to provide faster sailing later today.

Golding is still holding fifth place in the Vendée Globe at 73 miles behind leader François Gabart.

Through the early part of the night Gamesa was down to three to six knots of speed but the British skipper confirmed this morning that he was getting into the frontal system now, but he still sees it as unclear how he and the other four skippers who have stayed more to the south will do against the group to their north.

'It is OK this morning, a bit bumpy and upwind now. We are through the worst of the light winds and have about 20kts now. It is not too bad. It is hard to see what the outcome against the boats in the north will be. To be honest I have not really run their routing – it is what it is. Their rotation is faster [closer to the centre of the low, the breeze will turn NW quicker] but I don’t see much in it.'

'It was an OK night, busy, going from kite to A3 to genoa to Solent and from full main to one reef to two reefs, so I am a bit tired. It has been a long session and now I am cat napping at the nav Mike Golding Vendee Globe website

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