Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Vendée Globe welcomes Gamesa after winter refit

by Mike Golding on 28 Apr 2012
Gamesa Team Photo - Vendée Globe 2012 Gamesa Sailing Team
Vendée Globe will be welcoming Gamesa after a winter refit, and the shore team is preparing her for a summer of offshore training and corporate sailing. Here, Mike gives us an update on what’s been going on these past few weeks and the plan in the buildup to the event.

Even after the technical success for the modified boat on the transat races last year it’s still been a busy winter for our shore team. Many onboard systems have been revised or renewed including a completely new main engine, so the team have had lots to keep them fully occupied.

We are now back into full sailing mode but this week are waiting for the weather (which is foul) to provide us with the opportunity to start sailing more seriously. Initially we’ll be doing a mix of day-sailing out of Southampton, then overnights, before heading out further offshore into the Atlantic. The sailing team on the boat will comprise of Gringo, Mikey and me. Mucky (our Composite Engineer) claims to be a ‘non-sailor’ but we leverage him out when we can and I have even seen him enjoying himself (even smiling at times) on board – something he would flatly deny!

These initial trials look inwardly at the boat’s various systems and also the boat’s basic performance and setup. Later we will get into seeing if we can improve on the numbers and then into the Vendée training proper where I will sail alone or perhaps with just one other onboard for safety.

Every sail from here on should have some solid purpose and goals attached to it. Each outing will have a clear set of objectives and a list of areas to go through, for example, drills of sail changes, manoeuvres, testing the various electrical/computer systems, the autopilots, the engine and charging systems. We are also constantly revising the boat’s performance; this data in turn helps improve the accuracy and reliability of the weather routing software. In essence we aim to leave no stone unturned in the hunt for optimal performance and reliability.

And so whilst the focus is on preparing Gamesa and me for performing well – we are also working on developing how to communicate and illustrate the story during the race. The boat is already equipped with a number of different satellite communications systems. Primarily, and for simple voice communications, we use the Iridium satellite system and have both fixed and portable handsets for emergency use. We can use this same system to go online or send small attachments but faster or bigger data movements require something more sophisticated.

Therefore for faster connections (needed to move large weather files or video or images) we currently have an Inmarsat Fleet 250 broadband. However the race organisers, in collaboration with Iridium, have recently provided a new Iridium Open Port system which should enable both the cheaper voice calls and a reasonably fast BB connection all in one package. Altogether these various systems are vital to provide the output we want to send news to those following us back home.

Supporting this we have an onboard media system with cameras dotted around the boat, which I can switch between, to provide interesting and varied views of the action on board in either recorded files which I can transmit, after editing, or live via a link to a TV station ashore.

This update is coming from Brazil, as I finish my tour of Gamesa plant facilities around the world. I’ve met the team in Salvador, Brazil, and then headed south to another facility in Sao Paolo. I know Salvador reasonably well having been there three or four times it used to be the end port for the Transat Jacques Vabre.

On my return from Brazil we will reach the countdown for the first of the ‘Race Ready’ deadlines we have set during the year to keep the team focused and practiced. The goal is that the boat must be in a full race ready state as if we were heading out into the Vendée Globe race. I then aim to head out with Gamesa to validate our systems and its general readiness.

In June we head to London for the RenewableUK Global Offshore Wind exhibition at ExCeL and then plan a trip north to Edinburgh in Scotland.

Please join us on the journey to the Vendée Globe by following us on our website. All the team is inspired by your support.'

Getting to know ….. Mike

Favourite thing/favourite place:
Chilling and snorkelling in the Maldives with Andrea and Soren, away from it all.

Favourite drink:
Red wine, Spanish or South American.

Favourite film, how many times have you seen it, and would you watch it again:
The Crimson Tide with Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington. I’ve watched it at least five times and could and probably will watch it five more!

If I wasn’t a professional sailor I’d like to have been: a pilot, flying something interesting, not the ‘bus driving’.
Mike Golding website
Newport Boat Show 2016 660x82InSunSport - NZSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82

Related Articles

Vendee Globe - Tanguy de Lamotte crosses finish line + Video
Tanguy de Lamotte crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe on Sunday at 10hrs 58min and 10 seconds (French time). Vendee Globe 2012-13 skipper Tanguy de Lamotte crossed the finish line on Sunday at 10hrs 58min and 10 seconds (French time). He finished in 10th place with a race time of 98 days 21 hours 56 minutes and 10 seconds. He has travelled 28,160 miles on the water at an average speed of 11.9 knots.
Posted on 17 Feb 2013
Vendee Globe race records shattered
The warmth of the welcome and the passion for the Vendée Globe was immediately obvious to everyone The warmth of the welcome and the passion for the Vendée Globe was immediately obvious to everyone who was in Les Sables d’Olonne last Sunday to witness the historic finishes of winner François Gabart and second placed Armel Le Cléac’h, and indeed to a huge global audience who used every different type of media to share the incredible experience.
Posted on 31 Jan 2013
Vendee Globe - Hugo Boss crosses finish in third
Vendee Globe skipper Alex Thomson, onboard Hugo Boss, crossed the race finish line at 07 hours 25 minutes 43 seconds Vendee Globe 2012-13 skipper Alex Thomson, onboard Hugo Boss, crossed the race finish line at 07 hours 25 minutes 43 seconds (GMT) after 80 days 19 hours 23 minutes 43 seconds at sea. He finishes two days 18 hours and seven minutes behind François Gabart.
Posted on 31 Jan 2013
Vendee Globe - The final day at sea
Vendee Globe 2012-13 skipper Alex Thomson has adjusted his course to be closer to Jean-Pierre Dick Vendee Globe 2012-13 skipper Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), at 130 miles south-west of the Azores, has adjusted his course to be closer to Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) who he has overtaken this morning. Dick is around 40 miles to the east of Thomson, and has succeeded so far, despite the total loss of the keel, to progress without too much difficulty
Posted on 26 Jan 2013
Vendee Globe - Final sprint begins
Vendee Globe - It's been fun but the time is coming to bring down the final curtain and move along Vendee Globe 2012 -13 has been fun but the time is coming to bring down the final curtain and move along because the home strait sprint has begun. This morning, the two race leaders passed the symbolic 1000 miles point from Les Sables d'Olonne, the start and finish of the solo race around our beautiful planet.
Posted on 25 Jan 2013
Vendee Globe - Gabart takes the lead
Vendee Globe - Gabart explained that his journey through the centre of Azores High was wrapped in a beautiful rainbow Vendee Globe 2012-13 skipper François Gabart, onboard Macif, in his epistle last night to the race HQ explained that his journey through the centre of the Azores High was wrapped in a beautiful rainbow. The young pretender and race leader has elected to sail around the edge of the high, which should enable him to reach the northern ridge as quickly as possible and gather momentum once again
Posted on 23 Jan 2013
Vendée Globe - More bad luck for Alessandro
Vendée Globe skipper Alessandro Di Benedetto, after climbing his mast yesterday evening, keeps having bad luck. Vendée Globe skipper Alessandro Di Benedetto, after climbing his mast yesterday evening, keeps having bad luck. Following the nose-dive by his boat, the sailor was injured and lost his small spinnaker in the manoeuvre.
Posted on 21 Jan 2013
Vendée Globe – Hugo Boss passes through the Doldrums
Vendée Globe - Alex Thomson appears to have enjoyed the simplest of passages through the doldrums Vendée Globe 2012-13 skipper Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), as he forecast, appears to have enjoyed the simplest of passages through the doldrums and averaged double-digit speeds overnight (10.7 knots since 1900hrs UTC). On his path on the westernmost part of the fleet, he should have a north wind of between 15/20 knots all morning, decreasing in the afternoon
Posted on 19 Jan 2013
Vendée Globe – Hugo Boss fastest in fleet overnight
Vendée Globe 2012-13 skipper Alex Thomson, onboard Hugo Boss, was the fastest in the fleet overnight averaging 17 knots Vendée Globe 2012-13 skipper Alex Thomson, onboard Hugo Boss, was the fastest in the fleet overnight averaging 17 knots to keep his hopes of a place on the podium alive. He has been the fastest over the last 24 hours and as he leaves the coast of Brazil has power to add over the next 24 in easterly tradewinds as those in front of him struggle.
Posted on 17 Jan 2013
Vendée Globe – Locked in battle
Vendée Globe 2012-13 update after 64 days and 16 hours of racing with 470 miles to the equator. Vendée Globe 2012-13 update after 64 days and 16 hours of racing with 470 miles to the equator.
Posted on 14 Jan 2013