In the Vendee Globe, Mike Golding, now lying in sixth place, has closed down some sixty miles of gap to fifth placed Jean Le Cam, with his French counterpart now just 350 miles in front of Gamesa. Golding had a slower period when he appeared to be underpowered compared with Le Cam in front and seventh placed Dominique Wavre who is positioned to the south of Gamesa, but this morning Golding has been quicker than both of his rivals.
His biggest threat is from a high pressure ridge which is developing from the south of New Zealand, though the likelihood is that he should escape it, although Javier Sanso on Acciona 100% Eco Powered might not be so lucky.
Gamesa is making 16.3kts in more than 20kts of SW’ly wind and has less than 100 miles to make to the New Zealand safety gate.
Mike will also be looking forward to the 180 degree meridian which is about 200 miles in front of Gamesa.
Vendee Globe live interview:
Mike Golding on Gamesa, good to see you, how are things just now?
Pretty good, it is quite settled at last, had quite an interesting day with some pretty big squalls which spooked me for a while and I sailed around with a reef in for quite a while. I had 40 knot squalls which was a bit out of the blue and I wasn't expecting it but right now it is really settled, nice waves to surf and we are making very good progress towards the gate.
You've gained miles back on Jean Le Cam as well.
It is always nice to catch a little bit up but I think Dominique and I are waiting for this next system to come forward and hope that that can kind of shove us a little bit more towards him [Le Cam]. Obviously we are both operating in the same system, Jean is on one side of it and we are on the other and it is just a case of extending and compressing.
How are you feeling at this stage in the race? You are looking pretty fresh.
I got a good dousing today, the boat went charging off on a wave when we had the big, big squall and I got completely soaked, top to bottom, so I used that as an opportunity in my backed off state to have a shave and clean myself up and change all my clothes, so hopefully I do, but everything is soaking wet! A complete set of clothes!
The next stage is the anti-meridian, Mike, 180 degrees when you start going from East to West, how will that feel?
That's a really nice thought. I was speaking to my wife Andrea a few days ago and she was saying, 'ten days to Cape Horn'. It is really dawning us that we are munching through the race course and only ten more days potentially in the South, so the anti meridian means we are actually starting to get back, we are completely at the opposite end of the scale time wise and once we cross the antimeridian we start to unwind that and unwind ourselves, so it definitely feels like we are on the climb homewards.
That is the point really for you that you start to feel you are making miles home?
I think so. We have been at sea six weeks now and you do lose track of time, you don't mark time in the same way you would ashore, you don't have any barriers to mark those sort of things. So consequently it does creep up on you and you suddenly realise how far through this race you have got.
Your mood always seems very even, does it vary from day to day, do you have bad and good days, or in general do you manage to maintain a fairly even temperament?
In general pretty even. I do get frustrated, I did get frustrated in particular about the speed differential, it was a bit disappointing. It was a bit of a bitter pill in the build up to a race and I suppose you kind of fool yourself when you are working on a project like this you don't always know what your opposition are doing. And it is a bit of a bitter bill to get on the racecourse and find that there is a such a different speed differential, but I did get very, very frustrated about that. But in general, working around the boat, the boat is working well, I have got my problems like everyone else but we are on top of them and we are managing them and so long as I am managing them, my temperament remains reasonably even I think.
What are your medium term objectives, do you feel you can pull more miles back on Jean Le Cam and be in touch by Cape Horn?
Absoutely. I think getting back in touch with Jean is a top priority. I tend to look forward in the fleet when I am looking at the poll, I look at how far I am behind, not how far someone is behind me, so i tend to always look forward and I want to get back up with Jean and the two of us have obviously, well the three of us actually, have all gained a place because Bernard is in New Zealand. And potentially there are other places to be gained, maybe not entirely on the racecourse but there could still be more attrition.
Tell us what life is like on a daily basis, what is it like outside and what is the routine like?
The routine is dictated entirely by the weather. The last few days we have had pretty strong weather in a pretty active system. The base conditions weren't terribly strong, probably the average wind speed something like 25-30 knots. It is the gusts, the squalls that seem to control everything, and control the amount of rest you can have, the amount of sleep you can get and the quality of that sleep so a lot of it is controlled by the weather. And likewise food, generally living on board is all controlled by the conditions outside. Right now this is very benign conditions for the Southern Ocean and it is a pleasure, a pleasure to be here. Outside we have a fantastic moon, you get a view of the moon that is completely different to Europe. Of course it is upside down apart from anything! But it also looks bigger from here!
Did you manage to celebrate your Christmas in the end, a little bit belated, or is it still on hold?
No, I have been catching up today. I have been celebrating a bit today. I've got the wrong hat on haven't I, I should have my Christmas hat on! Perhaps I can take this opportunity to thank all the people who took the trouble to put little things onboard and equally importantly all the hundreds of people who have sent messages all of which have got through to me through our office. Every message gets read and all that support is really really, really appreciated.
I am a rubbish post Christmas letter writer, so this is my way of doing it all in one!
Anything interesting from your shore team in term of presents?
I haven't opened them all yet! So let's wait and see what we get.