In the Vendee Globe, the final miles across the Bay of Biscay are likely to be some of the most testing for Mike Golding onboard Gamesa as he counts down to finish of this solo, non-stop round the world race for a record-breaking third time.
Mike Golding onboard Gamesa
No other skipper in the 24 years history of the Vendée Globe has finished the race three times, but Golding is having to fight for every mile as the problem he has had with his keel box has become worse in the building wind and seas.
A tough final 24 hours is expected as a typical winter low pressure system moves across the notorious Bay of Biscay. At the finish port, Les Sables d’Olonne in the Vendée region of France – where Golding’s support team arrived today – the race village was closed due to high winds.
Golding was making steady progress this afternoon, modulating his speed to help his pump deal with the water ingress. 'The water is filling up in the keel box and I have a lot of water in the boat, I am having to pump every hour and I am nervous about going too fast as it pressurises right to the top of the keel box and there is water coming out everywhere,' Golding reported this afternoon.
'Right now, it's bright blue skies, I have 22 knots of wind and am reaching in nice conditions, perfect for going to Les Sables d'Olonne, if you haven't got a boat full of water! I am having to stop occasionally to pump out. I can't make the pump work at speed as it empties into the keel box.'
The strong winds forecast in the Bay of Biscay are likely to reach 50 knots in the gusts, with mean winds of 35 knots for some of the time, dropping only slightly through tomorrow (Wednesday). Golding is expected to finish late Wednesday afternoon.
Once Mike has crossed the finish line, and it is safe to do so, he will motor up the canal to the Vendée Globe Race Village.
When docked, a host broadcast TV interview will take place. 15 minutes of print and TV interviews at the dock before Mike is taken up to the finish podium for an interview in front of the public.
Vendee Globe website
Mike Golding website