Vendee Globe – Gamesa’s Golding reaches point of last race’s debacle

Mike Golding onboard Gamesa - 2012 Vendee Globe
Almost to the day four years, and within three hundred miles or so of the same spot that he lost his mast in the last Vendée Globe, Mike Golding has emerged this morning from a problematic incident which, but for the actions of the highly experienced skipper, could have been much worse.

'There was certainly a point where I thought, 'Here we go again, please, not another Christmas in Perth',' Golding recalled. 'But I am reasonably sorted now, I am not going to go mad. I just have to consolidate with the boat a bit and accept that I wont have my best day. Otherwise there is the propensity to get right into that downwards spiral and that’s when bad things start to happen.'

It was around 0400hrs this morning when Golding was just completing a sail change, hooking south into stronger breeze, when the furling line on the giant Code Zero failed just as a 35kt squall hit. Previously the wind had been around 18kts. With the boat overpowered and the headsail flogging wildly with no way of re-furling, the autopilot let go. Quick thinking Golding reached for the keel dump and effectively set Gamesa on her side to reduce the pressure on the rig before battling the Code Zero down in a nasty heap.

'I’m back on course now. The Code Zero is a bit of a mess with all the sheets inside it. Im in repair mode now and have to sit and stitch the cover back on the furler line. I have not had a chance to really inspect the line, but I am certainly hoping the damage is only to the cover and none of the core is gone. That would make life difficult.

'I am a bit out of sequence now [behind in his sail change pattern to match the wind forecast] so I need to get to the Solent and two reefs and just not go mad. The main thing is I am now down to the line of Jean Le Cam, so I need to consolidate now.

'When all this was going on I had the flashback to four years ago. It is so dangerous now because you have 20kts and are lulled into a false sense of security and then suddenly there is a big 35kts gust.'

Mike Golding is 805 miles from the Australia West gate this morning, lying in seventh place 133 miles behind sixth placed Jean Le Cam [Syncerciel].

Vendee Globe Race 2012-2013