by Emily Caroe
Conditions remain tough in the Vendee Globe for Mike Golding at the head of a group of five Open 60s that he leads towards Cape Horn. Winds are not only strong but very squally and unsettled and the seas are big, angry and confused as he works Gamesa through the final 940 miles.
Mike Golding, Gamesa - 2012 Vendee Globe
Golding leads the group which is very much following in his wake, on the same course. The growing threat is that of Bernard Stamm who is now just 20 miles behind Dominique Wavre and has been consistently 2-3kts faster than the vanguard of the group in his new Juan Kouyoumdjian design. The protest against Stamm has been reopened by the International Jury on the grounds they have accepted new evidence.
For Mike, average wind speeds have been in the high 20s but dropping away to 15kts at times, all peppered by sustained squalls up to 45kts. Jean Le Cam, who is 340 miles ahead of Mike, describes conditions as a ‘war’. Golding has gained 80 miles on his French rival.
6 January 2012 12:15GMT Update : Vendée Globe Live interview:
How are things onboard?
I'm in very difficult conditions. It was a pretty scary early morning. I woke up, couldn't even get my foulies on and had 42 knots and ended up with the pilot wiping me out. I ended up in my skiddies [underwear] in the freezing cold, absolutely soaked. Not a good wake call.
Have you got everything under control now, are you feeling a bit more on course?
Yes I had a difficult night. I had a ballast leak and I have effected a repair during the night. And this morning I have been able to load the ballast and I'm back up to full speed. It was quite complicated because it was quite a big leak and it flooded the central trough which runs along the boat which runs into the engine space. That was the danger of getting too much water near the electrics so I had to crack on with it. It seems to be alright now, but it is something I am going to have to keep an eye on.
To have 48 hours like you've had you think there are easier ways to make a living than being a solo ocean racing yachtsman?
Yes, I think there are lots of easier ways to make a living, less stressful and less uncomfortable and probably get paid more! But none the less this is what we choose to do and obviously with Cape Horn approaching, that is one of the high points of the Vendée Globe for the sailors. You say it is a high point, but also a point in the race that is filled with stress. I don't know why, but I am feeling more stressed about this rounding than I have about previous roundings. It is not really the weather is particularly horrendous at the Horn, it is probably the ice that has got the spooks on me. We know way too much. I am sure there was ice around Cape Horn in 1994 when I was going round single handed on the Challenge Yacht on the wrong way record, I am sure there was ice all over, but I was blissfully unaware.
Vendee Globe website