by Emily Caroe
Vendee Globe Race. The seemingly relentless climb up the Atlantic in the NE’ly tradewinds is a passage that Mike Golding knows well but that does not make it any easier or more enjoyable. There are no tactical, short term options available, this is just a period of bouncing, bumpy, slamming upwind sailing which is testing on stamina and patience, watching the miles to the finish drop slowly, keeping up with the routine maintenance and always trying to see if there is a faster way.
Mike Golding, Gamesa is a matter of hours behind Jean Le Cam’s SynerCiel - 2012 Vendee Globe
For Golding, that pursuit of a different way appears to have yielded a slight speed increase, sailing Gamesa with much more heel. 'It is very uncomfortable, living on the ceiling almost but it seems to work. I have just literally ‘gone round the houses’ stage by stage looking to see what makes a difference and we are going a bit quicker and it has made a positive impact. We have always known the boat likes heel but this is a bit more extreme! But it does makes life very difficult. The day bed at the chart table I end up sliding off, and the bunk is fully canted. I don’t like it, but it does seem to be fast. I am tense all the time. I look at the numbers and it seems to work.'
Golding has pulled back some miles on fifth placed Le Cam. At 69 miles ahead of Gamesa, Le Cam is still just a matter of hours in front.
'There are plenty of options ahead, there are a lot of variables and so it is all good. I have been in touch with Alex [Thomson - Hugo Boss] a couple of times, and he is sailing a good race. He is on good form and just looking forward to getting in.'
Mike has 2,469 miles to the finish in Les Sables d’Olonne, and is passing the latitude of the Cape Verde islands.