Vendee Globe - Golding, Gamesa approach final Ice Gate

Mike Golding, Gamesa - 2012 Vendee Globe
In the Vendee Globe, Mike Golding has about 200 miles to go to make the final Ice Gate before making for Cape Horn. In a SW’ly wind which is proving very gusty and unstable, he now has four rivals to his North West, sailing a more direct angle towards the gate after the wind shifted to their advantage as the depression they are sailing on arrived. So Golding has his hands full trying to keep them at bay.

Dominique Wavre, who has been a close rival since before the Equator, is 75 miles behind with Acciona, Cheminées Poujoulat and Akena Verandas all closing each other progressively.

'I just have very difficult conditions,' Golding reported this morning. 'The last hour I have seen between 15 and 40kts and so I am on white sails. I had a 40kts gust with 1 reef and the Solent and the boat was on its ear, so it is not easy. I am just edging my way north and it seems I will need to make a little gybe so I just have to keep the boat moving well and see how it works out. At the moment I have just 15kts and am just floating along in quite a big sea.'

Golding has studied the routing to Cape Horn and in to the Atlantic more closely and the predicted that slow down and compression of the group which he leads. does seem to be on the cards.

'I have looked at the routing to Cape Horn in more detail and it seems like the Pacific is not going to let us loose that easily. It looks like we turn up and stop, basically. It’s OK from an ice perspective because we cut across and will have a relatively short period on high, high alert. But the conditions can change there so quickly, you can’t just tell from the GRIB files. The wind channels so much there. At least we will not be going around in a gale.

'It is going to be very difficult to stop the advance from behind, it would be nice if I got a chance. I don’t think any one of us will have an advantage or disadvantage upwind.'

And he is clearly pleased to see compatriot Alex Thomson round Cape Horn this morning to complete his first solo passage around the most difficult cape:

'Alex has done a great job. He has obviously found a layer of speed with the boat that is working for him, now he just has to keep himself going to the end. He has done well.'

Golding is expected to appear on Vendée Globe Live at 12:05 GMT today at Vendee Globe.

Mike Golding website