Vendee Globe - Golding contemplates Doldrums passage

Mike Golding, Gamesa - 2012 Vendee Globe
In the Vendee Globe, benefiting from the unfortunate problem of Jérémie Beyou – who has a broken ram which controls the keel head on Maitre Coq – and has slowed to try and repair - and trading places with nearest rivals Jean Le Cam on SynerCiel and Dominique Wavre on Mirabaud. He has a positive outlook on the week ahead as he contemplates his passage across the Doldrums, which will start tomorrow.

Racing south, nearly 300 miles SW of the Cape Verde islands, Golding has had some unsettled breezes through the night but has stuck with a big, code sail in the 11-12kts of wind he had early this morning.

'I am sure we have the effect of some turbulence from the islands, they may be a long way off but you can see it on the weather files, and we have been slowed and knocked [headed so the boat is making a lower course]. I have stuck with the Code sail rather than the Genoa for the moment and I think the other two have been on Genoa, and in fact I saw Dominique last night and he was.

'They have been sailing a different angle and I have been wondering if they are lining up to cross the Doldrums in a different place. That kind of shakes your confidence and you go back and look at everything again but it looks OK where I am headed.

SAILING - PRE VG 2012-2103 - LES SABLES D'OLONNE (FRA) - 21/10/2012 - PHOTO MARK LLOYD / DPPI / VENDEE GLOBE - MIKE GOLDING (GB) / GAMESA - ONBOARD -
'The leaders should go in today and to be honest it is now looking OK for them and they should not lose too much.

'Overall I feel like I am getting down the track nicely now. I am very much into my routine with the boat. I don’t feel like I have made any big errors and I am now sailing the boat OK. It is a little bit of a surprise to see Dominique up here at this stage, but good on him, he got the entry to the high and the low pressure right and is going well.'

Monday 19 November 2012 12:00 GMT Update: Transcript of Radio Vacs conversation with Mike Golding:

When asked about the Swiss-French alliance with Dominique Wavre and Jean Le Cam against the English [the three boats are in a tight match race] and how he feels: 'Good luck with that! The night was fine; I was having a nice sleep actually [when they called].

'We are 100% focused on the Doldrums strategy because it is all about where we are going to enter the Doldrums and each evolution of the model gives a slightly different outcome, we only have a limited amount of time, very limited now, to adjust our course to hit in the optimum place. Right now the Doldrums are front and centre of our minds and not the boats around us.

Can you close the gap now? 'Well, we were separated in a weather system, compressed in a weather system, it can happen. The reality is that it is possible, but it is not looking great for the Doldrums, but we'll see. We have one file one day, each evolution of the file shows a different outcome. Sometimes I run their routes and we make a little catch up and other times we don't. It is changing because the doldrums are so dynamic; it changes literally from hour to hour.'

Vendee Globe website