Vendee Globe - Golding still hopeful as Gamesa heads southerly

The Gamesa IMOCA Open 60 skippered by Mike Golding, shown here training offshore as he prepares for the Vendee Globe later this year..Credit: Lloyd Images
Despite being hammered with large squalls over the past couple of days, veteran British sailor Mike Golding remains optimistic of his chances in the ongoing Vendee Globe race as his Gamesa team starts to navigate on a southerly course and build more stability in their voyage Saturday.

Repositioning himself back to the west, closing back towards the main body of the Vendée Globe fleet leaders, Mike Golding has – as expected – lost a handful of miles in doing so, but the British skipper’s patience should be rewarded later this morning when he gybes back to head on a more southerly course in the stronger breeze he has been seeking.

'It’s not too bad now. I’ve got 18kts of wind and we are trucking nicely west. I am just waiting for the gybe, so hopefully the quietest stuff is over for the moment. I am slowly seeing the breeze build and it is staying more stable now.'

Golding is emerging from a band of lighter, unsettled air to the east of the leading pack and remains in a close duel with Jean Le Cam who is 17 miles to the east of Golding’s Gamesa.

'The breeze will clock round progressively now so there is no actual shift in the wind direction I am waiting for, so it is just a question of picking the right time. But for sure I prefer to put some in the bank, to go a little further west, rather than regret it later. And I am sure that Jean will go first.

'Otherwise everything is going OK. I am pretty tired just now because I am hanging on for the gybe and you don’t want to go to sleep and miss the time.'

Golding will mark one week at sea after starting his fourth Vendée Globe at 13:02h French time last Saturday.

Saturday 17 November 16:56 GMT Call to Boat Update: 'Everything is alright. The conditions are settling down and things are all fine. I'm currently going downwind, between 15-20 knots of breeze, it's up and down a bit. The spinnaker is up and we are surfing downhill doing between 14-20 knots. It's slightly overcast but was clear earlier and it's hotting up.

'All things considered, we are in good shape, nothing is broken. Everything is still to play for, I am not too worried about my position, it is too early for that.

'My plan for right now is to send some video back and then eat, sleep then sail! It is relentless, trying to do all these things, it is just relentless. At least it is warm. I know why I like the south, because being overly warm is much worse than being cold. You can always wrap up in the cold, but it's impossible to cool down. It's already feeling really hot and we have a long way to go to the Equator.'

Mike Golding website
Vendee Globe website