|© Mike Golding / Gamesa|
Mike Golding (Gamesa), was back up to speed on Sunday afternoon after Forties roared at Gamesa in the early hours of the morning. After a frustrating Friday in a hole, Golding was just starting to enjoy himself in 20 knots of wind when, at 0400hrs (UTC) a 35 knot gust broke the line used to furl his code zero headsail. The huge sail was flapping wildly at the bow of the boat, confusing the autopilot, but not Golding – put that in your matrix – who dumped the boat on its side (presumably by the canting the keel and dumping the ballast). That took the pressure off the rig and then he was able to haul down the sail in a giant mess on the foredeck.
It was an even more frightening moment on reflection for Golding as he was keenly aware that it was almost four years to the day and probably only 300 miles away from where he dismasted in the last Vendée Globe.
“There was certainly a point where I thought, ‘Here we go again, please, not another Christmas in Perth’,” Golding said. “But I am reasonably sorted now, I am not going to go mad. I just have to consolidate with the boat a bit and accept that I wont have my best day. Otherwise there is the propensity to get right into that downwards spiral and that’s when bad things start to happen.”
“I’m back on course now. The Code Zero is a bit of a mess with all the sheets inside it. I’m in repair mode now and have to sit and stitch the cover back on the furler line. I have not had a chance to really inspect the line, but I am certainly hoping the damage is only to the cover and none of the core is gone. That would make life difficult.
“I am a bit out of sequence now [behind in his sail change pattern to match the wind forecast] so I need to get to the Solent and two reefs and just not go mad. The main thing is I am now down to the line of Jean Le Cam, so I need to consolidate now.
“When all this was going on I had the flashback to four years ago. It is so dangerous now because you have 20kts and are lulled into a false sense of security and then suddenly there is a big 35kts gust.”
Golding, in seventh place, has slipped back to 170 miles behind Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) and 1,700 behind the leader, but he was back to over 17 knots by midday.