Golding's new Owen Clarke Open 60 arrives at in Viaduct Basin ahead of schedule

Mike Golding’s new Owen Clarke designed Open 60 yacht Ecover 3 completed her first gruelling trip slightly ahead of schedule early yesterday morning. Even so, delays to the demanding build schedule mean that Ecover 3 now has a very tight itinerary this week before shipping to Europe this Sunday 3 August. A target time window of three weeks during which preliminary sea-trials should have taken place has been cut short, and so the team now need to complete rigging the boat and carry out a crucial 180 degree self-righting inversion test, in which the boat must be turned over by a crane with the crew inside. Then without any outside assistance they must right the boat using only the swinging keel system.
‘It a very scary test’, admitted Mike, ‘If things go wrong – it would not be just a little wrong!’

The first competitive race for the new boat will be the Transat Jacques Vabre transatlantic race from Le Havre, France to Brasil in early November, but prior to that Golding must complete a 1000 miles qualifying race. The ultimate goal for which the new boat was built, is the 24,000 miles solo round the world race, the Vendee Globe, which starts November 2008. Golding will want to improve on his 2004 Vendee result, where he finished third in Ecover 2.

‘It is great to see the boat here. I am hoping that working at the Alinghi base will be a good omen’, said Mike this morning. ‘After all the work and stresses over the last month it is great to see the boat in the flesh, it looks fantastic here, and you start to appreciate what we have.’

Photo: copyright Gareth Cooke