Mike recognised in New Year Honours
British yachtsman Mike Golding has been awarded an OBE for his contribution to the sport of sailing.
Golding, 46, who lives in Hampshire, is regarded as one of the world’s best offshore racing sailors.
Having sailed since childhood, Mike first came to public attention in 1992 as a skipper in Sir Chay Blyth’s revolutionary British Steel Challenge, when he led a crew of amateurs in this gruelling, inaugural race around the world, east about, against prevailing winds and currents.
In 1994, he established a new world record for the same east about circumnavigation, only this time alone. In doing so, he became only the second person to successfully complete this voyage bettering Chay Blyth’s original time by more than 125 days – a record Golding held for seven years.
In 1996/7, Mike won the BT Global Challenge round the world race, leading an amateur crew to victory in five of the six legs and achieving a combined lead of more than two days on his nearest rival.
In 1998, Golding and the entrepreneur Jørgen Philip-Sørensen CBE set up Mike Golding Yacht Racing to create and manage a commercial grand prix sail racing team. In that year, Golding commissioned the build of the team’s first Open 60 yacht and became the first British person to professionally manage an Open 60 campaign operating out of the UK.
In the same year, Mike was elected as Vice President of the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA) and later became President of the IMOCA Technical Committee where he has been instrumental in the ongoing development of the Open 60 class rules, principally concerned with the safety aspects of a developmental class.
2001 saw the start of Golding’s successful partnership with the ecological cleaning products manufacturer Ecover; a partnership that has involved the establishment of an Academy for Youth Sailors from around the world.
During that year, Golding became the first person to have sailed around the world in both directions and the only British person ever to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions.
Representing Britain over the last decade, Golding has consistently been at the forefront of the professional Open 60 class, achieving podium positions in major events and setting three new world sailing records in the process.
Mike was FICO world champion 2005/6 and IMOCA world champion for two successive years 2004/5 and 2005/6; the first and only British sailor to hold this coveted title.
Golding is an Ambassador for the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine Federation’s Green Blue environmental awareness programme and has led initiatives to bring yachting and business together through high profile international sailing events starting from the UK.
Golding recently commissioned the design and build of a new Open 60 yacht with which he will compete in the IMOCA circuit culminating in 2008 in the Vendée Globe, the third time he has entered this gruelling non-stop solo around-the-world race.
Born in Great Yarmouth, Golding spent 12 years as a Fire Officer in the Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service before pursuing his passion for sailing on a full-time basis.
Commenting on his OBE, Golding said:
“I am delighted to have been awarded such an honour. I first learned of my nomination for an OBE while I was participating in the Velux 5 Oceans race when my wife Andrea rang me with news of the letter from No 10. At that time I was having a fairly tough time of it in the South Atlantic – my shore team must have wondered why I was in such amazingly good spirits!
I love what I do and have always considered it an honour to be afforded the opportunity of competing at the very highest level in international offshore racing. Sailing is a tough and complex sport that requires huge commitment not only from me as the sailor, but also my sponsors, team and family. I thank them all for their continued support.
As for the future – I fully intend to continue to contribute, where able, to the sport of yacht racing, a sport that has given me so much fulfilment since childhood.”
Golding will visit Buckingham Palace to receive his award from Her Majesty The Queen early in 2007.
· Sailed around the world five times; three times solo; three times east- about
· Crossed the Equator 17 times
· Rounded Cape Horn five times
· First person to have raced around the world in both directions (1993/4 and 2000/1)
· Only British person ever to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions (1993/4 and 2000/1)
· First British IMOCA World Champion (2004/5 and 2005/6)
· FICO World Champion (2005/6)
· Single-handed non-stop record breaking circumnavigation east to west against the prevailing winds and currents (record held 1994 -2001)
· Record holder of fastest single-handed monohull crossing of South Pacific Ocean – 16 days 5 hours 26 minutes – set in 2005
· Record holder of the fastest single-handed monohull crossing of Indian Ocean – 14 days 2 hours 1 minute – set in 2004
· Record holder of the fastest single-handed transatlantic crossing east-west – 12 days, 15 hours – set in 2004
· Record holder of the SNSM Record in the Open 60 IMOCA Class for the crossing from Saint -Nazaire to Saint-Malo – 1 day 8 hours 48 minutes 35 seconds
IMOCA – International Monohull Open Class Association – the official body representing the Open 60 class
FICO – Forum International de la Course Oceanique – a Swiss non-profit association which works closely with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to encourage and contribute to the harmonious international development of ocean sailing.