Mike's missive from the deep South

Mike Golding, competing in the solo non stop Vendee Globe aboard Ecover 3, reports ‘conditions are pretty wild, 20kts plus of boatspeed, diving down steep awkward waves with winds ranging between 22 and 35kts from the west. Also add to this that last night was so very cold (3C) that even in full layer thermals and inside my sleeping bag I just could not sleep. So I got up made a drink, hunkering down over the stove. Then I charged the batteries which was a great excuse to have the engine on to warm up the nav station. Then with an almost endless stream of hot drinks of all description I sat and trimmed sails and the pilot for many hours – probably in part accounting for my big gains this morning.”

Mike also gave his views on the dismasting of Loick Peyron’s Gitana. “It’s very bad news for the race as Loïck is such a great ambassador for sailing and French sailing in particular.”

Meanwhile, Loick Peyron and the Gitana Team are looking into the safest and most comfortable solution to rendezvous with the diasmasted Open 60. Three routes are open to them today: South Africa, Madagascar and Reunion or Australia. Though the first two destinations are the closest geographically (around 1,600 miles) the sailing conditions are not ideal to get there, as Gitana Eighty will have to make most of the journey against the wind. Australia, situated 3,000 miles ahead of the monohull’s bow, offers a more attractive prospect as it is downwind.

Peyron is attempting to set up a jury rig with the boom, the daggerboards, the ORC and the mainsail sheet, which he managed to rescue: “Before night falls I’m going to try to complete my jury rig as it’s not very comfortable when you’re not making headway in this situation”.