Not bad for a shakedown sail

When Mike Golding cast off from Le Havre, France, it was only the eighth time he had sailed his new Open 60, Ecover.

Was he off for a shakedown sail or some testing of rig or gear? No – he was heading for the start of the Transat Jaques Vabres, a two-handed race that would take him across the Atlantic to South America.

Presumably Mike would be taking it easy, getting used to the boat and his co-skipper, Bruno Dubois. Not a bit of it!

Mike is leading the fleet of 16 boats with 30 of the best offshore sailors in the world breathing down his neck. And he’s loving it:

“We’re delighted and obviously when you build a new boat and you start a new project you input as much as you can and you work with the designer. In the end, you’re in the hands of this designer and the builder to deliver you with something that is competitive.

“At least in these conditions the boat is very competitive but we’ve still not tested the boat against the others in all conditions and that’s what’s important. It’s very encouraging.”

Follow Mike Golding progress in the Transat Jaques Vabres