Now heading for Perth

Vendee Globe non-stop, solo, round-the-world race sailor Mike Golding has set up a jury rig on ECOVER 3 and is now making slow progress towards Perth, Western Australia, 900 miles away.

“I got the Jury Rig up this morning and thought I would leave it at that, but I got bored and put the storm staysail up as well! The bad weather is kicking in now and we have got 40knots of wind forecast. The boat is mainly going at about five knots, sometimes higher, but I am not able to point very well – as long as it blows it will be alright.”

“In terms of fuel I am better off than I thought I was as I have a full starboard tank and a little left in the port tank. So I reckon I could motor for about 500 miles if I needed to and I should be able to motor sail and get some relatively good speeds.”

“I didn’t have a real plan for the jury rig. I just went out and tied bits of string and blocks together and just tried to figure out the easiest way of doing it. I have used the boom on its existing toggle. There is not enough articulation for it to go upright so it has a 15-20deg rake aft. The staysail is set out using the gennaker tack line as a forestay and there are three other forestays. I have rigged two-to-one backstays with webbing struts at the top. So all in all it is pretty sturdy little rig.”

With the next depression imminent, the ‘new’ rig had at least helped the motion onboard the ECOVER 3. “It is a little less violent and we are not being as thrown about as we were. I used the speed I had earlier in the day to clear the ballast, which gives me more acceleration but it is a bit more lively. I think I will go for the acceleration and live with the liveliness!” he added.

As a major boost for Mike this afternoon, his son Soren and five of his classmates talked to Mike on the satellite videophone. The children asked him a series of questions and he was able to show them the jury rig and explain what had happened. He then took them on a tour of the boat before confessing that he was eating all the treats that had been stored on board and a special Christmas cake made by the mother of Tim Carrie, the team’s Technical Logistics Manager.

One of the highlights of the afternoon for the children was to meet Sterk Direct, the acronym that the children have given to the autopilot. The name stands for ‘steer’, ‘drive’, ‘check’ and ‘direct’.

Mike was really touched and said that “it was a delight to see and hear them and I was amazed by how much they understood about the boat, and about what happened yesterday. It was real morale booster.”

Image: OnEdition