Mike Golding should make landfall in Fremantle, Western Australia on Christmas Day with his jury-rigged 60ft yacht – ‘all things being equal, wind in the right direction, fuel reserves lasting out and even finally a bit of good luck,’ say his UK-based team.
Docking in Fremantle will bring to an end a long, and deeply frustrating week, coaxing ECOVER 3, nearly 1,000 miles north, but it will take much, much longer – if ever – before the British solo skipper comes to terms with what happened, losing his rig only hours after taking the lead in the Vendée Globe.
The photo shows the Australian navy frigate, HMAS Arunta, after dropping off fuel and fresh food to ECOVER 3 on 21st December. The frigate dropped a pre-christmas selection box off to Golding as it was returning from its mercy mission with injured French Vendee Globe skipper Yann Eliès. Ten cans of fuel was the most welcome offering for Mike, as well as some fresh meat and bread, a tin of ham, and a few beers to help him on his way.
“It was very welcome gesture. They delivered it with exceptional precision and professionalism. The whole thing was over in less than an hour. They circled round me about 200 metres or so off, launched their RIB and it was all done and dusted very quickly, they hardly slowed and I kept going.” Said Golding today, “I sent an e-mail to the Arunta’s commanding officer expressing my gratitude as well as offering to make sure we pay for the fuel, but he told me it was their Christmas gift to fellow mariners.”
“The Australians should have great pride that they have a Navy which achieved such a mission in such circumstances. I am sure that the personnel on board take pride in the job they have done, and I think they have absolutely every right to.” Commented Golding who sent back a couple of mini bottles of Mumm Champagne which he had been saving.