Golding gives his thoughts on what went wrong

Mike Golding and Alex Thomson have re-lashed the broken sections of Ecover’s mast to the deck and have set up some temporary wind instruments so that they can set the autopilot to steer to ECOVER to a wind angle rather than a
compass course as they head for Cape Town.

Trying to find out what caused the mast failure, Golding has been through his electronic log data to examine the timings more closely. Mike reports making his first call to the race office at about 0800hrs GMT and turned the boat around at 1127hrs GMT. He made his final approach tack at 1930hrs on a layline for HUGO BOSS and rendezvous’d at 2034. At 0522hrs the next morning he started the
rescue procedure and at 0604hrs had made the pickup. By 0742hrs he had ECOVER back on course for Fremantle at a modest race speed, at about 80% of polars. And it was at 1126hrs that the mast came down.

‘I do think that tells us something. To me it indicates that the rig was probably damaged going upwind, sailing at the same angle for a long time in winds up to 40 knots. I do feel that is the most likely thing, given that we had not really been sailing downwind for that long afterwards and were not pushing, just cruising along. It was awfully quick, three and a half hours, for it to be anything else.

‘What we do know is that nothing failed in the rigging. No pins, nothing’s come adrift, which is good in the sense that we didn’t do anything wrong.’

The next step will be to have a composite expert, probably from the rig’s manufacturer Southern Spars, to have a look at it: ‘I am fairly sure that they will be able to look at the way that it has broken and give us a clearer idea of what actually happened.’

Mike admits that, almost inevitably, the close confinement with Alex has resulted in both probably spilling the beans a little too much on their ideas for their new boats. ‘I think we have already learned from each others’ ideas, but then I guess that is kind of inevitable given that is what we are both interested in. We are getting on well, certainly. Alex slept for England last night and is back asleep now. I am just letting him get as much rest as possible.’