But does not relish jobs aloft anymore

Mike Golding, sailing Ecover, his Open 60, has nearly halved his distance from the leading boat, Gitana Eighty, sailed by Loick Peyron. Mike is now lying
seventh, just 55.1 miles behind Peyron in the Vendee Globe, solo, non-stop, round the world race.

With some 330 miles to the Equator, Loïck Peyron has scarcely made a wrong move, but the threat, such as it is, may come from Jean-Pierre Dick in third, who has a more westerly position, by 45 miles, and has been making the best gains. Indeed as the fleet emerge into the south-easterly breezes it is those to the west who seem to have made the best initial impact.

Mike, said: “I’ve spent the last four years preparing myself not to have to go up the mast. A lot of focus has gone into the preparation and design of the rig, so it was a
bit of shock to the system to find myself 28m aloft so soon into the race.
Basically, it was the last place on earth I wanted to be!”

“It doesn’t matter how calm the conditions are, I still don’t like it. In fact I
like it less and less as time goes on. There was a time when I’d go up willingly
to do a rig inspection and take photos and video but that time is long past. The
reason why? I know things can go seriously wrong. I’m thinking of times when
I’ve gone up and, for one reason or other, my gear’s got stuck and I’ve had to
detach myself from it, re-organise it, and get back into it. It’s all pretty
dodgy stuff, suspended by sail ties and goodness knows what, at the top of the
rig. Now, if I have to do it, I certainly don’t waste any time up there.”

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