Velux 5 Oceans: Golding expects Thomson to reach waypoint first with match race developing later

Friday, 17 November 2006

Steady progress in a building breeze leaves Mike Golding on Ecover attempting to keep fourth placed Alex Thomson in check. On a less favoured course with less breeze than Alex, who is some 200 miles to the west of Ecover, Mike is doing all in his power to ensure that the British pair reach the waypoint in close contact to hopefully set up a Southern Ocean duel en route to Fremantle.

Mike was still losing miles to Alex this morning and was calculated to be 931 miles behind Velux 5 Oceans race leader Bernard Stamm but just 97 miles ahead of Alex who has registered the best VMG and distance covered over the last 24 hours.

"I am going a bit quicker now, starting to move. I have got about 18 knots of breeze and am just trying to hang on to my position relative to Alex who will have more breeze." Mike told us this morning, "I had a stab at getting down to him (Alex) but it was pretty horrible. The breeze is steadily building, but it'll get here."

Other than a less than desirable position on the Velux 5 Oceans race course all is well with Mike and Ecover, as the vastly experienced solo skipper completes the checks to ensure the boat is well set up for the stronger downwind conditions of the Southern Ocean.

"I have nothing on the job list really, we are pretty much all in Southern Ocean shape, now I am just looking forward to getting on an even race course."
"It is just a matter of checking everything is ready. As a small example I have not had the cover off the staysail yet, but I took it off and it is ready to go so that I am not going to be fiddling around when it is needed."

Golding acknowledged the dropping temperatures, reporting that it is 'thermals' weather now.  "This weather is coming in from the west now so there is a definitely nippy."

So far nature also confirms that Thomson and Stamm are further to the favoured south, Golding has yet to catch sight of any albatross whilst both of his main rivals have: "I have certainly seen a few Southern Ocean birds but as yet no albatross."

Mike currently expects Alex to reach the waypoint first with any match racing developing thereafter, "He is about 200 miles to my right and with a better angle to it. I don't know what will happen, but it should even out a bit at the mark. Then we will see what we can do."

Coralie Rassinoux:

Last Updated ( Friday, 17 November 2006 )