After sailing 'blind' with no weather data for several days Mike has started to receive this again

Today Mike Golding revealed that he has been racing ‘blind’ for the past few days as he struggled to download weather information of the route ahead. “I’ve been struggling for weather information over the past few days, in fact I haven’t had any, but I just managed to get some last night,” he commented.

Fortunately, Golding’s best guess about the weather system in the South Atlantic was fairly accurate, and the lack of meteorological information doesn’t appear to have impeded progress. “It wouldn’t have changed anything I’ve done but it does look better for Bonduelle at the moment,” he said of Jean Le Cam, still ahead of second-placed Vincent Riou by 20 miles.

The past few days of Doldrums action saw Ecover make significant inroads into Le Cam’s lead. That rate of progress appears to have slowed down for Golding over the past 24 hours, however, as all six of the front pack sail in steady conditions. Ecover is lying around 76 miles behind, although now quite comfortably in front of Alex Thomson and just 16 miles adrift of fourth-placed Roland Jourdain. Straight-line speed seems good for Golding.

Conditions just south of the Equator are warm and wet. Reaching at high speed means water is pouring across the deck, but it is pleasantly warm. The steady breezes are allowing Golding a chance to catch up on sleep again after the rigours of the Doldrums, something that his Anglo-Saxon counterparts are dearly looking forward to. Conrad Humphreys has had next to no sleep for the past day, and Aussie Nick Moloney says he has had three hours in three days. Speaking on the radio Moloney sounded dead on his feet, and admitted he was so tired that sometimes he found himself going up on deck and then forgetting his reason for going there.

By comparison, Mike Golding’s life is relatively pleasant right now. Maybe he’ll even get a chance to listen to some of the music he brought on board. During the Doldrums he was playing the Crash Test Dummies, which never seems a wise choice for a singlehanded sailor. But he has also been playing a bit of The Cure, which perhaps accounts for his recovery of the past few days. He has yet to play a special compilation CD which his shore crew put together for him back in Les Sables d’Olonnes. One of the tracks is Monty Python’s Always look on the bright side of life, a tune that the skipper will doubtless save for a rainy day. Let’s hope he doesn’t feel the need to play it quite yet.