As the rock stars wake up to Open 60s, the under-rated Mike Golding shows once again how it's done


It’s great to see Mike Golding back where he almost always is: at the head of the fleet, this time the Transat Jacques Vabre . Could his new Ecover, which he had sailed only eight times since the start, be on track to repeat the accomplishment of his last boat and go straight out and get a podium place on her maiden race?

It’s funny how many people were muttering in Le Havre that they thought Mike’s boat was too conservative. Ecover 3 doesn’t have visible gizmos like flip-up rudders, a sliding coachroof, a wingmast or a circular mainsheet-cum-vang track. It’s not the widest new boat, either. But Mike knows what works for him and is proving this again.

Lots of people are belatedly waking up to Open 60s. In Barcelona guys from the America’s Cup, the TP52 circuit and the Volvo Ocean Race were admiringly checking out the boats and the technology. Many have scant respect for the established short-handed sailors, whom they consider adventurers and, at heart, plodders.

The stirring interest is entertaining and these guys can discuss the technology all they like. Seamanship under pressure is at the heart of this world and that is probably the hardest-won (and most interesting) skill any sailor can develop.

We should look forward to the critics and improvers stepping up and having a go.

Photo by Thierry Martinez