Mike Golding's old Vendée boat has a new owner...an Australian of the same name

This is a funny coincidence. The boat that Mike Golding got started on in his illustrious Open 60 career has changed hands again and is to be sailed solo round the world by another Golding.

Australian businessman and former cruising sailor Garry Golding (no relation) has just announced that he’s bought the Groupe Finot design from 1998 to compete in the Velux 5 Oceans round the world race next year.

This was the boat Mike Golding raced in the 2000 Vendée Globe, and in which he had competed in the 1998 Around Alone, running hard aground on the northern tip of New Zealand and nearly sinking the boat.

Most recently, this hard-working and robustly well-built boat was a training vehicle for Dee Caffari – a predecessor to her current Owen Clarke design – and before that it took Conrad Humphreys round the world in the Vendée Globe as Hellomoto.

Although slow by the standards of the latest IMOCA 60s, which are probably a good 10 per cent faster, this sturdy canting carbon-keeler has proved very reliable indeed. It should do very well for its second Golding.

The great thing about the Velux 5 Oceans race, which starts from La Rochelle next autumn, is that has made a virtue of its so-called ‘Eco 60′ class. This specifically makes a place for older yachts that are no longer competitive with the latest designs.

So it’s relatively inexpensive for newcomers to race in the older breed of well-found speedsters. It is encouraging a clutch of interesting adventurers – like Garry Golding – and a very international fleet.

I don’t know what Garry Golding paid for the boat, but I’m betting it was under £100,000. Granted that the boat needs a new rig and sails (Caffari dismasted on her last transatlantic race in this boat), but even so it’s a fraction of the cost of the latest IMOCA 60s, which are nudging €2 million to build and changing hands secondhand for around €1.5 million.
That’s a pretty good deal for a comparatively small performance deficit, and a great way to keep these excellent boats competitive in a parallel field.