Mike Golding and team aboard the Open 60 Ecover smash SNSM record 20/6/06

Mike Golding and his four-man team aboard Ecover have won the IMOCA class of the SNSM – a 284-mile race around the coast of Brittany from St Nazaire to St Malo – and set a new record of 1 day 8 hours 48 minutes and 35 seconds.

At 21 hours, 30 minutes and 18 seconds last night Mike Golding, Laurent Mahy, Graham Tourell, Nigel King and Patrice Carpentier sailed across the St Malo finish line well ahead of Sill & Véolia (Roland Jourdain and team) and beat Jean-Pierre Dick’s previous record of 1 day 10 hours 58 minutes 44 second.

Commenting as he stepped ashore last night Golding said: “The conditions were not ideal for record breaking as we were going upwind for most of the race and the last few miles we had very little wind. However, it is good to hold it but I reckon that, with the right conditions, it is doable within 24 hours.

“Overall I am pleased with our performance. We have been near the front pretty much from the start taking the lead in the early stages. We were seldom more than half a mile apart from Sill & Véolia at any time and in the closing stages this reduced down to about a quarter of a mile. I reckon we probably did about 20 gybes this afternoon, trying to force them [Sill & Véolia] to make an error and we eventually managed to gain separation from them when we went slightly offshore. Just before the finish we forced them to gybe and then sat on our advantage to the line.”

Just after crossing the line Golding and team encountered engine failure and ironically had to be towed in by the SNSM – the French equivalent of the RNLI – that the raced is named after!