Less than 24 hours into the second leg of the EDS Atlantic Challenge, from Cuxhaven to Portsmouth, Mike Golding has already decided to go it alone
After yesterday’s 1400 GMT start of Cuxhaven, the fleet began long-tacking east, in and out of the Low Countries’ coast on a six-hour tidal cycle – all except Mike Golding who stood out right into the Channel before tacking back.
In the short term, the move has dropped them to sixth place in the seven boat fleet, 21 miles off the lead, while Kingfisher and Sill resume their customary battle at the front.
It’s difficult to see the big picture at present but it is known that this leg will largely be upwind and this tends to favour Kingfisher. Perhaps Sill has decided to protect the first place she picked up in the first leg and attempt a cover on Kingfisher for the second.
Golding might well have foreseen this race-within-a-race and decided he could sail faster around the outside. Perhaps, as he suggested before the start, he simply wanted more searoom to deal with the heavy winds closing on the fleet: “It’s not nice,” said Golding of the weather forecast. “Looks like we are going to get 45 knots, with the worst through the Dover Straits, just where we don’t need it.”
The low pressure currently passing over the country is bringing 8-10 knot west-southwesterlies at the moment and these are forecast to back and build to gale force as the system moves over the European mainland. This should free Golding, allowing him to sail a slightly tighter reach and potentially giving him the fastest passage through the Dover Strait.