Mike Golding has unveiled the new sponsor of his Open 60, Ecover

Mike Golding’s Open 60, formerly Team Group 4, was re-christened Ecover by Elise Margrethe Philip-Sorensen, wife of Golding’s long term Group 4 benefactor Jorgen today.

The ceremony, held at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, was also used to launch Golding’s EDS Atlantic Challenge campaign. The Challenge starts from St Malo on 3 July and will be contested by crewed Open 60s – Ecover, Kingfisher and Fila among them – over five legs ranging in length from sprints to oceanic legs.

“It’s a very different race for us,” said Golding. “These boats are designed for single-handed sailing and now we’re going to be sailing them with a crew. We’ve done a bit of training and the first thing we’ve noticed is how difficult it is to handle the boat around a course with a crew because the boat is very deeply underwinched.”

Although deck gear remains the same, Ecover has undergone some changes below decks. “There are four bunks now, on the boat, so we’ve added two. We’ve added an extra watermaker, all the things the boat is deficient on when you’re sailing with a crew.”

Miranda Merron is part of that crew and explained that racing these boats competitively is a compromise. “You have to find the right balance there,” said Merron. “You’ve got to push as hard as possible. The boat can be sailed at 100 percent with five people onboard but you also have to complete the race with almost everything intact in order to win, so it’s no good pushing it so hard that you break something.”

Golding knows her experience will be invaluable. “Miranda comes to us with Open class experience and she adds value in that respect, she’s familiar with the boat.” Golding remained tight-lipped on rumours that he had signed up other major sailors. “There are a few other players who aren’t here at the moment. (Can you give names?) Not right now.”

Golding is confident with his crew and optimistic about his chances. “If we don’t get a podium position, I’ll feel rather disappointed. It’s quite possible we could do that but as we all know, yacht racing can be a cruel game.”

Ecover crewlist:

  • Mike Golding – skipper
  • Miranda Merron
  • Conrad Humphries
  • Marcus Hutchinson
  • Nigel King
  • Alex Sizer
  • Graeme Tourell
  • Joff Brown