Mike Golding on the Velux 5-Oceans Race prologue and next weekend's start 17/10/06

Mike Golding has been chatting about last Saturday’s Velux 5-Oceans Race prologue race in the bay of Bilbao. Although the race didn’t go quite to plan -a poor start and a course reading error see previous news story here – Golding is feeling is positive about the boat’s performance with just five days to the start. ” we just got a bad start but the boat really does feel good. It did everything we wanted of it smoothly and well. Changing the keel has made the difference I am sure and I feel we have the speed we had prior to the Vendee Globe back again.”

According to Golding there are doubts that all eight competitors will make the start on Sunday. Apparently Graham Dalton struggling against the clock and Tim Troy is having boat measurement issues. Golding continued: “At the moment I am just a little nervous about the size of the fleet, because there are some having difficulty getting there. I don’t know how it will pan out and resolve itself but we need all the competitors on the start line. Each of them have their own story and they are vital elements to the race. It is very different to a Vendee Globe scenario where you might be pleased to see boats flicked because the field is so big and competitive.

“This race has always been different, with open and evolving relationships between the skippers. It is very healthy to have that, where other teams are happy to give advice and help. It is nice and one of the aspects that makes sailing such a lovely sport to enjoy.”

Ecover has a new software programme which will produce real-time updates of the boat’s polars (the computed target speeds on all points of sail and windstrengths that are the skipper’s all consuming measure of how quick the boat should be going). Golding commented: “It will be really interesting because we have never had this before. They have always been based on VPP (the designer’s velocity prediction programmes) with our known errors factored in. This will give a good, solid real time comparison which will be very useful for the new boat.”

And the start, Golding looks at the likely scenario: “It looks like a southerly airstream will give us a beat for the first four or five days and it might be quite unpleasant to start with which might play a bit in our favour, but it will be important to stay in one piece. I think the three of us, myself, Bernard [Stamm] and Alex [Thomson] might have a bit of a ding-dong which would be good, but it will be hard to know how hard to push. I do believe that Alex will go off like a bat out of hell, so knowing how hard to push will be key. All the time I have it in my head that this is a race I have to finish, and so does he.”