Mike Golding will not able to defend his title inMay as Ecover 3's replacement keel not ready 18/4/08

Mike Golding, one of the UK’s most experienced single handed sailors, will not be racing The Artemis Transat (Plymouth to Boston) on 11 May.

Ecover 3’s replacement carbon keel blade will not be ready early enough to safely allow the team to compete. This is in spite of a huge effort made by JMV Industries, the keel builder, and HDS, the designer.

Mike Golding commented: “Everyone has done everything possible to make this schedule, we even initiated the design of this new keel several weeks before it was confirmed that Ecover 3’s original steel keel blade was both unsafe and un-repairable. We always knew that our back was against the wall and, whilst our withdrawal from The Artemis Transat is disappointing it is not entirely unexpected. Everyone involved in the work on this keel has done everything possible to make it happen for us in time but we just cannot make the ends meet – we must accept it and move on.”

The double IMOCA world champion continues to focus his attention on the Vendée Globe, which starts in November 2008. Golding is the only Briton to have successfully completed the race twice, in the last event finishing in 3rd place.