In his latest report Golding says he's knackered and pissed off 24/10/06
1400hrs GMT shows Mike Golding 10 miles from La Coruna here’s his latest report?
Just approaching La Coruna in NW Spain to stop to pick up two essential parts for the mainsail system after a shockingly difficult first 72 hours of racing. For me disaster of the worst type struck when the mainsail crashed to the deck. Unbelievably the new lashing had broken.
Ascending the mast in 35/40kts of building breeze to recover the halyard before the effects of the oncoming gale was as horrible as expected, but soon I was up and running again with the minimum possible loss of miles – Ianticipate this was a 40 mile loss.
The gale built and turned into a full storm with winds of 70kts plus recorded on Ecover – equally horrible and at times genuinely frightening.
My problem came as when the full mainsail came down. It fell like a sack of spuds and as such the normal organisation of each reef was impossible.
Bags of sail began collecting water which in one especially vicious squall burst when a breaking wave hit the mainsail greatly adding to the weight.
Eventually I took the mainsail down in a lull and sailed on under the wing mast alone. The real disaster came when I needed to tack south. In this configuration and by now in phenomenal seas it would be totally impossible to tack around through the wind leaving the only option to gybe around with the wind behind. This should be easy without any sail set however, the top of the bighead mainsail took off and crashed against the mast before gybing itself across the boat – three of the batten boxes which hold the sail to the mast split leaving the sail now partly unattached to the mast and flailing wildly.
I have some damage both from the lashing failure and from the storm but whilst I do carry one of these fittings as a spare – I have never seen a similar catastrophic failure – this alone has forced me to consider a stop both essential and prudent.
I am knackered and pissed off, but this is just the beginning and I am certain I can recover the compulsory 48 hours in port if I get some breaks in my luck.
This race rule actually allows us to fully utilise the time and replace the broken items – solve the other issues and recharge my own batteries which are to say the least depleted.
This was a violent, dangerous and broadly unforeseen storm, I am delighted to see that everyone is OK even if some like me have also been forced to add a pitstop to the Velux 5 Oceans.