He's only sailed the new Ecover eight times. What are Golding's chances on a 4,000-mile race?

No-one could ever accuse Mike Golding of having a path gilded by luck, but could he be about to get a break?

Under leaden skies, he and co-skipper Bruno Dubois began the Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to Brazil today inch-perfect, getting cleanly over the line in 1st place and away on a downwind forecast that could not be better suited to his largely untested new Ecover 3.

Golding had sailed his new boat only eight times and he is no optimistic; bitter experience has drummed that out of him. So reliability is a concern. It is, Golding admits, more a question of whether or not breakages are manageable.

Read more on Elaine Bunting’s blog