Yachting World Features Editor Elaine Bunting will be alongside Mike Golding onboard his Open 60 Ecover for the first leg of the EDS Atlantic Challenge, starting from St Malo tomorrow

Yachting World Features Editor Elaine Bunting has joined Mike Golding’s Ecover crew for the first leg of the EDS Atlantic Challenge, starting from St Malo tomorrow.

The 8,000 mile EDS Atlantic Challenge is comprised of a series of short sprints and long ocean legs, all contested by seven crewed Open 60s. Alongside Ecover on the entry list are Roland ‘Bilou’ Jourdain’s Sill, Ellen MacArthur’s Kingfisher and the Around Alone-winning Fila skippered by Giovanni Soldini’s associate Guido Broggi.

Ecover, formerly Team Group 4, experienced terrible luck during the last Vendée Globe. She started as one of the favourites but lost her mast within a day after the start. She restarted a week later but Golding’s chances of winning the event were over.

For this race, Golding is regarded as a significant threat. “Bilou has got the better of us so far this year, ” said Ellen, “so we certainly see them as the favourites to beat, but I suspect there is a certain Brit Mike Golding that has something to prove as well after his extremely bad luck in the Vendee.”

Elaine will be reporting her experiences on the 575 mile leg from St Malo to Cuxhaven, near Hamburg, on the Yachting World website so check here tomorrow for all the latest news.

EDS Atlantic Challenge 2001
Leg One: St Malo (France) – Cuxhaven/Hamburg (Germany), 575 milesLeg Two: Cuxhaven/Hamburg – Portsmouth (UK), 500 milesLeg Three: Portsmouth – Baltimore (US), 3,430 milesLeg Four: Baltimore – Boston (US), 650 milesLeg Five: Boston – St Malo, 2,900 miles

CompetitorsSill – Roland Jourdain/Gael Le’CleachKingfisher – Ellen MacArthur/Nick MoloneyAlphagraphics – Helena DarvelidLa Rage de Vivre – Loic Pochet/Patrick TabarlyEcover – Mike GoldingGartmore – Josh HallFila – Guido Broggi