VETERAN Hampshire yachtsman Mike Golding said he is committed to pushing his yacht as fast as possible in the Vendée Globe despite being more than 800 miles behind the leaders after a month at sea.
The 52-year-old from Warsash, pictured, a three-time competitor in the 24,000-mile solo round the world race, has struggled to keep pace with the newest generation of 60ft yachts on his 2007-built Ecover.
But, despite the deficit, Golding said he was fighting hard in the Southern Ocean to stay with the leading group, which includes fellow Hampshire sailor Alex Thomson.
“It is frustrating for us obviously – I’d rather be in that group, making those miles, but unfortunately we are not,” said Golding, last night in sixth position in the 13-boat fleet.
“My philosophy is it is a long race. We have a long way to go and things can and do change. “I have to sail my own race and concentrate on those boats around me, doing the best job I can, keeping the boat safe and make good miles down the course.”
Meanwhile Thomson, who was last night back up to speed after making a series of repairs to his yacht Hugo Boss’ steering system, was locked in a battle of his own to remain in touch with long-term leaders Francois Gabart, Armel Le Cleac’h, Jean-Pierre Dick and Bernard Stamm.
“It’s still very fast sailing and very bumpy out here but the wind angle has allowed me to get some much needed rest after a couple of days that have been hard on me,” the 38-year-old Gosport sailor said.
“My loss of miles during my incident and repair means that I cannot follow the lead group as I am not far enough advanced to be able to keep the wind. I am heading east to pick up Cyclone Claudia in a couple of days and hopefully ride her in the right direction.”
The Vendée Globe, regarded by many as the world’s toughest sailing challenge, started from the French port of Les Sables d’Olonne on November 10.
Twenty solo skippers started the race but a series of breakages have reduced that number to 13.
The course sees the fleet sail south of Africa, Australia and South America before heading north through the Atlantic back to Les Sables.
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