Golding on form solo with his modified OCD 60

Gamesa Open 60, staysail and reefed main, genoa on deck... photo Mark Lloyd
Gamesa Open 60, staysail and reefed main, genoa on deck... photo Mark Lloyd

photo Mark Lloyd
photo Mark Lloyd

Seven days into the IMOCA Transat B to B Mike Golding reports his performance on a par with the latest generation boats:

"It’s going good at the moment, pretty much sailing down the line in a good SW’ly which I think will pick up later today, it is picking up slowly. We are tracking nice and straight, there will be a little bit of a shift later on today, but I feel like I’m on good form and it is going well.

“Locally the weather model is now a bit clearer than it was, before it was not very precise, but now it is definitely clearer.  I will have to gybe later today and once I gybe it will start to get stronger. But the way it looks at the moment it will get windy, but not too windy. As long as we are downwind that is fine, I am looking forward to a bit of a blast and a sleigh ride home would be just fine. At this stage you just start to think of getting to the finish as quick as possible. Mind you, hearing about the temperatures at home….."

With a moment spare last night, Golding sent this update report: "At last we are able to begin to turn Gamesa eastwards towards the finish in Lorient. I don't recall ever having to sail so far on an un-favoured tack/gybe - the weather in the Atlantic is horrendous - gales in the north and no wind in the middle. Still as we reach the latitude of New York at last we are making proper progress east.

"On this short sprint northwards Gamesa has sailed on all 'points of sail' against and in close proximity to each of the newer boats. The good news from a longer term Vendée perspective is that I really feel the modifications we have made since June have brought Gamesa firmly into the game with these new generation IMOCAs. It is true that on some points our speeds differ slightly (not always to our disadvantage) but that is the nature of an open class where the performance solutions chosen by each team differ so greatly. Ultimately reliability, my choices and my fitness are going to make the difference - this is where we must focus next year as we prepare for the Vendée."

"Right now Gamesa is simply flying east under a gennaker and reefed mainsail - the boat is currently perfectly balanced and even when gusts exceed 30 kts she tracks straight and true. I am constantly monitoring the autopilot's reactions. If a large amount of helm is being used, the boat is struggling, now however now the tiller scarcely moves and the boat is charging along at speeds well in excess of 20kts. Below decks the noise is huge and surges of violent acceleration very unnerving - on deck all seems to be in control, easy miles at last.

"I am happy with Gamesa's positioning in the fleet, but aware of the potential benefits of being north but surprised by the effectiveness of the southern choice! This is long game and what will win through remains to be seen....

"Have had a really good clean of the galley after my two hours of stomach cramps a couple of days ago, I have not felt great since - tired and lacking appetite - perhaps in part because I have no idea what brought it on and I don't want a repeat performance. As a precaution I have ditched everything that was opened of that could be culpable …."

For a compilation video of Gamesa sailing between launch and the end of the B to B go here

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