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Mike Golding analyzes the situation

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Mike Golding is hoping for a smooth passage through the Doldrums today in order to try and bank some of the miles that he has pulled back on the leaders of the Vendée Globe in recent days. From a deficit of 349 miles to leader Armel Le Cléac’h two days ago, Gamesa was 158 miles behind Banque Populaire this morning and making steady speeds in decent breezes.

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Mike Golding
© Mark Lloyd / DPPI

“I’m upwind in quite a lot of wind right now. I came in with quite  lot of wind on the Code Zero [masthead, light weather gennaker] last night and had to get rid of that [due to excess wind], so really now I am just waiting to see if I stop.  At the moment there is a lot of lightning and rain and some big nasty clouds around. But so far, so good. It would be nice if we can keep some of these miles we have gained. It would be nice if we could keep all of them!


The weather info you get here is a pretty good representation of what it’s like. The files tend to overestimate the strength of the breeze, and the angles tend to be a little rotated. But this is the acid test of how to model this area. The changes are small and subtle and if you can zoom in and see the subtle differences between wind and no wind then that is great. But it is a very dynamic area. The model I am looking at now is probably old now but then I have committed to my strategy and if I suddenly need to be sideways 50 miles I cannot just do that! But I am not too worried.


Yesterday on the approach there was a lot of cloud. There are such a variety of different sizes and types of cloud, some very high level and some low and you learn their characteristics. You track them on the radar. The big ones can bring wind ahead of them and then nothing in their wake, and that calm can last for hours. They track with the gradient wind and so you generally try to avoid the biggest ones, but if one is coming at you and has your name on it you cannot avoid it.


So now I am looking for some steady upwind in a SE’ly wind which would signify we are starting to get out, but you don’t hold your breath. The Doldrums move north and south and at the moment they are static in the north but first they will expand a bit, so I am hoping we get south before that happens.”

On an ongoing basis

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