Will Carson: What do you make of the current situation?
Mike Golding: “It's very interesting. I've been following what's been going on with Alex [Thomson] and his broken foil, and it's interesting to see that he was able to extend slightly on the boats behind him. But of course he's sagging off the south and must be getting near the virtual ice gate, and that's a problem because being south will always tend to make you look like you're closer to the finish but at some point of course he's got to get onto the other foil.”
MG: “I'm not 100 per cent surprised. The reality is that most of the race to date is taking place in that 15-20 knot wind range and that's perfect for foiling. Right now they've been experiencing wind on the back of that depression and big waves, and I think the waves will prevent the foilers from being able to exploit their foiling capability. The Southern Ocean is going to be really interesting because you may well find that the foilers are not able to pull quite as much mileage away from the classic boats in strong conditions and they'll have to wait until conditions, and particularly the sea state, drops.”
WC: What are your thoughts on that group of seven frontrunners?
MG: “Obviously the guys in that leading group are really on a roll, they're all trying to cling on to that depression for as long as possible and you're just starting to see the back of that leading pack fall off the system. Alex and Armel will be doing their level best to try to hang on to that system for as long as they can.”
WC: Who are you supporting?
MG: “It's always good to support the Brits so of course I'm supporting Alex and I'm hoping he can at least deliver us a miracle and get to Cape Horn first. It's very difficult between the rest of the players, I'm following pretty much all of them. I've got my opinions about who may and may not win the race – I think Armel would be an extremely popular winner but in the context of the classic boats it would be nice to see Paul Meilhat on SMA score a result.”
WC: Is there any hope that the sailors outside of the front seven could catch up?
MG: “It's really hard to see – the splits are enormous. In 2004 at this point in the race I was approaching 700 miles behind but I took the lead in the race just after Cape Horn so you can catch up enormous distances, but these splits are very large and it will be interesting to see how things develop over the next few days. The splits look like they are going to grow larger still.”
WC: You retired from Vendee Globe campaigns after the 2012/13 race. Do you wish you were back out there?
MG: “I don't think I did officially retire! I just knew I wasn't coming back for this edition. I hadn't really thought about it until I went to Les Sables for the start and saw the preparations and felt the atmosphere. Then of course you miss being involved. But by the same token this can be a race of disappointment and I feel so strongly about the failure on Alex's boat diminishing his prospects of being able to deliver a result. I feel very sorry for him because Hugo Boss was a standout team at the start of the race and I felt Alex was in a strong position to win the race. It must be hugely disappointing for him and his team, but I'm fairly sure he's going to keep on delivering over the next few weeks.”