Mike Golding on Vendée Globe TV: "It’s as good as hitting a brick wall."

Mike Golding 15.12
© Mike Golding / Gamesa

VGTV: How are you Mike, can you tell us what happened yesterday?
MG: I had a problem with the furling line for the code sail, the code sail split the cover and the cord pulled through and jammed behind the jammer. The sail just comes unrolled so then you’ve got  an unrolled sail. I had full main as well, just at the same moment a big squall (which is why I was winding it away) was coming in, plus I had over 30kts of wind with a mast head code sail and full main which was pretty exciting, and simultaneous with that the auto pilot decided it couldn’t handle so much sail plan so it let go, it was all a bit of a mess really and took a bit of clearing up.
VGTV: Mike, how dangerous is a situation like that? In your messages yesterday you explained it, but without maybe some of the risk. How serious was that situation, it sounded like you put the boat on it’s side deliberately?
MG: You have got a choice in that situation, you are not going to be able to get the sail away because you can’t use that furling line, we only have the one furling line, so I knew I had to get a needle and thread out and sew the cover back on and melt the cover back on the line and sew it back on. I had to take the pressure off the boat, I just dumped the keel and let the boat lay over sideways which just takes all the pressure off the rig and the sail, it looks bizarre, it looks unsafe, but it actually just takes the pressure off everything. I had to very quickly do a bit of sewing to get the line to work and then wind the sail away, and of course it didn’t wind away particularly nicely and the lines were all caught up inside it, and they are still in the forepiece, but I’ve got a spare sheet. I have also been repairing the furling line.
VGTV: Mike, you were worried yesterday, it sounded like the damage might be more extensive. Have you got things under control now in terms of repair schedule?
MG: The problem is, that’s the only method of hoisting or controlling all the code sails that go out to the bowsprit, right now I’m in a situation where I’m ready to hoist a code sail at any time. I have got sheets, I’ve got a spare set of sheets and I have repaired the furling line and the boat is ready to run now. Everything is in place and we are just waiting for the right conditions so I can use it all, right now it’s not the right condition we are still in the thick of this system.
VGTV: Mike, the conditions look quite cross, can you describe the waves, they particularly look like they might be quite dangerous for you and for others around you?
MG: There are just very very  steep waves coming in from two different directions, and some very large waves as well, but the weather is sort of more than 25 – 30 kts but every 20 to 30 minutes a cloud bank comes across with a little bit of rain, and you’ll get a spike of wind up to 40 kts, I’ve seen up to 40 kts. I think Bubbi was showing us 53 kts , there are some pretty powerful spikes in there so consequently you can’t set the sail plans you would set if there is only 25 kts you have to be below that, in addition to that, and in addition to the wind problem you also have the waves, because about 10 minutes ago, for quite a sustained period I was doing 29 kts, surfing on a wave, there wasn’t a great deal of wind, but the boat was fully launched. That is OK as long so long as the sea state is consistent, just occasionally you come off the back of a wave and there is absolutely nothing beneath it and the boat comes crashing down and that is when things can get broken pretty badly and very seriously, you want to do the surf but when you are one of these surfs I can tell you, you are fully braced for an in-pact at the other end, it’s as good as hitting a brick wall."

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