The full transcript of the interview with Mike Golding, an edited portion of which appeared on Vendee Globe TV on Wednesday December 19
VGTV: You’re losing some from the back and but gaining a little bit from the front now it seems, how do you feel about the last 24 hours?
Mike Golding: I’ve lost in both directions, I’m gaining a bit back on Jean now, I’m not sure how much but it’s been a very frustrating but there is not much we can do about it, we’ve just got to get on and sail the boat.
VGTV: You’re being very candid in your situation, we’ve had people writing in wondering if Francois Gabart and others can really be so happy all the time. How many psychological games played by the skippers?
MG: I don’t. I don’t take too much notice to be honest. It’s disappointing losing miles and that’s the end of it, there’s still a long way to go and when conditions are right we’re going OK, so while it is frustrating now temporarily, hopefully things will set themselves right over the long term.
VGTV: We just heard from Bernard Stamm and described having to file his tooth that broke while while he was eating. We can see bumps and bruises collecting through the fleet, have you had any scrapes?
MG: I’ve had a few knocks and bruises inevitably I’ve had an infection in my finger which has never quite gone away I tried to drain it but it’s still not fully healed. But they’re little things, it’s inevitable you’re in a harsh environment, your body is under quite a lot of stress. Invariably you’re going to have a few bumps around the boat, it’s just about keeping in control of them. We’re in touch with my doctor on a couple of things and we make sure we stay on top of things before they get serious. A broken tooth is a really bad thing to have at sea, it’s very irritating and I’m sure quite painful, although I understand the tooth was root-filled so he probably isn’t feeling too much pain.
VGTV: What do you do on in these periods of frustration Mike, because I guess the danger is you try too hard?
MG: Oh, I get annoyed with the race organisation that always works (laughs). That always makes me feel better.
VGTV: But someone in this situation for the first time could drive themselves a bit mad, what do you draw on (his fourth race).
MG: You’ve got to learn to switch off, you’ve got data on the boat you know what the boat should be doing, you know whether you’re making mistakes. I think there’s always a certain frustration when you feel you don’t have the right sail for the conditions, but you’ve got to get on with it. Up to a point we weren’t doing too bad, but this last week has been horrific. Even in comparison to the leader breakaway, the last week has been bad for me. There’s not much I can do about it, I’ve just to get on and sail the race. Right now, I’m looking at a GPS telling me I’m doing 19 knots straight down the line, so that’s encouraging. Hopefully everyone else isn’t doing 19 knots down the line.
This is quite a strange situation, because when you’re in that system, you’re going downwind and I was code (sail) sailing and then quite quickly when you come out of it and the breeze starts to pick up you arrive in a situation where you start to reach and you go for normal fore-and-aft sails. But then what happens is you accelerate and you go straight back into the system, so, I seem to go fast for a while and then slow down again. It seems like you’re stuck in a rut . We’ve had this a couple of times in this race where the speed of the boat seems absolutely commensurate with the speed of the weather system. It produces these situations where you get absolutely stuck and that is what is allowing the boats behind to close up so significantly. Maybe it will work in my favour with Jean (Le Cam). But it is quite strange, it’s happened a couple of times on this Indian Ocean crossing, where we’ve arrived at these impasses, where we can’t break through and just sail normally.