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Golding losing batteries

by Susan Preston Davis on 6 Feb 2001
GOLDING BACK ON FORM

Mike Golding confirmed earlier today that he was happy with the work he had
carried out yesterday. He reported that he had been underway with both
full main and genoa and was confident that his reinforcements were stable.
He went on to speak at some length to Race Headquarters in the Radio Chat.
The following is a transcript from www.vendeeglobe.com

'I'm making good progress again. The problem goes right back to the South
Atlantic on the way down. I noticed the chafe appearing then and when I
first looked at the damage at the Kerguelen Islands I covered it and
patched up the main sail. Then in the rough weather four days ago the boat
was heading downwind in a steep head sea, slamming a lot, which was
difficult for the rig and the cap shroud was damaged. On a casual
inspection I was very shocked to find that it was at 10% of the original
thickness and was scared that it would break in my hands. I had great
difficulty when I was up the mast as I hit the mast 3 times before gripping
on. I've got badly bruised ribs now.'

'As soon as I was on deck level I called the shore team to make a plan and
effect a jury rig. It was getting dark so there was no way I could do it
then. After a message from one of the guys about the Vectran halyards I
decided to rig up the genniker halyard on the outboard end of the deck
spreader and went North for the night. The wind favoured starboard but I
stayed on port tack.'

'At first light I climbed up the rig - there was more wind and sea now -
and fed through the 'hands' the covered Vectran 'do anything' halyard, it's
a 16 mil diameter rope. At the end of the deck spreader it's attached to a
block which turns the cap shrouds back into the mast step, where there's
another block and then it reaches a winch with a couple of jammers. The
boat's now on starboard and these cap shrouds are taking the weight. The
existing one is still there, it's a good measure to see how much tension
it can take. There's also a Vectran strop and genniker halyard supporting
the mast as well. The cap shroud is as good as useless though. I'm
confident that the jury rig is strong and it won't chafe. I just have to
get my head down and keep sailing the boat, I've no more spare parts
hanging around to make another jury rig.'

'In the South Atlantic I also had problems with my batteries, and fixed
this by adding water, but it wasn't distilled, just ordinary. Basically,
now the batteries are clogging up. They are taking the charge but never
seem to get full. It's been an ongoing problem. I've been economising on
fuel, like not using any heating in the South, doing anything to eke out
the fuel supply. Now I've got 25 litres of fuel supply and 2 weeks to go
- it will be extremely tight. My fear in the South Atlantic is running a
black ship (no lights/radar) which I really don't like. Later on I'll
have to use my nav lights and radar, which are very power consuming. I'm
hand steering during the mornings and evenings, sometimes at night, but
never at midday as I'm fairskinned and will burn to a crisp! It's
difficult to be precise about how much I need as the batteries are
worsening and I can only make eyeball measurements, so it's tricky making
guesstimates.'

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