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Vendee Globe...interview with Mike Golding

by Susan Preston Davis on 1 Mar 2001
Following is the transcript from Mike Golding's press conference, with thanks to

What were your motivations after the second start? 'It was very difficult. Before the sailing, professionally I was a fireman. Whenever there was a fire, I had to go. It's the same thing here, despite the problem with the mast, I had to go.'

Did you get into the race straight away after this second start? 'I didn't really feel into the race for the first part of the course. To motivate myself I was looking at where the leader was and working back 8 days and 4 hours. So it was like a virtual race for me as I pitched myself against the leader in this way.'

What now? 'Well, now is the time to re-evaluate everything that I've accomplished. And I'm going to get married soon, something I can't wait to happen!

How do you find the Vendée Globe? 'There are good and bad moments. Now, it's over!'

Calculating his race from the second start, he has recorded the fourth fastest time for the circumnavigation in the whole fleet. 'I'm very pleased at this, I would obviously liked to have been at the head of the fleet. My goal was to beat the record but the Atlantic wasn't good for the boats mid-course.'

Golding has also become the first man to sail solo in a monohull both ways round the world: 'The two events were very different for obvious reasons, the weather, the boat, both were voyages within oneself, which is what makes the Vendée Globe so unique.'

What routine is there on board Team Group 4? 'The routine on the boat has to remain flexible, as it is interrupted by things outside your control. The way I ran the boat solo revolves around very little sleep! On a regular day I would do my sleeping in the early hours of the morning and late afternoon. I'd work, do maintenance on the boat between 10am and 4pm and 1am - 4am local time. Because of the length of the Vendée I slept 5 hours a day, two lots of 70 minutes and a series of 20 - 30 minute sleeps. As in most sports, which involve deprivation of some kind, you live your life around your meals. So I would have one primary meal a day, normally around 5pm local time, a big breakfast and main meal, and spend the rest of my time thinking about how to make my freeze-dried food more palatable.'

'I've covered 26,400 miles, but I don't know my average speed yet! I hope that because there were 3 English skippers racing in the Vendée Globe this will help develop sponsorship in the UK. The Open class boats and single-handed sailing are becoming so important, almost 'de rigeur' in England now.

Could you ever imagine doing the Vendée Globe again? 'The answer at the moment is no! But clearly time is a great healer and you remember the good times and forget the bad ones. My only regret was not to able to be up with the front of the fleet. It's not a complaint, it's just to say that I wasn't where I would have liked to have been to use the things that I've learned to do the best.'

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