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Golding starts 8 days late!!

by Susan McKeag on 19 Nov 2000
Team Group 4 is back in the Vendee Globe Race. Skipper Mike Golding
officially restarted the race at 20.11 local time last night (Friday 17th
November), exactly 8 days 4 hours after the original race start on 9th

Team Group 4 was dismasted just 44 miles from the start line on the first
night of the race. Golding, who has been preparing for the Vendee Globe
Race for three years, was devastated that his chances of winning the
Vendee Globe were dashed. In the knowledge that, under race rules, yachts
can restart the race from Les Sables D'Olonne within ten days of the
official start time, Golding and his sponsors quickly made the decision to
repair the damage and restart - this time with the world record as their
ultimate goal.

Luckily Team Group 4 had a spare mast - the one which had been used for the
Around Alone Race in 1998, and Golding and his team pulled out all the
stops to get the mast to France, order new sails and set about putting Team
Group 4 back on the water.

For eight days Golding and his team worked night and day with a great deal
of assistance from colleagues within the marine industry, the Vendee Globe
organisers and, not least, the local people of Les Sables D'Olonne who have
taken the English sailor to their hearts, thousands of them turning up at
the marina to see him over the last week.

Heavy winds in Les Sables D'Olonne delayed the stepping of the mast on
Thursday, and it was finally stepped and rigged on Friday, just hours
before Golding departed. He had no time to test the new rig beyond a few
tacks, with his team onboard, just outside the harbour.

Some last minute adjustments delayed his departure from the dock by 90
minutes yesterday evening, but despite the dark and biting cold weather,
the crowd waiting to wish him 'God Speed' grew larger by the minute. When
Team Group 4 finally left the port, hundreds of well wishers drove along
the breakwater, honking their car horns, flashing their headlights and
Golding knew that this time the sentiments were just for him. ' I was close
to tears' he said, a telling statement indeed for this professional sailor
who rarely shows his emotions.

After a night at sea, in which he managed to get some sleep, Golding was
sailing at 25-30 knots this morning on port tack just north of west. He
has discovered a few things which need tightening up, including his inner
forestay and the diamonds, but he needs to wait until the weather is a
little calmer before he makes the adjustments. Golding is going as far
west as possible in anticipation of winds from the north west in order to
make good speed towards Finisterre and the Canaries.

MPR - Susan Preston Davis/Susan McKeag

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