Golding the tenacious


Ed Gorman finds out what it is like to live in the shadow of Ellen
Imagine you are Mike Golding. You've gone from being a record-breaking singlehander and a successful skipper in the BT Global Challenge to the full professional circuit in an Open 60. You have performed perfectly respectably and, what is more, you have a good story to tell with highs, like coming third in the 1999 Transat Jacques Vabre, and lows, like running aground while leading the Around Alone, and the media and sponsors are lapping it up. Then along comes a certain Ellen MacArthur. While you are cruelly dismasted at the start of the Vendee Globe and bravely re-group to finish seventh, she dazzles and delights millions around the world by almost winning it at her first attempt and sets numerous records along the way. Suddenly you are left struggling to keep your head above water in an area of the sport you once dominated and everyone seems to be forgetting that Britain has at least two top singlehanded ocean racers, not one. Golding, the former Berkshire fire-fighter, knows, probably more than anyone, the impact that Ellen has made in British sailing. Although it is undoubtedly an entirely positive one, and one which many of us hope will inspire many young imitators, there is an obvious downside for rivals like Golding who are trying to keep their own careers on track and hook their own major sponsors. Over the past four years Ellen and her manager Mark Turner have gone from being minor players to virtually the only story in British sailing, especially as far as the mainstream press is concerned. Now it seems, no matter what event Ellen enters, it will be she who gets the coverage while other competitors from Britain are left eclipsed and in the margins. A recent example was the 2001 Transat Jacques Vabre. Ellen and Alain Gautier finished

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