"The mast tube exploded 1.5m above the main spreader..."


Thomson, Golding and Ecover's broken spar
 

Thomson, Golding and Ecover's broken spar

Mike Golding recounts the dramatic events of Thursday and Friday in the Velux 5 Oceans
Since my last blog things have changed, first my priorities, then my whole race have taken a massive change of direction. During the past 48 hours I have enjoyed the greatest feelings of success and joy at the successful rescue of a fellow competitor and then, just hours later, the crashing despair brought on by a mast failure which effectively puts me out of contention in the Velux 5 Oceans. As I write Ecover is making progress north towards South Africa, probably Cape Town, where we can make a measured assessment of what comes next. Two days ago on 23 November the first sign of a change came with the 1020hrs position report. Over the previous 48 hours Ecover and Hugo Boss were making some of the fastest speeds of the race so far with 24hour runs around 450 miles. On Ecover we were seeing regular speeds in excess of 30 knots and our averages were around 20 knots. This is the most stressful sailing humanly possible - the speed is electrifying and the Southern Ocean is the most fearful location. Here the wind and waves have been uninterrupted by land for 15,000 miles and this makes it the best place for high speed sailing but also the most terrifying for the sheer hostile and uncontrolled power exerted by the elements. But for us, huge strides were being made on Bernard Stamm's lead, all indications were that within the next few days the race, the challenge for overall pole position would be firmly up for grabs. But on seeing this particular position data file, with Alex and Hugo Boss making only 8 knots to my 19 - an intuition told me that things were about to change radically. I immediately called the race office and asked them to find out what

VISITORS