Qualified

Mike Golding and Bruno Dubois bring Ecover 3 safely into Le Havre, prior to the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

Tuesday October 23rd 2007, Author: Jo Grindley, Location: Transoceanic
Bringing the new Ecover 3 into Le Havre last night Mike Golding and Bruno Dubois successfully completed their obligatory 1000 miles passage which qualifies them to compete in the Transat Jacques Vabre.

"It was good and it was fast," confirmed Golding this morning in La Havre's Paul Vatine Basin where the fleet is assembling prior to the prologue racing this weekend. "We had winds up to 25 knots and the breezes built nicely through the range so that we used all the sails with the exception of the spinnakers. But we sailed upwind, fully loaded up and the boat felt good. All round we are pretty pleased.

"But, as these things go with a new boat, we came back with a job list of something like 60 items. Many of them, of course, are just small things. Four are a little bit bigger and when we were sailing there were always things we were fixing, so the real challenge now is for the guys to have us a boat that we can race.

"OK, we have not done as much testing as we wanted to because we have been so short of time, but the boat felt really good, very powerful."

The passage was the first time Golding has sailed in earnest since he brought Ecover 2 into Cape Town late last year after rescuing Alex Thomson during the Velux 5 Oceans Race.

"It was good to be out again. Bruno and I got along fine. I think our top speed was about 27 knots." Mike reported, admitting that he was blissfully unaware of the top speed since he was asleep while co-skipper Dubois was on watch.

"My hands fell to bits of course, but while the boat is much more loaded it is much easier to operate because the winches are bigger. It felt really good reaching. The mid ballast makes a big difference and the boat felt very well balanced on a reach.

"Now we have got a lot on. There is a lot of work to do in a short space of time, and things have to work in this race. We can't be losing time fixing things all the time and that is what we have spent a lot of our time looking at possible problems. But the good thing is that most of the jobs are small."
 
The 4140 miles Transat Jacques Vabre double handed Transatlantic race from Le Havre to Bahia di Salvador starts Saturday November 3rd.

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