Back in the IMOCA 60

Mark Lloyd /
After a two year absence, Mike GOlding shows us around the modifications to his IMOCA 60 Gamesha
While it might not seem that long, the Transat Jacques Vabre marks Mike Golding’s return to the IMOCA 60 class after an absence of two years. With the sad death early last year of his long term backer Jørgen Philip-Sørensen, so Golding’s sponsorship from Ecover came to an end after two seasons spent catamaran racing on the Extreme Sailing Series. Over this winter his Owen Clarke-designed IMOCA 60, the former Ecover 3, was chartered to French legend Jean le Cam for the Barcelona World Race. Renamed Président, unfortunately she dismasted ten days into the race. However Golding is now back in the class he has been involved with for the last 14 years, with a new sponsor in the form of Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa with a program that will take him through next year’s Vendee Globe and will hopefully see him better his third place result from the 2004-5 singlehanded non-stop round the world race. His boat has been through a substantial rebuild at Green Marine and in particular there are now marked differences in the cockpit and in the cabintop, while the small section rotating mast that originally featured on the boat (and on Ecover 2) has been replaced with a more substantial fixed rig from Future Fibres. While many of the last generation IMOCA 60s featured larger cockpits with more emphasis on racing doublehanded and occasionally fully crewed, so Gamesa’s new cockpit is an example of the trend back towards more compact layouts, better suited to singlehanding in the Vendee Globe. A double benefit of this is significant weight reduction. In Gamesa’s new cockpit, gone, for example, are the twin wheels and one of the two pedestals, in favour of a tiller. In fact the whole steering mechanism is new – the original quadrant replaced with levers which