Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sadness for ocean racing friends

It's been a sad as well as an angry day for me.

I've been following Dee Caffari's blog about her experiences on Aviva in the Vendee Globe Race. Dee is currently in the Southern Ocean, and I hope, safe tonight.

However some of her fellow competitors have fallen victim to the heavy loads Southern Ocean sailing can put on even the best built modern racing yacht.

Mike Golding's yacht 'Ecover' has been dismasted, and Bernard Stamm's 'Cheminees Poujoulat' went onto rocks while trying to moor up in the Kerguelen Islands where he had gone to make other repairs. Another competitor, Dominique Wavre was helping him, having also gone into the Kerguelens for repair to 'Temenos'.

Mike Golding and Bernard Stamm became known to me in 2006/2007 when I was working for Clipper Ventures as a watchkeeper for the Velux 5 Oceans race. I spoke to them on satellite phone and exchanged emails with them on a daily basis.

Mike Golding also went out of that race with a dismasting, hours after going to the aid of another unfortunate competitor, Alex Thomson when his boat Hugo Boss lost its keel. Bernard was the eventual winner of that race, and was leading the Vendee Globe.

Mike is still out there in the Southern Ocean, working on a jury rig and making plans to head northeast for somewhere in Western Australia.

I'm asking the Goddess, to look after them all tonight.