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  Saturday, 17 February, 2001, 18:14 GMT
Golding in the doldrums
Mike Golding
Mike Golding: Happier when he's got a breeze
Mike Golding, currently lying eighth in the Vendee Globe race, is making painfully slow progress in light winds.

After 22,000 miles, the final 2,000 back to the finish in Les Sables D'Olonne are proving very frustrating for the British skipper.

His boat, Team Group 4, is stuck in the centre of a small depression at the top of the Azores High, leaving Golding averaging a speed of less than one knot.

The lack of wind is very dispiriting for Golding who, since re-starting more than eight days after the main fleet, has tried so hard to fight his way up the fleet and improve his current position.

Mike Golding
Golding is keen to finish the race
He is running low on all his stores and has very little fuel left, so that listening to the radio or making telephone calls to pass the time is not an option during the long hot days at sea.

Golding spoke to Vendee Globe race headquarters on Friday for the first time in several days.

"Because I'm lacking in so much fuel I am helming by hand a great deal, which can be exhausting at times," Golding told them.

"I still have water and can make a little if need be. Food is fine. Fuel isn't."

"As for the lack of cigarettes, well, you smoke twice as many in this race!" he added.

In 1991 he left his career in the fire service to become a professional yachtsman, when he was selected to skipper the 67ft steel yacht Group 4 in Sir Chay Blyth's British Steel Challenge.

He narrowly missed winning the race, finishing second, just 70 minutes behind the winner after 151 days racing.

The current weather situation Golding is experiencing is doubly frustrating.

Catherine Chabaud, ahead of him, and another Briton Josh Hall, hot on his heels, have had stronger winds and have been sailing faster.

Ellen MacArthur in the Vendee Globe race

Home-coming heroine

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16 Feb 01 | Vendee Globe
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