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'Flying Squid' on Mike Golding's menu - Royal Southern YC Fitting Out Supper

Flying Squid weren't actually included on the Royal Southern's Fitting Out Supper menu on Saturday night, but they played an amusing role in Mike Golding's after dinner presentation! 

Those guests fortunate enough to have booked their tickets in good time for the sell-out Supper hosted by the Commodore Karen Henderson-Williams, were treated to an evening commencing with a Joseph Perrier Champagne reception, fine wines, a superb dinner, special awards for special people and the stuff of legends in the form of yachtsman, Mike Golding OBE.

A packed dining room thoroughly enjoyed Mike Golding's Fitting Out Supper presentation. 
Photo: Chris Gillingham

The fact that it was April 1st wasn't overlooked by Golding in a fabulously inspirational and insightful presentation about his favourite offshore solo race, the Vendée Globe, which included a photograph of him holding a 'flying squid'. Not just any old squid, and not a flying fish, but a flying squid.

He informed the rapt audience that they came at him in droves, squirting indelible ink all over his pristine white sails. 'It just wouldn't come out', he chuckled. Brilliant.

In recognising Club tradition, the Commodore's partner presents the awards at the Fitting Out Supper.

Prior to Mike's presentation, the room of 179 members applauded the winners of the Cruising Log/Blog, Debera and Mark Clark and their dog, for Debera's account of their travels through the Ionian & Aegean Islands and the extraordinary Corinth Canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland.

Front: Geoff and Val Lucas with
David Henderson-Williams.  Photo: Chris Gillingham

The Frank Heenan Award goes to Helena Lucas MBE
The Frank Heenan Award for outstanding contribution to short-handed and/or disabled sailing was bestowed upon one of the Club's Honorary Members, Helena Lucas MBE, whose incredible talent and determined spirit has taken her from 470 sailing to Paralympic Gold in the 2.4mR.

Most recently, Helena won bronze in the 2.4mR class at the Rio 2016 Paralympics making her the most successful British sailing Paralympian.

The third place finish also marked the second successive time Lucas has medalled at the Paralympic Games, after her gold medal at the London 2012 Games four years ago.
As she is away skiing her proud parents, Val and Geoff Lucas were present and honoured to pick up this award on Helena's behalf.

And so to Mike Golding and the infamous Vendée Globe.
In between exciting video clips Mike, a former fireman and of the few yachtsmen to have raced round the world non-stop in both directions, regaled the room with snippets about his life on board during his four Vendée Globe races and the 2006 Velux 5 Oceans when he diverted to rescue fellow Brit Alex Thomson whose keel fell off... but he didn't want to dwell on that given how well Alex did in his most recent Vendée epic! That drew major applause.

In spite of suffering many a blow in his own racing history with keel failure, broken masts etc, in 2012-2013's edition he completed the race 'an extraordinary experience', and came a very respectable fourth with his trusty steed, the Open 60 Gamesa.

Mike on board the Open 60 Gamesa. Photo: Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images

Why is the Vendée Globe so special to Mike and why is the passion for this race so fervent, especially in France?
Mike explained: "Well, the start is from a small and totally unassuming fishing village, Les Sables d'Olonne, for this most famous and challenging non-stop solo round the world yacht race. It isn't called the 'Everest of the seas' for nothing! It is a monumental feat of achievement but also people love the simplicity of the story.

"All the boats are Open 60s. The skippers are all passionate about solo offshore racing, they are just 'ordinary' people. Over 2.5 million visitors walk the docks in Les Sables before the start. They touch the boats, feel the rigging and speak to the skippers, whether they know them or not. They're buying into how the human interest stories will unfold.

Mike Golding OBE is presented with Honorary
Membership of the Royal Southern Yacht Club by
Commodore Karen Henderson-Williams.
Photo: Graham Nixon
"I never ever get more than one hour's sleep at a time during the Vendée Globe and in fact the average sleep period was measured at 17 mins. We take lots of little sleeps. Over 24 hours I should get 5-6 hours in. When you hit the Southern Ocean you have to keep the boat going fast. There are large waves and fast seas for 17,000 miles! It is relentless but mostly in a good way. I always relish the continual challenge and you only really fall out of that cycle of being in control when something goes wrong."

So what's next for Mike?
He has plans, but didn't reveal much other than to say that he is interested in managing projects for other people. "All in all, I probably prefer sailing fully crewed than solo but it's much cheaper on your own and so you can pay yourself more!"

In her vote of thanks, Commodore Karen Henderson-Williams emphasised Mike's string of achievements, awards and accolades and asked Mike and his wife Andrea to accept Honorary Membership of the Royal Southern in recognition.  Mike graciously accepted and was presented with the Club's burgee.

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Our Commodore Karen Henderson-Williams was recently interviewed by Sasha Twining on BBC Radio Solent's H20 slot.
Karen was asked about her childhood and how she got into sailing with her parents, how she progressed from dinghies into keel boats and about her role in helping to develop youth sailing at the Club. She explained her current role as well as her stewardship of the Royal Southern as only the second lady Commodore in the Club's 179 year history. Karen also discussed her aims and objectives for the Club going forward. It's a great listen, and we hope you enjoy it.

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Royal Southern Yacht Club is a trading name of Royal Southern Yacht Club Ltd Registered in England Reg: 05372495