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
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
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
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
"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?
Membership of the Royal Southern Yacht Club by
Commodore Karen Henderson-Williams.
Photo: Graham Nixon
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.