Foncia and Virbac Paprec 3 reach Barcelona
At a little after 1000 on an uncharacteristically damp and cold Barcelona morning, the cargo ship Olivia offloaded her precious cargo, the two IMOCA Open 60s Foncia and Virbac Paprec 3, on schedule without a hitch.
This morning’s arrival of Jean-Pierre Dick's and Michel Desjoyeaux’s respective boats directly from Martinique by ship brings the complement of IMOCA Open 60s to seven already in Barcelona ready for the start of the Barcelona World Race.
Virbac-Paprec 3 and Foncia’s arrival, after 10 days being shipped across the Atlantic from the finish of the Route du Rhum, saw them transferred immediately to the FNOB’s offshore sailing base where the shore teams will now work to a tight deadline to be ready for the two pairs of co-skippers - Dick and Loïck Peyron and Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabbart - to be sailing as soon as possible.
“We have a few little modifications to do, nothing very big, just little changes to make,” summarised Foncia’s Boat Captain Marc Liardet today. “But our key objective now is to have the boat sailing so that Michel and Francois can go sailing as soon as possible.”
Foncia’s objective is to be ready to go sailing by 10 December
Virbac-Paprec 3’s project manager Romain Ménard said they are in a similar position: “There is no big refit considering the lack of time we have. Everything is fine. We will do some ultrasound inspections and we will change some sails because they have done quite a lot of miles, we change some of the standing rigging.”
Of the electrical problem which compromised some of Dick’s Route du Rhum Ménard confirmed: “We identified that there was a leak which was letting water into the battery box: water and electrical stuff is not good! What we have identified is that we need to keep it dry. We are not going to change the system at all. We sailed the boat from New Zealand for eight weeks to France. We were very happy with the system so there is no reason to change everything now. We won’t waste the work we have done or the advantages it gives.
“For sure the Route du Rhum has been a very good training session for the Barcelona World Race, it was very important for us to do it as we prepare our title defence, for the battery for one thing, and also getting two weeks solid offshore is invaluable where you can improve.”
Dick, who won the first edition of the Barcelona World Race and recently finished fourth in the Route du Rhum, went straight from the finish in Guadeloupe to enjoy some recovery time prior to the start of the round the world race. The Barcelona Race race champion’s choice of holiday break? Seemingly he can’t keep away from the water and had been cruising in the Caribbean.