Photo: Manuel Medir / Barcelona World Race

Barcelona World Race - one month to go

Half the doublehanded round the world fleet is already in Barcelona

Wednesday December 1st 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

Just 30 days remain until the start of the Barcelona World Race on 31 December.
Already seven boats are in Barcelona where today teams that are ready enjoyed a perfect sailing day.

The seven boats already in Barcelona are:

Estrella Damm / Alex Pella (ESP), Pepe Ribes (ESP),
Renault /ex W Hotels,Toño Piris (ESP)Pachi Rivero (ESP),
GAES Centros Auditivos/Dee Caffari (GBR), Anna Corbella (ESP),
We Are Water/ex 2000 Cheminées Poujoulat/Armor Lux, Jaume Mumbrú (ESP), Cali Sanmartí (ESP)
Forum Maritim Catala /ex Kingfisher/Educacion Sins Fronteras (Ludovic Aglaor (FRA)/Gerard Marin (ESP),
Virbac-Paprec 3 /Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Loïck Peyron (FRA)
Foncia /Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), François Gabart (FRA).

Among those taking advantage of the perfect sunshine and 20 knots sailing breezes included Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella taking GAES Centros Auditivos through its paces with a TV crew from UK TV channel ITV Meridian.

Some of the Barcelona based crews will also sail tomorrow weather permitting for TV helicopter filming.

Pepe Ribes and Alex Pella are well set, eagerly awaiting the time when they can line up against the latest generation designs – especially Miched Desjoyeaux's new Foncia and Jean-Pierre Dick's Virbac-Paprec 3: “We really want to start and sail with them, because they are the best," says Ribes. "In fact all our rivals are very strong.” .

During their build-up to the start the Estrella Damm skippers of have sailed over 32,000 miles together (more than the course of the Barcelona World Race) updating and improving the boat to stay competitive with the latest boats.

Many other teams are making best use of the present weather window to deliver their boats to Barcelona from the west of France, elsewhere in Spain and Portugual. Due to leave from this evening from their La Rochelle base with their recently refitted Owen Clarke designed Mirabaud are Dominique Wavre (SUI) and Michèle Paret (FRA). This Swiss-French partnership finished third the last Barcelona World Race.

Alex Thomson (GBR) and Andy Meiklejohn (NZL) left Gosport, England on Tuesday morning on their Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed Hugo Boss while the Spanish duo Juan Merediz and Fran Palacio bid farewell to Sanxenxo in Galicia also yesterday, bound for Barcelona aboard Central Lechera Asturiana (formerly Mutua Madrileña/Ecover 2).

Thomson and Meiklejohn have reported fast downwind sailing conditions in NE’lies since they left Gosport, sailing away from the cold, snowy weather in Northern Europe.

After a rapid dash Tuesday afternoon from his home in Barcelona - where he works full time as a heart surgeon to Port-la-Forêt in Brittany, Bruno Garcia (ESP), the Barcelona World Race’s only bona fide ‘amateur’ co-skipper joined up with his renowned French race partner Jean Le Cam on Président (ex Ecover 3). The duo slipped their lines at 2300hrs Tuesday night bound directly for Barcelona.

Ryan Breymaier (USA) and Boris Hermann (GER) are also due to leave the Concarneau base of Roland Jourdain’s Team Kairos with Neutrogena Norwegian Formula for their delivery to the start.

At their base in Sanxenxo, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez have been completing their final stability and structural security testing and measurement with their Farr designed IMOCA Open 60 (ex-Foncia) before the double Olympic 49er medallists set off for Barcelona.

And closest to Barcelona, where both teams have the comparative luxury of short delivery miles, Kito de Pavant and Sebastien Audigane’s VPLP/Verdier-designed Groupe Bel is due in Barcelona around 15-16th December from Port Camargue. After Kito had to abandon his Route du Rhum due to problems with the keel canting system, final work is being completed there. In fact De Pavant reports this was a system which was already scheduled to be updated and changed during this period.

Some 60 miles to the south west of Barcelona, in Tarragona, the Barcelona World Race first and only Polish skipper Kris Ozcwareck along with Armand Coursodon (FRA) are also completing final work on Fruit, the evergreen Finot-Conq design which must rank as the race’s most successful round the world performer. As PRB the IMOCA Open 60 won two Vendée Globes in 2000 and 2004 before finishing fourth with Sam Davies in 2008-9. She is now about to embark on her fourth circumnavigation.

2010-2011 Barcelona World Race, Entries:

Central Lechera Asturiana : Juan Merediz (ESP) – Fran Palacio (ESP)
Estrella Damm : Alex Pella (ESP) – Pepe Ribes (ESP)
Foncia : Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) – François Gabart (FRA)
Fòrum Marítim Català : Gerard Marín (ESP) – Ludovic Aglaor (FRA)
Fruit : Kris Owczarek (POL) – Armand Coursodon (FRA)
GAES Centros Auditivos : Dee Caffari (GBR) – Anna Corbella (ESP)
Groupe Bel : Kito De Pavant (FRA) – Sébastien Audigane (FRA)
Hugo Boss : Alex Thomson * (GBR) – Andrew Meiklejohn (NZL).
Mirabaud : Dominique Wavre* (SUI) – Michèle Paret* (FRA)
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula : Boris Herrmann (GER) – Ryan Breymaier (USA)
Président : Jean Le Cam (FRA) – Bruno García (ESP)
Renault : Pachi Rivero(ESP) – Antonio Piris (ESP)
Virbac-Paprec 3 : Jean-Pierre Dick* (FRA) – Loïck Peyron (FRA)
We are Water : Jaume Mumbrú (ESP) – Cali Sanmartí (ESP) Iker Martínez (ESP) – Xabi Fernández(ESP)

* denotes skippers who participated in the previous edition of the Barcelona World Race

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