New boats bolt for it

Barcelona World Race front runners extend

Wednesday January 5th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Image above courtesy of Expedition Navigation Systems

Positions at 0330 GMT

Pos Crew Boat Lat Long Spd Crs VMG Dist DTF DTL
          1 hr aver   24 hours      
1 Jean Pierre Dick - Loick Peyron VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 34 08.44' N 10 17.71' W 9.8 202 7.4 178 23853.5 0
2 Michel Desjoyeaux - Francois Gabart FONCIA 34 48.63' N 9 50.58' W 8.5 209 6.3 150.1 23899.5 46
3 Dominique Wavre - Michele Paret MIRABAUD 35 16.91' N 8 50.42' W 7.8 293 4.9 118 23948.2 94.7
4 Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team 35 47.72' N 8 58.71' W 6.3 296 3.9 94 23971.6 118.1
5 Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier NEUTROGENA FORMULA NORUEGA 35 34.77' N 6 46.23' W 8.8 266 2.6 62.9 24018.6 165.1
6 Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS 35 45.41' N 6 50.82' W 10.9 279 2.8 66.1 24025.1 171.6
7 Jean le Cam - Bruno Garcia PRESIDENT 35 39.21' N 6 14.66' W 9.1 232 3.9 92.8 24037.5 184
8 Iker Martinez - Xabi Fernandez MAPFRE 35 43.10' N 6 14.70' W 11 246 4.4 106.4 24040.6 187.1
9 Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane GROUPE BEL 35 59.87' N 6 34.69' W 11.6 283 3.6 85.8 24044.4 191
10 Jaume Mumbru - Cali Sanmarti WE ARE WATER 36 11.43' N 5 06.72' W 5.3 244 3 71.2 24100.3 246.8
11 Gerard Marin - Ludovic Aglaor FORUM MARITIM CATALA 36 01.55' N 4 35.78' W 0.9 44 2.2 53.8 24120.7 267.2
12 Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris RENAULT Z.E 36 03.12' N 4 33.39' W 1.2 48 2.1 51.4 24122.9 269.4
13 Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA 36 02.61' N 4 29.70' W 1.4 71 2.5 59.7 24125.7 272.3
14 Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn HUGO BOSS 35 59.67' N 4 02.73' W 3.7 194 2 49 24147 293.5

Well the table above pretty much sums up the state of affairs in the Barcelona World Race - those out into the Atlantic are averaging around 8-10 knots while the five remaining boats that have yet to pass Gibraltar are at a virtual standstill. Desperately Hugo Boss and the promising duo Pachi Rivero and Antonio Piris on Renault ZE have covered just 50 miles in the last 24 hours. Further up the fleet, despite making progress now, fifth and sixth placed Neutrogena and Gaes have faired little better covering just over 60 miles since the same sched yesterday - that's a VMG of less than 3 knots for 24 hours. At the latest sched tailender Hugo Boss still has 75 miles to go before she passes into the Atlantic.

Meanwhile at the front of the fleet - and pardon us for using that familiar expression - the richer have been getting decidedly richer. Yesterday second and third placed Foncia and Estrella Damm trailed leader Virbac Paprec 3 by 18 and 34 miles respectively. 24 hours on and Foncia is 46 miles from first while the well seasoned duo Dominique Wavre and Michele Paret on Mirabaud are now up to third and 94 miles off the money.

Interestingly the top four boats all seem to be taking a different approach to their early tactics in the Atlantic. At the one extreme Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron on the race leader have headed south whereas Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes on Estrella Damm lost third place yesterday as they put in a costly tack north (north?) in almost the opposite direction to the great circle, have since tacked back and are now on a heading of more or less due west.

For the boats out in the Atlantic, the defining weather feature is the depression currently thundering east across the North Atlantic. Over the last 24 hours the track of this has shifted slightly further north and as a result the boats are now having to tackle southwesterly headway, where under normal circumstances they would expect to be breaking into northeasterly Trades. 

We're not entirely certain of what Virbac-Paprec's plans are but it is possible we may seem them put in an unfavourable tack to the west at some point as the Canaries is not a place to be in the days hence - to the south of the depression, the high is developing and while there appears to be a little favourable pressure on the east side of this, the Canaries appears to be one big hole two days from now. On Estrella Damm Pella and Ribes meanwhile seem to have put all their eggs into the 'getting the westerly shift and tacking south' option with the aim of planting their red boat to the west of the Canaries where the forecast indicates slightly more breeze. So we can expect a slight reshuffle or an inward concertina-ing by the weekend.

There seems to be no reprieve for those at the back of the fleet. They will be faced with the choice of heading southwest on the direct route to the Canaries directly upwind, or heading due west...also into headwinds. Yuck.

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