Leaders out of the woods

Virbac Paprec 3 and Foncia into building trades in the Barcelona World Race

Friday January 7th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Image above courtesy of Expedition Navigation Systems and PredictWind

Positions at 0830 

Pos Crew Boat Lat Long Spd Crs Spd2 DTF DTL
          1 hour av   24 hours    
                   
1 Jean Pierre Dick - Loick Peyron VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 30 36.37' N 17 52.74' W 9.5 220 209.9 23524 0
2 Michel Desjoyeaux - Francois Gabart FONCIA 30 48.26' N 17 32.90' W 8.4 210 222.5 23539 15.7
3 Dominique Wavre - Michele Paret MIRABAUD 31 19.58' N 16 04.47' W 6.6 213 218.7 23590 66.3
4 Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team 31 33.99' N 16 47.76' W 10.9 251 230.7 23594 70.1
5 Jean le Cam - Bruno Garcia PRESIDENT 31 54.46' N 15 14.26' W 11 227 244.7 23636 112.2
6 Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier NEUTROGENA FORMULA NORUEGA 32 26.98' N 15 41.02' W 10.1 205 221.6 23660 136.4
7 Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane GROUPE BEL 32 26.45' N 15 35.82' W 10.4 208 234.6 23661 137.2
8 Iker Martinez - Xabi Fernandez MAPFRE 32 37.61' N 15 58.25' W 11.7 205 210.9 23666 142.4
9 Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS 32 53.64' N 15 56.72' W 11.8 184 200.7 23682 158.1
10 Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris RENAULT Z.E 33 46.48' N 12 48.63' W 10.1 197 196.6 23783 258.8
11 Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA 33 51.03' N 11 56.51' W 9.6 205 164.1 23803 279.3
12 Jaume Mumbru - Cali Sanmarti WE ARE WATER 34 18.04' N 12 50.09' W 8.8 202 160.4 23812 287.9
13 Gerard Marin - Ludovic Aglaor FORUM MARITIM CATALA 34 03.21' N 12 00.65' W 11.2 184 173.6 23813 289.4
14 Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn HUGO BOSS 34 45.72' N 11 02.91' W 10.9 199 170.5 23871 346.9

While all the Barcelona World Race fleet were heading west yesterday, this morning they are all bearing south and life is as it should be, for the time being at least, with all 14 boats now on the correct heading.

The lead duo of Virbac Paprec 3 and Foncia both tacked at around 1200-1300 yesterday, followed around an hour later by the third and fourth placed boats Mirabaud and Estrella Damm. The impressively close five boats behind them - President, Neutrogena, Groupe Bel, Mapfre and Gaes - holding fifth fifth to ninth places, tacked south by 1700. Renault ZE, We Are Water and Forum Maritim Catala followed at around 2300, with the southerly placed Central Lechera Asturiana and Hugo Boss at 0200 this morning.

The leaders early yesterday evening shaved the west coast of Madeira while the rest of the fleet looks set to leave it to starboard.

Next up has been attempting to find the best way through the west-east orientated ridge lying between Madeira and the Canaries. This in the process of transforming itself into a more circular area of high pressure with some circulation. Thus at present the GRIB files are showing a relatively narrow corridor of favourable but light northeasterlies, with now areas of calm currently due north of the Canaries - hence why the boats are currently attempting to put some west in their heading. This is born out in the table above which has Mirabaud, closest to this area, making 6.6 knots compared to Estrella Damm, 40 miles to their northwest, making 10.9 and soon to claim third off the Swiss boat.

Already Virbac and Foncia are past the eastern extremity of the high and have seen the wind veer into the northeast, although it remains light, but the lead duo are now finally out of the woods and conditions will only improve for them as the trade winds properly fill in. The boats behind, particularly the backmarkers who had to tack south while further to the east, will find themselves heading for the light area to the north of the Canaries and will have a more sticky passage to edge past the high. This looks set to be compounded by the high also shifting south over the next 24 hours - by tomorrow morning for example the shift into the north will come just to the north of the Canaries.

For the next 48 hours at least, the concertina will be expanding once again.

 

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