220 miles to go
For Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella the remaining 220 miles to Barcelona are all that stand in their way before both chalk up another record in their respective careers and the second edition of the Barcelona World Race.
When Dee Caffari arrives in Barcelona this will be the fourth time she has successfully sailed around the globe – twice against the prevailing winds and currents, twice solo, three times non-stop, and once doublehanded – the only female sailor to have done so. Meanwhile for Anna Corbella, the local homecoming reception is expected to be especially welcoming, as she will become the first Spanish woman to have ever sailed around the world non-stop.
For GAES Centros Auditivos, currently around 25 miles off Alicante, it looks like a relatively strong northerly and north-westerly Mediterranean outflow will create upwind conditions for the last section of their race between Cartagena and Barcelona. With an easterly Levant breeze in the Alboran Sea, and northwesterly Tramontana breeze from the Gulf of Lyons, things could get very light for the sixth-placed duo as they cross the Gulf of Valencia around the latitude of Ibiza, although they may be able to pick up some extra breeze from the Ebro valley, as Neutrogena did, to reach along the coastline. Given the localised conditions, their ETA could yet vary from Tuesday evening through to mid-Wednesday.
Elsewhere across the fleet, the motivation to get home remains no less strong. One place behind in seventh, Hugo Boss is sailing in lifting northeasterly breezes, which as Wouter Verbraak explained earlier today, they are happy to continue in until they reach the layline for Gibraltar: “It’s okay to have the breeze go right now, but in a day and a half when we get close to the layline, when we have to tack to go to Gibraltar, then we want the wind to go left. The weather models indicate that that’s going to be the case, and the good thing is that it’s still not too bumpy, it’s getting a little bit more bumpy but it’s not too bad.
With Hugo Boss currently some 1,700 miles from the finish, both skippers have their own reasons to wish for a speedy return – Andy Meiklejohn spoke of how his pregnant wife will look rather different to when he left Barcelona three months ago, and he also has a deadline of getting back in time for his son’s birthday, while mountain-sports lover Wouter Verbraak is hoping to get back before the snow melts: “You know we’re actually quite worried because we realise that after 10 days at sea, when we come home there’s quite a bit to-do list waiting for us with lots of jobs, so we’ve realized that we’re going to have been away for 110 days so the to-do list is going to be quite long, so we’re quite worried at the moment! We are mostly trying to get some sleep and get rested because we know once we get home that there will be a hectic schedule waiting for us!
“It’s the end of the skiing season and I’m desperate to get in the last bit of the season because right before I left I got a brand new pair of skis and I haven’t been able to use them all winter. So I’m looking forward to testing them on the slopes when I get back.”
“A little fellow by the name of Zac has his birthday [on Good Friday], that’s Andy’s little fella, and so we’re really racing harder than ever to get home in time for my skiing and his son’s birthday.”
600 miles behind, Forum Maritim Catala are just passing the Cape Verde islands, while ninth placed We Are Water remain within 100 miles off the South American shore, awaiting more solid upwind conditions, but in good spirits as Jaume Mumbru recounted:“We’re moving forward. We know that after all the excitement in the south, and everything that’s happened, everything is different now – we’re trying to get into a good tempo because once we get into the high it’s going to be upwind. Nothing much is going to happen then. So we’re kind of in a transition, enjoying the temperature, enjoying all the good weather before it gets too warm and we start thinking about how good it was in the South!”Andy Meiklejohn (NZL):“I probably didn’t have too much weight to lose – we were quite trim athletes on Hugo Boss so not much to lose there!”