Introducing the 'Ice Wall'

Nico Martinez / Barcelona World Race
Race Director Jacques Caraës explains the latest developments for the Barcelona World Race
Crowds are gathering by Barcelona harbour, close to the Catalonian capital’s famous Christopher Columbus monument, ready for tomorrow’s start of the third Barcelona World Race. This doublehanded non-stop race around the world gets underway at 1300 local time with eight IMOCA 60s taking part. Unlike its singlehanded equivalent, the Vendée Globe, the Barcelona World Race sets off from the Mediterranean and begins with a passage along the south coast of Spain to the Strait of Gibraltar. The shortest distance for this section is 530 miles. Earlier this week the forecast indicated that the start would be held in light winds, but it is now looking substantially more lively with the GRIBs indicating 20 knot northerlies for start time, propelling the boats off down the course at speed. This is until they come to a grinding halt in the Alboran Sea on New Year’s Day morning, the wind only appearing to fill in again from the east once they close on Gibraltar. From there it is south down the Atlantic, an eastbound lap of the Southern Ocean, leaving the three 'Great Capes' - Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn - to port, before returning north up the Atlantic and the final hard yards in the Mediterranean back to Barcelona. However this time there are two significant differences to the course. Unlike the first two Barcelona World Races, this time it is no longer mandatory to pass through Cook Strait - between New Zealand’s North and South Islands. According Jacques Caraës, who heads the BWR’s new race management team alongside Guillaume Evrard and Hubert Lemonnier, removing Cook Strait was a decision of the race organisers. While before it was a media opportunity, providing an opportunity to see the boats and crews close up half way into the race, passing so close to land it was tempting