Monday, December 10, 2007

Barcelona World Race fleet powers ahead

[Source: Barcelona World Race] The exertion of pushing an Open 60 through the Southern Ocean is becoming clear as the race leaders battle through near 40-knot winds and towering seas. Paprec-Virbac 2, with a lead of some 100 miles, has been pushing the boat hard, en-route to a 472-mile day. It’s a fierce pace, but skipper Jean-Pierre Dick insists they’re managing the boat well, and not pressing too hard.

“We’ve had very strong winds, 40 knots, high seas, clouds, very dense, black clouds, it is really very impressive,” he said on the afternoon video conference. “We are trying to make sure that everything is under control and in a few hours we hope to be out of this because it really is quite hard on the boat.”

They can’t let up, because behind them, Veolia Environnement is pushing nearly as hard with a 443-mile day. “We’re still in the depression with 25 to 35 knots,” said skipper Roland Jourdain. “We are trying to limit our speed. It’s easy to get going too fast – say 24 or 25 knots. That’s when we back off in order to manage the boat as well as possible...there is always someone on deck to take a reef in or ease the sheet.”

Where the race leaders are sailing it is cold, windy and relentless. Hugo Boss, for example, is reporting sea water temperatures of 4-degrees, which is when ice becomes a possibility. But to this point, none of the boats have reported problems with icebergs or growlers.

Further back boats like Temenos II and Mutua Madrileña face a different set of problems. The different weather circumstances are most starkly illustrated by the mileage made in the past 24 hours by these two, compared to the race leaders; Temenos II has made 299, and Mutua Madrileña 267. So despite heroic efforts, they’re dropping significant miles to the top pack.

“We started sailing upwind yesterday afternoon at around 18:00 and since then we have been close-hauled at 11 knots with winds of between 25 and 34 knots - now we are using the starboard water ballast and the leeward rudder, the keel at 100% to windward the mast at 55 degrees, two reefs and the solent jib,” wrote Mutua Madrileña skipper Javier Sansó in an email to race headquarters this morning.

“We have to go down to 45 south to find downwind conditions again because further north there are only attacking easterlies. And all the while the boat is slamming around so much it could shake the fillings from your teeth. I don’t know if you can imagine what a southerly wind in this part of the planet really means; the Southerly comes straight from the Antarctic; the outside air temperature is 9 degrees and the water 12, which rains down like piercing needles on our faces. The option of becoming a shepherd and having my little herd of sheep under the olive trees is becoming stronger by the day.”

Meanwhile, PRB is drawing closer to making landfall at Cape Town. The French team is out of the race, as it will not be able to effect repairs in time to continue. Behind them, Estrella Damm is also heading to Cape Town – with an ETA of Wednesday evening – where its shore team is preparing to make repairs in an effort to get the boat back onto the race course as quickly as possible.

Day 30 – December 10, 16:00 GMT – Position report with distance to leader

1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 - Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL – 0
3. HUGO BOSS - Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE - 197
4. DELTA DORE - Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET - 409
5. TEMENOS 2 - Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 819
6. MUTUA MADRILENA - Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO - 1194
7. PRB - Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE – 1203
8. ESTRELLA DAMM - Guillermo ALTADILL / Jonathan MCKEE - 1430

In Quotes – Dominique Wavre, Temenos II: “The sea is choppy, tough on the boats and we are slamming our way through it. It bangs around terribly. The new wind is cold, and any gybe or change to the sail is done under torrents of freezing water, which soaks us from head to toe. We have to quickly change of clothing afterwards or the cold is just too much to bear…There is only one way out for Temenos II and so we have to take it full on, against the waves. Ahead of us the guys will continue to move forward with good wind from behind which is what we have just missed out on.”



Post a Comment

<< Home