Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Barcelona World Race: Hugo Boss tears into Paprec-Vibac 2

[Source: Barcelona World Race] Hugo Boss has put on a remarkable performance over the last 24 hours, taking advantage of difficult conditions that are slowing the race leader Paprec-Virbac 2. Over the past day, second-place Hugo Boss has taken a full 179 miles out of the 800 mile lead Paprec-Virbac had painstakingly built over the first two months of the race.

“We had a great night with really favorable conditions, perfect for the boat, and up over 20 knots for quite a while. I think we averaged 18 knots for the night,” Hugo Boss co-skipper Andrew Cape told us. “It helps a lot when you’re going 120 miles in one night, that’s for sure.”

There doesn’t appear to be anything Paprec_Virbac 2 skipper Jean-Pierre Dick can do about the situation as the enormous Saint Helena high pressure system is much further west than one would normally expect and it is acting like a roadblock in front of the race leader.

“It’s very unfortunate but we are in different conditions than Hugo Boss. We are sailing upwind and tacking while they have been in strong downwind conditions which is bringing them up fast to us,” acknowledged Jean-Pierre. “We have the conditions we have and we are trying to do the best we can, but that is the nature of offshore sailing.”

While they’ve made a remarkable gain over the past 36 hours or so, it won’t be entirely smooth sailing for the chasing Hugo Boss in the coming days, as Andrew Cape says the forecast is for a deep low pressure to engulf them over the next day or so, which could bring winds as high as 50 knots.

“We’ve got a big issue with a depression coming off the coast of Argentina, so we’re probably looking at 50 knots at some point tomorrow. A bit nasty, but all in all we should make good progress all the way to the Brazilian coast so we’re hoping over the next couple of days to still close it up further,” Capey said.

While the chasing boat has the advantage at the front of the fleet, it’s the opposite situation in the Southern Ocean where Temenos II watched Mutua Madrileña pull to within 100 miles at one point a few days ago, before the Swiss boat began to stretch away again. Over the past 24 hours, Temenos II has added 97 miles and now leads the battle for third place by nearly 300 miles as the pair approach Cape Horn, now just over three days of sailing away.

Both boats are sailing in big Southern Ocean conditions, with Temenos II skipper Dominique Wavre reporting winds of up to 45 knots overnight; Mutua Madrileña’s Javier ‘Bubi’ Sansó had similar conditions, along with a problem with the mainsail to deal with yesterday when they found and repaired a tear in the sail. The repair to hours to effect – see quote below – and slowed the team down for several hours.

Trailing the fleet, Educación sin Fronteras continues its cautious approach to this second phase of the Southern Ocean. Skippers Albert Bargués and Servane Escoffier are sailing a full five-degrees of latitude to the north of the boats they are chasing, as they ensure they avoid the ice zone along with the potentially devastating winds of the Furious Fifties. As a consequence, they made good 211 miles yesterday.

Day 66 – January 15, 14:00 GMT - Position report with distance to leader

1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 - Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL – 5465 to finish
2. HUGO BOSS - Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE – 614
3. TEMENOS II - Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 2426
4. MUTUA MADRILENA - Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO – 2716

Abandoned - ESTRELLA DAMM - Guillermo ALTADILL / Jonathan MCKEE
Abandoned - DELTA DORE - Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET
Abandoned - PRB - Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE



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