Thursday, January 03, 2008

Barcelona World Race: Paprec-Virbac leads as she sails out of iceberg "minefield"

[Source: Barcelona World Race] There is good news from the pit lane in Wellington where Temenos II had stopped to assess the damage to their keel. This was a problem that skipper Dominique Wavre feared could put his boat out of the Barcelona World Race, but on Wednesday night, word came that the experts had looked at the keel and pronounced it ready to go.

In a statement, the team said: “The (damaged area) was sanded and then examined with magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound by the keel constructor. This examination didn't reveal any damage or any serious cracks. The metal is rusted but the corrosion remains superficial. As a result there is no deep attack on the metal. They have already begun the repair.”

It’s the best possible result for Dominique and co-skipper Michèle Paret, who said, “It's a very great relief for us. We are really very happy to be able to continue the race.”

Mutua Madrileña faces rough weather on the approach to the pit stop. Wellington, 2 January 2008. Photo copyright Chris Cameron

And Temenos II will be able to re-join the race with its third place position more or less intact as on Wednesday evening, fourth-placed Mutua Madrileña announced it would make a ‘tactical stop’ to resolve some issues and tune-up their boat ahead of the second Southern Ocean leg.

“It has all been decided at the last moment that finally we have to make a stop; we have too many little things to fix,” said skipper Javier Sansó this morning on the video conference just after pulling alongside the dock in Wellington. “This stop is strategic, as our mission is to finish the race well in good condition. It was a hard decision to make because we are in a good position now…”

Meanwhile, out on the race course, Paprec-Virbac 2 has finally escaped from the ‘minefield’ of ice it had been racing through for the past several days. The team reported sighting nine icebergs before passing through the ice safety gate overnight. Today, the race leaders are further north and in warmer, presumably iceberg-free waters.

“For a while it certainly felt like sailing through a minefield,” said co-skipper Damian Foxall today. “We just dealt with it by being as observant as we could. Sailing in very manageable sailing conditions, with fairly clear skies and flat water makes it easy to see things coming. There was one period with fog but that was a couple of days ago. I don't think you become blasé but once you see one, it's easy to the see the next one, but we're pretty happy to be north at the moment.”

Behind them Hugo Boss remains much further north as both boats position themselves to take up the next big Southern Ocean depression which they should be able to ride much of the way to Cape Horn. Over the past 24 hours, Hugo Boss has sailed faster than the leader, but gained just 10 miles as their northerly route entails sailing a greater distance to get to Cape Horn.

So again, the star over the past day has been Educación sin Fronteras, who have gained nearly 60 miles on the leaders. And with both Temenos II and Mutua Madrileña at the dock in Wellington, Educación sin Fronteras can expect to be back in the thick of things when they approach Cook Strait in the next 36 hours.

Mutua Madrileña faces rough weather on the approach to the pit stop. Wellington, 2 January 2008. Photo copyright Chris Cameron

Day 54 – January 3, 14:00 GMT - Position report with distance to leader

1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 - Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL - 0
2. HUGO BOSS - Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE - 836
3. TEMENOS II - Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 2419
4. MUTUA MADRILENA - Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO - 2419

Abandoned - DELTA DORE - Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET
Abandoned - PRB - Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE

In Quotes – Damian Foxall - Paprec-Virbac 2: “The upside of the conditions we've been sailing is that we've had a really good chance to look after ourselves and the boat. We've repaired a lot of stuff and got the boat back to 100% almost as if we'd had a pit-stop. We're happy to confront what comes next.”



Post a Comment

<< Home