Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tricky conditions in the South Atlantic

[Source: Barcelona World Race] The South Atlantic isn’t giving anything away to the two boats leading the Barcelona World Race fleet as they race towards the finishing line off Barcelona. Overnight, race leading Paprec-Virbac 2 nearly held its own and then this morning, it was able to grab back some miles from the chasing boat, Hugo Boss. But the tide has turned again and this afternoon Hugo Boss was the faster boat in pursuit.

The overall effect of this has been something close to a stalemate, with Hugo Boss able to grab just 13 miles over the last 24 hours. Unfortunately for the guys on Hugo Boss, at this stage of the journey around the world, they need to grab bigger chunks if they hope to overtake Paprec-Virbac 2 before the finishing line.

“We had a busy day yesterday, with pretty strong winds, averaging 30 knots, but gusting up to 50,” Hugo Boss co-skipper Andrew Cape said. “It’s going to be a bit slower going for us for the next 48 hours. Over five to six days, we hope we can cut their lead a bit more, but we’re in vastly different situations. Paprec-Virbac 2, I think, is ahead of the front that just passed us. If she manages to stay in front of that, she’ll have regular wind. We have a bunch of (weather) obstacles in our way, so we’ll just have to hope the situation plays out the way we hope.”

The contest behind is also getting closer as Mutua Madrileña has pulled within 200 miles of Temenos II, with both boats streaking towards Cape Horn in great sailing conditions. The pair are making good about 300 miles per day, with Temenos II expected to pass Cape Horn, now 436 miles away, overnight on Friday night / Saturday morning.

“We have 20 knots and it is going to shift to be downwind from tonight to about 15 knots. I think Temenos II will probably take some miles off us,” said Javier Sanso today from Mutua Madrileña. “From tomorrow morning there should be a good Northwesterly kicking in that will take us through to Cape Horn at about 15-16 knots, and then going up to the Falklands looks like being quite fast. We can’t complain! We will soon be up into a warmer area again.”

There is a bit further to go for Educación sin Fronteras who are still some 1600 miles from the famed Cape. But Servane Escoffier and Albert Bargués have had a good day, making nearly 300 miles in the past 24 hours. Albert is projecting they will be at Cape Horn within a week.

Although it is very difficult to project a finish date this far in advance, it appears as if the leading boat will be pulling in to Barcelona around the 8th of February, plus or minus a couple of days.

Day 68 – January 17, 14:00 GMT - Position report with distance to leader

1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 - Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL – 4994 to finish
2. HUGO BOSS - Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE – 581
3. TEMENOS II - Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 2332
4. MUTUA MADRILENA - Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO – 2521

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

In Quotes – Andrew Cape, Hugo Boss, describes the decision making process on board: “We both review the information that we get and we have to get a consensus. You can’t just dominate the tactics; we have to agree on what to do. You never want a situation where you end up saying ‘I told you so’, or something like that. But for us, it’s all working out fine, no problems at all.”



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