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Day 85 A Long Beat to Barcelona
- MAPFRE returned from ghost mode
- Virbac-Paprec 3 at Gibraltar 1st April
- Boatbuilding time for Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella
- Central Lechera Asturiana preparing in Wellington
Second placed MAPFRE emerged from ghost mode this afternoon
having made a net gain of some 33 miles on Barcelona World Race
leaders Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron.
The French duo are still very much in a controlling position on
what promises to be a long windward leg to the Straits of Gibraltar,
but it is the Azores high pressure which is still dictating terms to
the leaders, forcing them east and on the wind.
As they approach the Canary Islands from the west, even
Virbac-Paprec 3’s Loïck Peyron sounded slightly wearied today,
hardly inspired by the prospect of six more days at least of
windward sailing in moderate breezes, but the duo will be content to
have their Spanish adversaries back ‘in vision’ this afternoon.
And while Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez may have gained a few
miles as the leaders flirted closer to the centre of the prevailing
anticyclone, slowed in lighter breezes, now it will be their turn to
stretch slightly as they sail east, theoretically into more wind
Peyron would not be drawn on their best estimate for Gibraltar,
but it looks likely for early on 1st April. With just
under 1600 miles to go and a VMG of under eight knots, the final
days will be a test of patience as much as skill, guile and boat
MAPFRE was making east or a parallel track to Virbac-Paprec 3
this afternoon, taking each wind shift or extra pressure that they
could, making at least two or three short tacks over the course of
today as they step north then east, their raw boat speed slightly
down on Virbac-Paprec 3 sailing in slightly lighter NE’ly trade
For firm friends, adversaries and Barcelona sparring partners on
Farr sister-ships Renault Z.E Sailing Team and Estrella Damm, third
and fourth respectively, there was the novelty today of being linked
together duplex by Visio-Conference with Barcelona and Race HQ.
Cheeky banter was inevitable between Pepe Ribes and Toño Piris,
Ribes ribbing Talpi when he got the chance, but clearly the two
teams enjoy particular bragging rights between each other having
prepared alongside each other from the Barcelona competition base,
and not least in completing the New York-Barcelona record in April
last year, but Piris reaffirmed again their concerns about the speed
potential of Estrella Damm.
And in turn Ribes is also still concerned about the fact that
Neutrogena have doggedly held pace with Estrella Damm:
“Twice we have put sixty miles on them and twice they have
come back at us. They have an ability to sail a higher angle which
we can’t seem to. We are starting to sail in a faster upwind mode
and they sail slower but a higher angle. Their way to sail is
different from ours, we can’t sail their way because we can’t make
those angles with the same speed they are doing. If we cannot
control them at their speed and angle then we are forced to do a
different thing.”Explained Ribes of their duel with fifth
placed Neutrogena whoe were still less than 20 miles behind Estrella
Damm this afternoon.
Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella appear to be making modest progress
again after a slowed spell this morning and early afternoon which
suggested they could be making their composite repair to their mid
bow stringer and forward ballast tank. Thanks to extensive
preparation work undertaken by Caffari to make the area completely
ready the repair was forecast to take three to four hours according
to GAES Centros Auditivos’ boat captain Joff Brown.
FMC had 370 miles to go to Cape Horn this afternoon and from
Wellington news is still awaited of the outcome of the sea trials of
Central Lechera Asturiana.
Due to the change to summer times as of Sunday 27th MAR rankings
are now published at 4hUTC/5hBST/6hEurope; 9hUTC/10hBST 11hEurope;
Standings of Saturday 26th March at 1400hrs
VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 1599.3 miles to finish
MAPFRE + 211.4 miles to leader
RENAULT Z.E at + 1094 miles to leader
ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at + 1248.7 miles to leader
NEUTROGENA at + 1265 miles to leader
CENTROS AUDITIVOS at + 1769 miles to leader
BOSS at + 3496 miles to leader
MARITIM CATALA at + 3855 miles to leader
ARE WATER at 5620 miles to leader
CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at + 9951 miles to leader
Loïck Peyron (FRA) Virbac-Paprec 3:“Yes,
for sure we start to count down the days, especially now as the days
seem longer as we slow down now rather than accelerate towards the
end. The least you could say is we are not going very quickly
towards the finish. We are upwind since we got out of those hard,
long Doldrums and the breeze has been mostly quite weak and even now
it is not too strong and always on the nose. All that makes it feel
a long way still to Gibraltar, and I cant even talk about what comes
after that. But I guess that sailors for thousands of years have
known that upwind is not fun! I have few good memories of beating,
even with modern boats! I was telling Jean-Pierre some old stories
about how sailors used to take months to do what we now do in a few
days. It is not that interesting to shave the rocks of the Canaries.
I know the area rather too well. When I was 19 in 1979 I went a
little too close for comfort, shaving the rocks and grounded, so I
know the area a little too well and it is 30 years or more that I
have been passing here.
But we will see the land for sure and be able to admire the
high outline from a distance, because the peaks are quite high
I am looking forward to the normal things, seeing my wife and
my children, and what I like it a nice, fresh green salad with olive
oil. We have not looked at our ETA in Barcelona as there is
something called the Mediterranean in between us and the finish, and
at the moment we have few accurate timings to get to Gibraltar.
From the information we have on MAPFRE it seems they will do
roughly the same mileage as us in ghost mode, but they might be a
little more favored by the anticyclone to our left which should move
away a little, a bit more favorable for them.
And in theory we do what we can to protect our position from
them, but nothing is ever certain.
Antonio Piris (ESP) Renault Z.E Sailing Team:
“We are upwind in 15 knots of breeze and it is a pleasure,
especially compared to a few weeks ago, this is solid gold. We are
not thinking about the challenge ahead, only thinking about Estrella
Damm they are very fast and will be fighting and struggling to the
The worst experience I had in this race was when I
underestimated the load on a rope when I was closing a clutch and
there was a lot of tension on it, and it was about to seriously hurt
me, that is the time I saw the ears of the devil, but nothing really
happened. It was a bad moment because if I had been seriously
injured it would have been the end of the race for us.
Ghost mode is worth using only if we are very close and in a
meteorological situation which merits it, if it could offer a
different option, then it would be worth using, but it is not worth
We have a fight, a battle and it will be a great finale to
the race, exciting and stressful until we see the W Hotel at the
finish. This is much more preferable than to be many miles apart,
this is a race to the end.
Pepe Ribes (ESP) Estrella Damm:
“ We have not seen the transom of Renault, the binoculars are
not that powerful, but they have to have to keep watching in their
rear view mirror.
Today we are really into the trade winds. Yesterday they were
hard to get into, but now they are well established with 15 knots
and on deck it is great, it is a joy to be on deck.
Upwind always the boats suffer a little bit because they are
loaded more, the sails, rig, keel and so on. At the moment it is OK
at 15 knots but at 25 knots it is different with much more load so
then you have to be careful with the material.
We are expecting the conditions to improve and that should
allow us to get closer to Renault Z.E. We still have beer on board,
we have some celebrations left so we keep it until Barcelona. We
have plenty of food left for an extra week.
The first time I sailed a boat, I don’t remember but maybe in
the Optimist at seven, but I was on a boat with my parents at three
or four years old.
Sometimes you are a bit fearful of not having full control of
the boat, if you don’t have full control then it can be a bit
The race has so many different faces and I have enjoyed them
all, it is very hard and tough. I have liked all the oceans. This is
not finished yet. The temperature is getting warmer and I like it
very much, but in the Indian with the waves and the low temperatures
I liked it, it was nice.
I don’t know which bit I have liked the most.
We have had good food, good dehydrated food. I am sure that
when we get back once we have good meat and some rice maybe we will
realise what we have missed, but at the moment it is all good, we
have some desserts left too.”
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