Hugo Boss Pushes For A Weekend Finish (Photo copywright Hugo Boss)

Hugo Boss Pushes For A Weekend Finish (Photo copywright Hugo Boss)

In the end it will be down to the vagaries of the Mediterranean weather, but the respective duos on Hugo Boss and on Forum Maritim Catala have different other reasons to be keen to be home across the Barcelona World Race finish line later this week.

Andy Meiklejohn has an expectant young son’s birthday Friday while Gerard Marin would like to be in for Saturday, returning from his first circumnavigation to give his girlfriend her traditional rose on St Jordi’s (Saint George’s Day).

Marin, from Girona, was wearing probably the biggest smile yet of his 108 days at sea – save perhaps the big grin that he wore for his Cape Horn rounding – today when he was linked with Barcelona. The combination of fast reaching towards home, making easy miles towards the target on the former Kingfisher, and knowing that by tomorrow night or Wednesday morning they should be back in the Med, are reasons enough to be happy especially after many tense, difficult days.

Speaking on this morning’s Visio-Conference he said:

“ These are great farewell times for our round the world race. The Med is very difficult to predict and forecast, so it could take up to four days from the Straits, but I think between Saturday night and Monday morning. I am not sure that I will be back in time for St Jordi’s day (Saint George’s Day) to give my girlfriend a rose.?

Forum Maritim Catala has made a further 100 miles on Hugo Boss over the 24 hours to mid morning today, and were 380 miles behind Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak this morning.

Hugo Boss were well into the stiff easterly Levante conditions by this morning, expecting up to 30knots with difficult seas which will require the Kiwi-Dutch pairing to take care of their boat before what looks like a relativey straightforward upwind passage to Barcelona.

This morning the duo had 605 miles to the finish – some 80 miles of upwind sailing to get to Tarifa – where they were expected to pass around midnight tonight. Both will enjoy the moment this morning knowing they have less than one Fastnet or one Sydney-Hobart to go, but a short sprint compared to their ultra-marathon. But the difficult conditions and heavy shipping traffic meant they could not join Barcelona for the visio-conference this morning.

Gerard Marin (ESP) Forum Maritim Catala:“We are happy, sailing on a beam reach at 15knots with 400 miles from the Straits of Gibraltar and we hope to get there tomorrow night. The wind is a bit more than forecast and there are some squalls coming in. We are sailing with the low pressure buyt once we get to the Straits we will get to headwinds, beating and it will be difficult to make more miles on Hugo Boss after that. At the moment we can catch a few more miles, but I think it is impossible to catch them. It is down to the meteorology now but I don’t think we can. It is just part of the game.

For me sailing back into the Med after the whole circumnavigation is very important. It is an important stage in my career as a sportsperson, but of course I have to finish it. But it will take a few days to discover how it really feels. It is a good thing for the future. And hopefully it will lead to other things in the future. The D4 and D3 diagonals have stretched a bit and are too long, so with the wind as it is just now with a reef and a genoa it does not affect us too much. We cant set the full main and usually we have to take in the reef two or three knots before we would usually do so.

These are great farewell times for our round the world race. The Med is very difficult to predict and forecast, so it could take up to four days from the Straits, but I think between Saturday night and Monday morning. I am not sure that I will be back in time for St Jordi’s day (Saint George’s Day) to give my girlfriend a rose.”

 

Photo copyright We Are Water

Photo copyright We Are Water

 

Virbac Paprec 3 Announces They Are In Ghost Mode (Photo by Virbac-Paprec 3 / Barcelona World Race)

Virbac Paprec 3 Announces They Are In Ghost Mode (Photo by Virbac-Paprec 3 / Barcelona World Race)

 Virbac-Paprec 3 in ‘ghost’ mode

 We Are Water prepare for the worst case scenario

 Renault Z.E. third into northern hemisphere
‘Let’s play!’ commented Loick Peyron and Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) from Virbac-Paprec 3 this morning as they entered ‘stealth’ mode at 1000hrs (UTC). Their position or rankings will not be visible for 36 hours, ensuring that their movements will remain hidden from view by the fleet and nearest rivals MAPFRE.

Tactically the forthcoming upwind section of Atlantic raises an interesting dilemma for the front-runners, and particularly for MAPFRE, 244 miles behind in this morning’s 0500hrs position report. The Azores High is expanding east-west across the north Atlantic, creating a large obstacle on the way to the Mediterranean. Whilst taking a westerly route looks like an unworkable tactic given the considerable extra mileage involved, the issue of when to tack east to avoid the centre of the anticyclone remains uncertain.

The GRIB files show stronger winds near the coast so by tacking early towards North Africa they will reach better pressure soonest, but will be sailing an unfavorable angle for longer. Carry on heading north as long as they dare and they will benefit from lifting pressure, but are at risk of getting trapped by the light winds at the centre of the high, while taking a ‘middle road’ between the two means avoiding the light winds in the lee of the Canary Islands. When to tack in, and when to tack back out? Timing will be everything, and by selecting stealth mode Virbac-Paprec 3 are hiding the clues for MAPFRE.

Estrella Damm (Photo by Estrellan Damm / Barcelona World Race)

Estrella Damm (Photo by Estrellan Damm / Barcelona World Race)

Battening the hatches

The situation is more serious on We Are Water. “The barometer has gone down to 956mb, we are preparing for the worst possible scenario,? emailed Jaume Mumbru (ESP) this morning, as he and Cali Sanmarti prepared to ride out what Barcelona World Race meteorologist Marcel van Triest predicted could be the worst Southern Ocean storm of the race due to a deep low pressure system.

The weather forecast for the area they are sailing in for the next 18 hours is severe: a south-westerly gale of 45-60 knots, gusting 75: a Force 12. In conjunction with the strong winds, huge seas are also predicted with a 9-12 metre swell. Heavy rain, squalls, and even snow are all likely as the winds are blowing directly from Antarctica, bringing bitingly cold dense air which makes the conditions all the more intense.

Jaume Mumbru reported from the boat around 1500hrs this afternoon that they were running away from the gale under storm jib only with zero mainsail, in around 55 knot (63mph or 101 km/h) winds. The pair were safely inside the boat, which was making around 11 knots in a north-easterly direction, and reported that although conditions were intensely cold, the wave pattern was better than anticipated with no confused cross-seas.

Battle for bronze

Just 118 miles divide the third to fifth-placed boats this afternoon as Renault Z.E., Estrella Damm and Neutrogena sweat it out in the Doldrums, where temperatures are soaring to over 30 degrees inside, making sleep during daytime almost impossible for some.

Renault Z.E. became the third boat to re-enter the northern hemisphere at 1445 (UTC) this afternoon, in what so far appears to be a relatively benign Doldrums crossing. Just 76 miles behind, Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes (ESP) remain solid in fourth, ahead of Ryan Breymaier (USA) and Boris Herrmann (GER) on Neutrogena. Ryan Breymaier explained today:

“There are position reports every six hours and I’m always looking on the map to see how many more miles we still have to cover, how fast, and when we’ll arrive. There are lots of things that can affect the rankings, the weather can change things quickly and as we saw from the start of the race the Mediterranean is not very easy for anyone to manage so we hope to be close to each other and still able to earn miles on them. But we don’t think too much about third place as I think with our damaged keel it’s going to be too difficult to get near enough.?

At 535 miles behind, Dee Caffari (GBR) and Anna Corbella (ESP) on GAES Centros Auditivos are also anticipating the light winds, as they require flat water to make laminating repairs to their leaking ballast tank. Instead they have experienced fluctuating and unpredictable breezes that Dee Caffari this morning described as a ‘practice Doldrums’, but are this afternoon once again making 10 knots.

Hugh Boss Sail (Photo by Hugo Boss / Barcelona World Race)

Hugh Boss Sail (Photo by Hugo Boss / Barcelona World Race)

Having exited yesterday’s brief but fierce low pressure system, Forum Maritim Catala and Hugo Boss are the fastest of the fleet over the past 24 hours, with just under 200 miles dividing the pair. With the depression having rapidly moved south-east, the race is now on for both to make sufficient ground north to avoid the chasing high and accompanying light winds. Forum Maritim Catala having gained over 80 miles on Hugo Boss over the past 24 hours, and the competition between the two is yet to be settled.

 

Standings at 1400hrs Wednesday 23rd March, 2011

1              VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 in ‘ghost’ mode

2              MAPFRE at 3066,6 miles from the finish

3              RENAULT Z.E at 887,5 from the MAPFRE

4              ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at 963,5 miles

5              NEUTROGENA at 1005 miles

6              GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at 1540,8 miles

7              HUGO BOSS at 3558,1 miles

8              FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 3749,4 miles

9              WE ARE WATER at 5462,2 miles

10            CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at 9371,2 miles

RTD         FONCIA

RTD         PRESIDENT

RTD         GROUPE BEL                                                                        

RTD         MIRABAUD

 

Quotes from today’s skippers:

Dee Caffari (GBR), GAES Centros Auditivos:
“It’s like a practice for the Doldrums that we’ve had. It’s a bit frustrating because we still can’t sail the boat at 100 per cent because we’re waiting to do the big repair, and yet we’re still really struggling with the conditions. But today’s been much better.

“I need to laminate some carbon over some damage in our ballast tanks that are structural to the boat. So we can’t sail the boat at 100 per cent because we’re upwind and we can’t afford the cracks to open up. But we can’t do the repair unless we’re in flat water to allow it to stick, so it’s a case of really looking after the boat.?

Ryan Breymaier (USA), Neutrogena:

“The Doldrums are going very well thus far, knock on wood. We have between 5 and 10 knots out of the breeze and it’s not stopped yet, so hopefully that continues.

“In these lighter conditions we’re not as compromised as we will be later on when there’s more wind and waves, so we’re pretty happy to be keeping up now and are differently worried about what’s going to happen when we get into the stronger upwind trade wind conditions a little later on. There is no real plan for it, the boat is the condition that it’s in and we do the best we can with what we have. At the moment that’s what we’re doing and that’s what we’re going to continue to do – you know you can’t change reality, and the reality is we are not capable to cant the keel to the maximum and that compromises our speed all the time, Boris and I have accepted that and we just get on with our day to day work.

“The sun is an issue every day. Right now in the cabin it’s 32 degrees and outside it’s probably 36, I don’t know – a lot! For me more than Boris I get burned very easily and I have factor 50 suncream at least every day and wear hats and that kind of stuff, so it’s a real problem for sure, especially in this area. I would’ve told you six weeks ago that the heat really bothered me a lot, but it was awfully cold down in the south for a long period of time! But all things considered though I would say the heat is worse than the cold though, and I think Boris agrees with me.?

Hugo Boss (Photo courtesy of Hugo Boss / Barcelona World Race)

Hugo Boss (Photo courtesy of Hugo Boss / Barcelona World Race)

 

After eighth placed Hugo Boss and ninth placed GAES Centros Auditivos round Cape Horn this Friday evening there will be just three of the Barcelona World Race fleet left in the Pacific, including Central Lechera Asturiana in Wellington where Juan Merediz and Fran Palacio await the repair of their broken mast.

Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak were expected to pass Cape Horn at around 2000hrs UTC this evening with the girls duo on GAES Centros Auditivos only around three hours behind them. Dutch co-skipper Verbraak, reporting to the Global Sports Forum’s live Barcelona World Race Visio-Conference today, confirmed that the duo have had a tough Pacific and were looking forward to the release of the ‘big left hand corner’ and the challenges and opportunities the Atlantic should bring them:

“It feels great for us to be getting there….I was only supposed to be going to the Cape Verdes, here I am at Cape Horn!? quipped Verbraak.

For both of them it will their third passage of the Cape of Storms. The complex pattern of multiple low pressure centres was giving them variable breezes, anything from 10 to 35 knots within minutes of each which was making it hard for the duo to find an ideal sail-plan.

Today’s prelude to their passage was the first time that either of the co-skippers have been contacted live on air since their exit from the Cook Strait because they have been very strictly rationing their energy use.

“The fuel situation is not that great.  We’ve had generator problems where a coolant part of the generator has stopped working. This happened well before New Zealand, and thanks to the support and creativity of our shore crew we have managed to find a solution using another part on the boat and plumbing that in, which wasn’t straightforward but we managed to do it. But that was a big bonus, and means we don’t have to stop for fuel, but we do have strict strict rations so unfortunately we haven’t been able to go into the videoconference, which is big shame but it’s good to be talking now.?

Caffari and Corbella look like they might be able to reap a reward for their prudent strategy across the Pacific, but like Hugo Boss they are expected to have little time for souvenirs and tourism. Indeed it was shaping up to be unfortunate timing for Caffari’s Spanish co-skipper Anna Corbella. She may be set to become the first Spanish woman ever to race round Cape Horn and add to her honours as the first Spanish female sailor to race the Atlantic solo – finishing 13th in the 2009 MiniTransat – but with 104 miles to the rock at 1600hrs UTC it was shaping up very much like the girls would pass into the Atlantic during the hours of darkness.

It will be a considerable triumph for Corbella who disliked sailing when she started at four on her parents’ small yacht. It was only when she started racing in the 420 that the bug bit and since then she moved through into an Olympic 470 programme which she progressed She helped prepare Jaume Mumbrú’s MiniTransat and then was leant his boat to compete on her own. Considering she only stepped on an IMOCA Open 60 for the first time just over one year ago, hers is an achievement to be proud of.

But time will not be waiting for either Hugo Boss nor GAES Centros Auditivos as a high pressure system is set to develop off the Argentine/Uruguay coast which would effectively force them out on to an easterly routing up the Atlantic. Their most recent routing suggests they need to get north and west as possible, perhaps set to be the first boats to route west of the Falklands and maybe even through the notorious Le Maire Straits which separate Cape Horn from Staten Island.

 

Standings at 1400hrs UTC Friday 11th March

1              VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 at 4462,5 miles  de l’arrivée

2              MAPFRE at 544,8 miles to the leader

3              RENAULT Z.E at 1308,2 miles

4              NEUTROGENA at 1706,6 miles

5              ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at 1790,5 miles

6              MIRABAUD at 1796,4 miles

7              GROUPE BEL at 2394,7 miles

8              HUGO BOSS at 2500 miles

9              GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at 2544,2 miles

10            FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 4588,3 miles

11            WE ARE WATER at 6732,5miles

12            CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at 7087,8 miles

ABN       FONCIA

ABN       PRESIDENT

 

Quotes

Iker Martinez (ESP) MAPFRE:“The big picture for last few days was very hard for us, we’ve been floating not sailing. We have gone too much west in the high pressure, and we couldn’t do anything else. We have had  to wait to hoist the spinnaker because we didn’t have this halyard and then we were too late. So we just try to manage the situation and now we’re happy because we’re sailing fast again. The leader is a little bit more far away, 500 miles, which is a lot but we’re moving so that’s good, and we’ll keep going.

On the video conferences: “It’s nice because you have a little contact with the world, and when we’re here sailing we almost don’t remember what’s going on outside. So we try to show a little to our family, and to know a little about what’s going on outside. It’s completely different compared to what happened for example in the Olympics where the press is pushing you were too much, and you just don’t want to deal with the press because you’re concentrating on your things, they’re pushing too much. Here it’s much nicer, it’s just a couple of minutes of enjoyment and I enjoy it quite a lot! I try to push Xabi to the videoconference but he doesn’t like it so much!?

Wouter Verbraak (NED) Hugo Boss:

“We’re pretty excited to have Cape Horn not so far away, but it’s not making things easier – we’ve had a lot of snow and hail storms through the night, and the wind really up and down. At the moment we only have 10 knots but some times in the squalls we have 35-40, so it’s pretty challenging times. It’s as if the Southern Ocean is desperate to show us it’s not over until we’ve really rounded Cape Horn.

“Cape Horn is a big milestone for this race, and obviously for Andy and myself it’s the third time so we know what it means to go around it. It influences a lot of more light airs and a warmer climate, so we’re excited to go into the Atlantic and make our way home.

“This next part, especially for the group ahead of us, there are some difficult weather situations for them to negotiate, whereas for us it looks pretty much downwind so we’re pretty happy with that. We’ve said all along, from the moment when we were in last place, this race isn’t over until we’re back in the Med and we’re still in contention, so we’re looking for any opportunity we can have and see who we can overtake.

“Andy and I myself are in good shape. One thing that has been really strong on our boat is that we’re a great team, we’re very balanced between ourselves and we have complementary skills that we learn from each other. And so we’re good in that sense, and I think that’s going to be a player in the way up the Atlantic.

[Fuel] “The fuel situation is not that great, so we’ve had generator problems where a coolant part of the generator has stopped working. This happened well before New Zealand, and thanks to the support and creativity of our shore crew we have managed to find a solution using another part on the boat and plumbing that in, which wasn’t straightforward but we managed to do it. But that was a big up, and means we don’t have to stop for fuel, but we do have strict strict rations so unfortunately we haven’t been able to go into the videoconference, which is big shame but it’s good to be talking now.

[Rounding Horn] “I was never meant to go past the Cape Verde islands! Normally there would be a bottle of strong liquor on the boat, but I think on this occasion there will be a lot of candy, maybe an extra delve into the supplies of chocolate!

“For us ever since New Zealand we’ve been bouncing into this low pressure system ahead of them, and as we all know the conditions just behind the low pressure system are not very ideal for sailing, so we’ll see what happens. We just crossed a line so we’re happy with that, and ahead there’s still some challenging times. It’s actually fun to have somebody to race against, and we’ll see when Groupe Bel comes out she’ll be another potential competitor that we’ll keep our eye on.?

Alex Pella (ESP) Estrella Damm:  “Yesterday we spent more of our time clearing kelp and seaweed from under the boat, it was stuck everywhere. We were unlucky because we had to go backwards. We are pretty happy now because we are going north and the waves are smaller and the weather is pretty good. We are going upwind in 15 knots, with small waves and pointing home. It is a tricky part of the course, because there is no clearly defined route, it is a bit unstable. We have a big front in two days and we need to see how we do with that, how we can work with that and what the others do. It is quite uncertain how it will go and there are many options, but for sure the race for us is wide open.”

0~0~2~Estrella Damm~BARCELONA TV~0~0~Copia de IMG_0755

Happy Valentines from Dee and Anna

Happy Valentines from Dee and Anna

Dee and Anna are spending what is considered to be the most romantic day of the year in one of the most remote and hostile places on the planet, the Southern Ocean. However, the all female duo onboard GAES Centros Auditivos are keen to hold true to the Valentines tradition of chasing boys as their pursuit of Andy Meiklejohn & Wouter Verbraak aboard Hugo Boss continues. Having relinquished eighth position to Hugo Boss late last week, the GAES girls have been battling hard to keep the gap between them to a minimum as they seek an opportunity to regain a position in the rankings.

As the fleet have dipped further into the Southern Hemisphere the perils of round the world racing became more apparent when two additional ice gates were introduced to the Barcelona World Race at the end of last month. The ice gate that marked the bottom of the South Atlantic was moved further north to keep the IMOCA Open 60’s away from the worst of the area of ice and another gate was added just to the east of South Africa. The boats are required to pass at least one point to the north of each gate and with the race taking place so late in the southern hemisphere summer it is likely that ice presence will continue to affect the course resulting in more of the gates moving further north. This in turn will increase the distance the boats have to travel making this a longer race than originally anticipated.

Dee and Anna are currently heading towards the south of Cape Leeuwin on the west coast of Australia. The duo’s latest video reveals the topsy turvy life they are experiencing ‘down under’.

Elsewhere in the race Virbac-Paprec 3 continues to lead the fleet with Mapfre second and Estrella Damm third in the Barcelona World Race. At the 0900hrs ranking today, Caffari and Corbella onboard GAES Centros Auditivos were in 9th place, 120 miles behind Andy Meiklejohn & Wouter Verbraak on Hugo Boss.

 

A View into the doghouse on Groupe Bel ( Photo courtesy of Barcelona World Race / Groupe Bel )

A View into the doghouse on Groupe Bel ( Photo courtesy of Barcelona World Race / Groupe Bel )

Who of those towards the back of the Barclelona World Race fleet would swap their unfortunate reality and certainty for the high stress and uncertainty which leaders Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron appeared to be facing over the next few days as they look set to deal with a difficult, active subtropical low pressure system?

Duos like Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak on Hugo Boss and Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella on GAES Centros Auditivos, who were all joined through this morning’s Barcelona World Race Visio-Conference, are trying to come to terms with the weather cards they have been dealt, initially: a hand offering at least two or three days of upwind sailing and surely more.

In contrast, with a lead of 589 miles this afternoon over second placed MAPFRE, Dick sounded slightly anxious this morning as he admitted they were still not clear on the timing of, or how they will deal with the muscular low pressure which is threatening them. 

He and co-skipper Peyron have been making optimal use of their time in slacker breezes, making just 12 knots this afternoon in light upwind conditions, by reviewing the weather files as they get them, preparing the boat, rig and equipment for the big blow and sleeping and eating as much as they can.

For those who are getting used to the idea that their domain will be slamming upwind at an angle for days to come rather than surfing downwind, there is more to deal with mentally than simply considering how their endurance and patience will be tested.

For sure there will be also now be some bigger gaps in the fleet developing and overall duration of their race is likely to be greater than anticipated.

Ryan Breymaierand Boris Herrmann expressed a certain satisfaction in having got back to within 44 or so miles of sixth placed Mirabaud yesterday but they are snared this afternoon in calms which have seen them making less than a two knots average, losing 28 miles this afternoon alone. And Caffari confirmed that their aggregate losses could accumulate to five or six hundred miles.

Under such circumstances the duos solidarity as a unit will be tested, as will their discipline and humour. Hugo Boss’ Wouter ‘The Router’ Verbraak joked this morning that they simply discard the forecasts they don’t like the look of and resort to another cup of tea, before getting on with the job to the best of their ability, while Caffari stated starkly and simply:

“It sucks”

Joined by video link with We Are Water’s Barcelona skipper Cali Sanmarti who celebrated his 42nd birthday today, Anna Corbella warned her friend Cali, both former Mini class skippers, not to start ‘robbing the food bags’ a mistake which, when all the treats are used up too early, can make the final stage of the circumnavigation especially tedious.

From second placed MAPFRE Iker Martinez compared previous life in these latitudes on the fully crewed Volvo Ocean Race with the different kind of stress and tiredness, racing as a duo for the first time on an IMOCA Open 60, which they seem to have adapted to well.

“ These boats anyway are designed for downwind, so they are rather uncomfortable, in fact to speak now I am wedged on the floor, it is uncomfortable and even dangerous. The Volvo is intense but over shorter periods. But the IMOCA can be slower and more difficult over short periods – during manoeuvres. We have no heating on board, a choice which seemed nice but we decided not to because of the fuel we would have needed. The way we sail is very different to the Volvo. The Volvo is a bit like being in the army with 10 guys. This is totally different with just the two of us, we sleep little but in the Volvo we sleep for longer periods. Here is it is 30 minutes, an hour maybe two.”Explained Martinez today.

Meantime Président’s Jean Le Cam continues to follow the Barcelona World Race closely, speaking out in complete support of the ice-gates:

“ Combined with the complicated weather patterns in this part of the world which are going to complicate things for the competitors adding a touch of spice to the race, that is why I would like to say well done to the race director….”Le Cam commented.

VIrbac Paprec 3  (Photo  by Yann Zedda)

VIrbac Paprec 3 (Photo by Yann Zedda)

Rankings on Monday 31 January at 1400hrs UTC

1              VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 at 16 868,8 miles to finish

2              MAPFRE at 589 miles to the leader

3              ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at 706,3 miles

4              GROUPE BEL at 727 miles

5              RENAULT Z.E at 874,5 miles

6              MIRABAUD at 1232,8 miles

7              NEUTROGENA at 1321,9 miles

8              GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at 1555,5 miles

9              HUGO BOSS at 1931,8 miles

10            CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at 2016,7 miles

11            WE ARE WATER at 2026,7 miles

12            FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 2141,3 miles

ABN         FONCIA

ABN         PRESIDENT

Quotes

Alex Pella (ESP) Estrella Damm:“ We are now sailing on starboard with little wind, about 8 knots from SW, heading 80 and doing 9-10 knots of boat speed. We spent the night with the genoa and with almost no wind. We believe that everyone in the group will be affected by this calm, but MAPFRE seems to have more wind up North so let’s see if it does not escape too far. Wind is heading and it seems we’ll sail upwind for a good while.
It is sunny; we have about 13 degrees and lots of birds around. We have just seen a whale.

Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes (Photo courtesy of Estrella Damm / Barcelona World Race )

Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes (Photo courtesy of Estrella Damm / Barcelona World Race )

The review of the first month is very positive. We are in the fight. We had very good moments. The Mediterranean went very well, we just had some bad luck after leaving it. The descent of the Azores high was very successful and the doldrums went perfect. When the two boats ahead stopped in Recife we became first.

Then in the descent of the Atlantic we were not good, we made mistakes and we were stopped with a bit of bad luck and the fleet came on us. We took the brunt of the fleet in this option.
Now after passing Agulhas we are fine but the places have been compressed. The boats are very engaged. We hope MAPFRE does not escape.”
“ In one month we have tried to minimize wear of the boat and ours: we are trying to stick with the watches and eat properly, we look after each other, the boat does not have any serious problems, only broke a wind wand and replaced it and the hydros are not charging much as we would like but they are all little things so for now everything is fine.
I think we understood very well the race: It seems there is much ahead, maybe more than two months, and we are sailing calmer trying to ensure the material. We believe it is likely that there are more abandons and we will try to be among the boats to arrive to Barcelona.”
“ The worst moment was the passage of Santa Helena High, when we missed the front and the fleet came upon us. It was a difficult time for the moral, but it is past now.
And the best moments were undoubtedly passing through the Doldrums and getting first. On a personal level is now one of the best times to be in the Deep South for the first time. We’re feeling very comfortable and I am loving it to sail here. It will be much longer than I thought because the ice gates have been moved far to the north and we’ll pass through many transitions, which will make the race much slower”

Dee Caffari (GBR) GAES Centros Auditivos:“Let’s put a reality check on this! We are in the Southern Ocean going upwind, it is just ridiculous. Burt we can’ stay miserable and we have to try remain positive because we have got like three days of this, and it would actually be easier to stop in South Africa and have a party and then go again when the weather is nice, so we really are looking for positives from this.

But it sucks, I went the other way around the world and went upwind, now I am going this way and am upwind. Everyone promised it should be downwind. Something is seriously wrong. This not what we signed up for in the brochure for the Barcelona World Race.”

Andy Meiklejohn (NZL) and Wouter Verbraak (NED), Hugo Boss: “ The weather model this morning I have thrown in the rubbish bin. Oeverur philosophy in this race is that the glass is always half full, so when we get a bad weather model like this we just say that it never happened. We go have a cup of tea and hope it goes away.

We need that kind of inspiration, those are great stories when you are a young fellow and that is what heroes are made out of, that what shows a lot of character. Mike showed a lot of character starting a week behind everybody having broken his mast, and came through and set a fast time. That is the kind of spirit we are trying to keep going. We have had some set backs, but we are just keeping on looking forward to the race continuing, us doing our jobs as best we can, and we will try and pull some places back.

We promised Dee that we were coming to catch her two weeks ago, now we are going to make sure we keep that promise.” 

Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac-Paprec 3:“Just now we will have calms then some wind today but on February 1st we will see quite a lot of wind. The conditions this morning are a little better than yesterday evening but it is a bit alarming because there is a lot of wind coming from the north. We have two objectives, to try and pass the Crozet gate and to then try and get down to the next gate without too much wind and seas which are not too extreme.

We are spending a lot of time and energy trying to understand what will come down to us. It is a big depression coming down from Madagascar which comes with a warm tropical air which is mixed with the cold air. It looks malicious. We are trying to rest as much as possible and prepare the boat and gear for this big wind.

Whatever, it is a sort of stress because we don’t know what will happen and we need to make somemanoeuvresin the big weather that will be stressful. The boats are really pushed in these conditions and at times like that we are’ sailing on eggs’. The Indian is quite wild and these are unstable winds and very active fronts. I hope that it all goes well.

Compared to what we have been through (down here) before it is a bit different. We are more in the north, at 42 degrees, and the depressions we get will be strong with wild conditions.  I believe the Indian Ocean is more challenging with very young depressions, with very aggressive with northerly winds or very strong from the south.”

Tomorrow’s LIVE VISIO CONFERENCE (1000hrs UTC on wwww.barcelonaworldrace.org) with the fleet will include guest Mike Golding (GBR), Dominique Wavre on Mirabaud, Dee Caffari on GAES Centros Auditivos, Central LecheraAsturiana,Estrella Damm

Neutrogena (Photo courtesy of Barcelona World Race / Neutrogena)

Neutrogena (Photo courtesy of Barcelona World Race / Neutrogena)