"MIRABAUD" Monohull IMOCA 60, skipper Dominique Wavre (SUi) co-skipper Michèle Paret (FRA).(Photo ©Th.Martinez/Sea&Co)

Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret arrived in Le Havre this afternoon and besides a few remaining minor preparations, they are race ready.

Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret arrived in Le Havre this afternoon after a three day delivery.

The skipper of Mirabaud was on top form: “Everything went smoothly. We encountered a full range of conditions during the trip and were able to push the boat to its maximum. It coped very well and we are feeling good ten days from the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

Dominique and Michèle left La Rochelle on Tuesday morning and beat upwind in rough conditions to Ushant before easing the sheets and rocketing downwind to Le Havre. The breeze dropped out towards the end of the trip which also gave them a chance to test their light air sails. “We arrived in Le Havre in bright, warm sunshine, it was very pleasant!  described Dominique.

The Transat Jacques Vabre starts at 13:02 on the 30 October in Le Havre and 35 racing yachts – including 13 IMOCAs – will cross the line and race for Puerto Limon in Costa Rica where they are expected to arrive two weeks later.

 

Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret have been sailing with their new mast for a month now and they are very happy with it. “We have been sailing at 100% of our polars, meaning that we are sailing at the theoretical maximum speed for the conditions. It is a very good sign. On the other hand, we are clearly lacking practice when it comes to our manoeuvres because the whole deck layout has changed. I hope there won’t be too much need for manoeuvring at the start!

With 10 days remaining until the start signal, Dominique and Michèle’s days will be busy, but only with tying up loose ends. Preparations are well in hand and the skipper plans for a calm approach to the start of the race.

Anna Corbella Celebrates Entering The Mediterranean (Photo by Dee Caffari / DCR2)

Anna Corbella Celebrates Entering The Mediterranean (Photo by Dee Caffari / DCR2)

Currently sixth in the rankings, record breaking British yachtswoman Dee Caffari  and her Spanish co-skipper Anna Corbella are the only all female crew taking part in the race and will each establish two world records when they complete the race. Dee will become the only female sailor to have sailed non-stop around the world more times than any other in history. Anna Corbella will become the first Spanish woman to circumnavigate the globe non-stop.  

Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella were about 25 miles off Cartagena this morning in light conditions making just 4-5 kts, with 294 miles to make to the finish line.

GAES Approaching Gibraltar (Photo by K. Morgan / Full Emotions)

GAES Approaching Gibraltar (Photo by K. Morgan / Full Emotions)

It was Jean Pierre Dick, double winner of the Barcelona World Race, who said in the Mediterranean that Barcelona needs to be earned, and after their downwind approach thorugh Gibraltar and the Alboran, Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella are having a final reminder of JP’s belief. As if they needed it after 101 days racing. But the GAES Chicas have had another transition of light winds to go through and are now in light upwind conditions with 294 miles to go to the finish at 0300hrs this morning UTC. So depending on wind, still a late Tuesday, maybe Wednesday finish for Dee and Anna.

“My arms are certainly telling me so too. We knew the Mediterranean would make uswork for the final few miles and we were not wrong.” Dee Caffari writes this morning, “The first transition has been dealt with and fortunately we were only becalmed for a couple of hours. We are now sailing upwind in flat water.The mileage is ticking by but quite slowly now we are having to tack to make our course. I think in the last twenty four hours we have done more manouevres than in the whole of the Southern Ocean.”

Hugo Boss are level with Madeira and will be contemplating when they tack across. They are making 11.5kts.
Forum Maritim Catala are 360 miles SWW of the Cabo Verde Islands upwind in 15-16 kts trade winds, while We Are Water are still a bit compromised in terms of northwards progress as they are beating up the Brasilian coast only 150-180 miles off.

Ryan Breymaier and Boris Herrmann Take 5th on Neutrogena

Ryan Breymaier and Boris Herrmann Take 5th on Neutrogena

Ryan Breymaier (USA) and Boris Herrmann (GER) crossed the finish line of the Barcelona World Race at 1513hrs (UTC)to take fifth place on a perfect spring Sunday afternoon.

In Brittany, the epicentre of solo and short handed ocean racing which is their adopted home area, they had only moved in similar circles but had never even met before they were brought together only last year, united to pursue a dream they both shared. Their first meeting, like a bizarre blind date, was over dinner in Concarneau’s Verriere bar, 30 minutes from where Herrmann lived.

Today the pre-race poster boys not only fulfil that dream in a placing which achieves their pre-race target, but the execution of their entire 25,200-mile course has earned them widespread and considerable acclaim for a maturity which belies the fact that this Barcelona World Race is their first IMOCA Open 60 ocean race together. They did not let crucial damage to a hydraulic ram keel control affect their philosophy, even though it knocked 20-25% off their maximum performance since before Cape Horn.

Docked in the late afternoon sunshine at the foot of the iconic Columbus monument before a large international crowd Ryan Breymaier said: “The goal of this was to get around the world non-stop, especially this being our first time, and not being the newest boat in the fleet, the goal was never that we were going to win, we were just out to do the best that we possibly could, and make our sponsors proud, to make our friends and family proud, and that is the overriding thing: to have done this race to the highest level we were capable of doing it at, not to have left anything on the field of battle, so to speak. And to just know that when we stand here in Barcelona that we did the best we could, that everyone else who knows us knew that we did the best we could. We have never given up, yes it is difficult, we started going upwind for 19 days, from the Equator and when you are missing the last 25% of your keel, it is like having a 50 foot boat against a 60 foot boat. We just did the best we could. That is the only philosophy you can have: 1: make sure you finish, 2 do the best that you can.?

Only the third team to finish this edition of the race without stopping, Herrmann becomes the first German sailor ever to complete a non-stop racing circumnavigation and to finish an IMOCA Open 60 race, whilst Breymaier – a late adopter to sailing who only started sailing seriously at college in 1993 – is the first American to finish the Barcelona World Race.

Among the highlights of a race which they often made look effortless has been close boat-for-boat duels. First with the event’s most experienced duo Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret on Mirabaud, who they tussled with from the descent of the South Atlantic to the threshold of the Pacific, when Neutrogena finally eased away from the Swiss-French couple, and then a match race up the Atlantic with Estrella Damm which only finally escaped just north of the Cape Verde Islands to earn fourth place, finishing yesterday morning.

Herrmann: “For me, remembering especially the very long match race in the Indian ocean with Mirabaud remains the essence of this race for us. Every update the distances changed a bit for either them or us, I remember one moment when we could just see them, maybe four miles away. Both boats with very reduced sails, going very fast in rough seas. And we said, ‘Ok, now we’ve caught them we can take a reef and we would still be faster.’ We were then taking a reef and still doing 33 knots, the fastest moment of the race was just then.

“The next position report they had run away 10 miles, that was a very intense time of the race.?

To the west of Cape Horn, some days after Breymaier revealed that they had leaked oil from a keel ram, their pace slowed slightly but it was only when they passed Cape Horn, speaking by video simultaneously to Race HQ and to their team in Concarneau, Brittany, that Herrmann confirmed that they had a damaged keel ram which would progressively compromise their performance. In the end that was a major contributing factor when Estrella Damm finally broke away to set up a fast reaching return to Gibraltar, while Neutrogena was left slogging upwind, close to the rhumb line.

Their repair skills were tested rebuilding the autopilot hydraulics, the hydrogenerators, a costly 90 minutes odyssey to the lee of Isla Nueva at the entrance to the Beagle Channel to fix a Solent headstay fitting which cost them miles, and a major repair to a water ballast pipe.

One of their most memorable moments for sure will be when a key sail tumbled off the deck when they broached. Their rapid, seemingly forlorn search, in the tumultuous waters was suddenly successful when they spotted a number of albatross resting on the semi-waterlogged, bagged sail.

It is the German co-skipper’s second round-the-world race, after winning the two handed Portimao Global Ocean Race in 2009, which is a with-stops race in 40-foot Class 40’s.

Despite having no past history as a partnership before their preparation started with the 2004-launched Marc Lombard-designed IMOCA Open 60 – which was previously the Route du Rhum winning, (and second in the Vendée Globe until losing its keel) Veolia of Roland Jourdain – Herrmann and Breymaier have gelled as a very strong team which took early cognisance of their respective strengths, weaknesses and different characters. Herrmann lived with Breymaier and his wife Nicola in the lead-in months.

Their complementary skills have been the bedrock of their success, but the duo have also developed a strong rapport, a working relationship which has taken account of their different strengths. Breymaier knows every centimetre of the boat and rig, while Herrmann, a former 49er and 505 high performance dinghy racer who graduated through the Mini Class to the Class 40, brought the circumnavigation experience. Both proved, from Day 1, that they had the skills to sail the boat consistently fast.

Breymaier, who moved to Europe six years ago to pursue his dream, worked as a preparateur and rig specialist with Jourdain’s team. In fact in 2007 he prepared the red IMOCA Open 60 for the French skipper’s attack with Jean Luc Nélias on the first Barcelona World Race, as well subsequently for the Vendée Globe in 2008-9.

Ironically this will be the boat’s first fully completed circumnavigation after retirements from two successive solo Vendée Globe races. The pair completed the theoretical course of 25,200 miles at an average of 10.49 knots, actually sailing 27,850 miles at an average speed of 11.59 knots, arriving 6 days, 4 hours, 53 minutes and 25 seconds after race winners Virbac-Paprec 3.

Their race has been underpinned by rock solid consistency, very strong, assured weather strategies in each ocean – they will be one of the few teams who will be almost entirely happy with their weather choices – and a youthful endurance which allowed them to hold pace, or be faster, than many newer generation boats. Even so theirs has been a big learning curve, the fruits of which Herrmann hopes to take forwards to the solo Vendée Globe.

Ryan Breymaier and Boris Herrmann crossed the finish line to complete their Barcelona World Race at 15:13:25hrs UTC (17:13:25hrs local) on Sunday April 10th in fifth place. Their elapsed time for the course was 100 days, 3 hours, 13 minutes and 25 seconds, an average speed for the course of 10.49kts for the 25,200 miles theoretical course. They sailed an actual course of 27,850 miles, at an average 11.59 knots.

The Race of Neutrogena

The race:

• January 3rd Mid-fleet through Med, then briefly to third as they head south to Morocco. But..

• January 4thStruggle to get out of Gibraltar Straits. Finally exit in 5th, alongside GAES.

Boris Herrmann (GER) January 4th: “It’s been the worst of our lives! We have this challenge in the Gibraltar Straits with incoming current and trying to sail against it with not enough wind, so we can make some metres sideways but it is impossible to get against the current. In fact in 24 hours we have not moved no metres west. It’s frustrating, disappointing. It is tough. We still make the odd joke, but at the moment if there is no wind coming we could stay here forever and that’s frightening.?

On expectations at the outset:

Ryan Breymaier (USA) January 6th: “In summary our first week, the beginning of the week was great, the middle absolutely terrible and now we are just pushing as hard as we can to try and stay ahead of the three boats who are just behind us.

“I would say that as far as our expectations go we are capable of doing well. We did well in the Mediterranean and now we are sort of where we expected to be in general.?

Ryan Breymaier (USA) January 8th: “We try to be pushing at 110 % all the time. We make sure we have the biggest sails we can have up all the time, always have someone on deck all the time and pushing. […] once we get to reaching conditions we can relax a little. But when you are alongside another boat next to you its impossible not to push. We are definitely happiest pushing.?

“I think Bilou’s Vendée Globe proved the boat is pretty competitive against the newer boats and we never lay back and wait. It is a testament to the original design and the work we have done to the boat.?

•January 8th Pass Canaries in eighth. Up to 6th/7th for much of Atlantic.

• January 22nd On the battle with Renault Z.E.:(Renault Z.E.and Neutrogena closely matched after fleet regroups in S.Atlantic, with just 0.1 of a knot splitting the pair over the past 24 hours.)

Boris Herrmann (GER), January 22:“Every position update we try to get in front of them. It’s not easy, they have this Farr-designed boat which works well in these conditions and we have to be really perfectly trimmed to keep up with their speed or to be a little bit faster.?

• January 28th Renault have got away, Neutrogena chasing Mirabaud – approx 70 miles behind going into 1st ice gate for battle that will last across the Southen Oceans.

On the partnership:

Ryan Breymaier (USA) February 2nd: “We sail together well as a team and living together on the boat is quite easy. We take our turns with pretty much everything and it is going quite well.

“When we are not doing well I have a tendency to get very, very frustrated and that creates a shitty atmosphere on board and we are working on that a bit. I have a tendency to get overly worked up about things. I try myself harder to keep myself calm and that helps a lot for sure.?

Recovering sail from it going overboard:

Boris Herrmann (GER) February 5th:“ The boat wiped out and in this whole episode we lost one sail over the side. We were sailing with the small kite and one reef in the main and so it takes quite a while to take sock the kite.

Once we had done that we looked at each other and said do we really do this because we had at least one and a half miles to go back and it was big waves, and gusts and everything. We did not expect to find it, so we said ‘lets try’ and we turned and on the trace on the navigation programme we could find the point where we wiped out, we went to the position with a couple of tacks, going upwind with very small sails.

From there we went downwind very slowly. And all of a sudden I could see a few albatross and they were sitting on our sails.

I think we have something going on with the albatross. Each time we make a stupid mistake it seems like there is one near the boat.

First of all it was quite stressful but in fact finding the sail and then managing to get it back on deck in these big waves was a miracle.?

On a consistent, regular battle with Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret on Mirabaud which ran from Jan 23rd when they were 1.5 miles through the Indian Ocean together, compressing and expanding, until Neutrogena gets ahead on 17th February, south of Australia, with just 500 miles of the Indian Ocean left.

Ryan Breymaier (USA) February 13:“It is a good game. This little rubber band effect happens when there is a difference in breeze. They get ahead or we catch up, we are not sure if Dominique has the magic touch and just gets away into the breeze or we just make little errors.It is nice to have a boat to sail against.

 “We have had of communication by e-mail, it is subtle, it is like Dom needs to shave and is snoring right now, and we say ‘yes Boris is snoring right now as well’.

“It keeps me motivated for sure, but my mood changes from day to day for sure, based in whether we are 100 miles away from them or 30 miles away I am a completely different person.?

• February 17th Neutrogena pass Mirabaud to move into 6th, just south of Hobart.

Boris Herrmann (GER), February 17th:“[The battle with Mirabaud] is very motivating for us and for them. They wrote us in an email saying they are enjoying this duel as much as we are. It pushes us – every position report we look first at their speed, their positioning, and that really keeps every going at every moment. Rather than putting negative pressure on us it’s very motivating, and it’s fun.

“We have been ahead of them for a very short moment 10 days now and we’re coming closer every position report for two days, and finally passing them right now is a great moment, we’re very happy.?

• February 21st Neutrogena exit Wellington in fourth, ahead of stopped Estrella and Groupe Bel. Chase Renault hard across the Pacific but can’t get ahead.

On hydrogenerator repairs:

Ryan Breymaier (USA) February 28th:“They are prototypes and require constant massaging. The other night I went outside because it did not seem like it was producing as much charge as it should, and I found half of it out of the water, parts ripped out of it, so I spent another day glue-ing it back together, and we have put it back on and it is working perfectly.?

“It is nice to be able to fix things, it is a shame to have to do it so frequently.Most of the boat is in perfect shape still, just these prototypes (hydrogenerators) which we put on just before the start are not doing so well.

“I still am not so good with the electronics and electrics stuff, I leave that up to Boris and even down to I don’t really understand exactly how the hydrogenerator itself works feeding the electrical system, but I am capable of putting them back together.?

Hydraulics issues:

Ryan Breymaier (USA) March 5th: “ We had a little bit of leaking in the hydraulic system which is now fixed. That was the primary thing and that made it hard to sail at full potential for a while. We have not been able to use the big sails for a while because of it.

“It is a really crap feeling to know that you are slow compared to the other boats, so we just worked as fast as we could to get things sorted out. It is just terrible, every minute that you know that you are losing time to other boats is a real shame, and that is the position we found ourselves in unfortunately.“

Knockdown approaching Cape Horn:

Boris Herrmann (GER) March 7:“It is very windy, we are going fast. Yesterday we had up to 62 knots and four knockdowns. I would say we had an average of 40 knots yesterday, and that one gust of 62 knots which lasted about a minute but that was enough to throw us on our side and it was a little bit of a shake up.?

• March 8 Pass Cape Horn at 1130hrs UTC, almost in tandem with the French solo Jules Verne Record challenger Thomas Coville, alone on his maxi trimaran Sodeb’o. The Neutrogena duo and Coville exchange messages and film each other, the red tri passing less than 50 metres from Neutrogena.

But on a live video link joining Neutrogena with Roland Jourdain, principal of Team Kairos in Concarneau, and their team members, and the Barcelona Race HQ studio, Hermann revealed the keel ram damage which was to compromise their performance all the way up the Atlantic and to the finish.

Ryan Breymaier (FRA) March 8: “We have a problem with the rams on the keel. In the ram we have a problem with the joints inside one of them. So we can only use one and so it is hard to be at 100% all the time. We need to reduce the angle of the keel and so are about 70% of possibility to protect the boat a bit. The last four for five days we have worked hard with the keel and for the moment it is the best possible state. And so we intend to look after it very carefully to make sure we can finish the race.?

• March 9 Then immediately after the pleasure of passing Cape Horn they needed to make a repair to the Solent headstay required a short detour to lee of island Nueva at entrance to Beagle Channel. This loses them valuable miles to Estrella Damm.

• March 12 Mirabaud dismasted. Estrella Damm briefly overtake Neutrogena but soon drop back to a close fifth. From there the duo trade miles and are close until north of latitude of Cabo Verde when Estrella Damm and Renault Z.E can foot away on a northerly routing, breaching the Azores high to gain favourable reaching conditions, but with unable to fully cant their keel, Ryan and Boris have to stick with their high mode, maximizing VMG close to the rhumb line.

• March 16th Fast pace past South America:

Ryan: “Right now to be honest I am not sure what is making the difference, the hull form is quite OK when you have this rolling swell, it is just when it gets super flat that we suffer. Other than that we have a very, very low drag nice keel, a huge sail plan which helps right now, we are only sailing with genoa and main we don’t have a gennaker up, and the boat is sailing at a very high percentage of its polars, it is easily driven, under water all the appendages are low drag and we just can take advantage of having a nice sailplan.?

• March 18th– beginning to lose out because of keel. Estrella Damm overtake to fourth but Neutrogena yet again regains the place.

Boris Herrmann:“This might be the last position report showing us ahead of Estrella Damm and we definitely have been a bit handicapped with the keel we can’t cant fully, also we had lighter breeze I think because their speed since yesterday.?

• March 20th Estrella Damm overtake once again and this time hold the advantage, albeit with just a handful of miles in it.

Looking to the finish:

Ryan Breymaier (USA), March 21st:“My thoughts are always the same: Get there as fast as possible, get there as fast as possible, get there as fast as possible! It never changes!?

Doldrums: In fact the Doldrums were one of their low points, Herrmann in particular suffering with fatigue and extreme heat.

Ryan Breymaier (USA), March 24th: “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

• Post Doldrums long beat to finish, Neutrogena suffers with keel:
Boris Herrmann (GER) March 27th: “It is just a bit nuts for us just now because we feel like if we had the full potential of our keel then it would be a totally different game, for us it is like driving a car with only four out of five gears. We can’t switch into fifth gear and get the last bit of speed. We reckon that it is almost a knot that we are missing, so it is a good thing for them. They seem to be able to sail away from us with no trouble.?

• March 7th Pass Gibraltar

• March 10th Arrive in Barcelona after 100 days, 3 hours, 13 minutes and 25 seconds of racing.

Quotes from the skippers’ press conference:

How they made ground in the trades going down the Atlantic:

Ryan: “Over the course we had a very good idea of exactly what conditions would favour this boat, and the main conditions that favour us are big waves and a lot of breeze downwind. Knowing that and knowing that the trades were particularly strong, we kept the big kite up and drove the boat by hand for four days. And that’s more or less how we managed to keep up with or get ahead of some of those boats that had passed us or had gotten away from us a bit.

“It’s pretty exhausting work though, at the best of times people are normally driving boats for an hour or two at a stretch, but to do it for four days straight off and on is not very easy to do, but that’s the size of it – capitalizing on the times when we could go fast.?

Then after that, it became a series of match races with Renault and Mirabaud, what did that add?

Boris: “For me, remembering especially the very long match race in the Indian ocean with Mirabaud remains the essence of this race for us. Every update the distances changed a bit for either them or us, I remember one moment when we could just see them, maybe four miles away. Both boats with very reduced sails, going very fast in rough seas. And we said, ‘Ok, now we’ve caught them we can take a reef and we would still be faster.’ We were then taking a reef and still doing 33 knots, the fastest moment of the race was just then.

“The next position report they had run away 10 miles, that was a very intense time of the race.?

You had a Cape Horn meeting with Thomas Coville with Sodebo, was that a special moment?
Boris: “We knew there was probably going to be a meeting between us and Sodebo and Thomas Coville on his trimaran at Cape Horn. It was fascinating, we had a sunrise just behind Cape Horn, and see the silhouette of this mountain. And at the same moment just on the horizon behind us we see a little dot that catches up with us and we both go past Cape Horn at the same moment, just 20 minutes from each other. And then you see this guy, Thomas Coville, running on the trampoline to us, saying hello. And he’s screaming with his arms in the air, you can really feel his energy and his power. I thought: that’s the king of the sea, doing a fantastic job.?

You had some negative moments – the keel breakage and when Estrella Damm passed you and there was no more battle than just getting home – how do you keep positive?

Ryan: “When we had our keel trouble our first thought was immediately: our race is over right now, and that was something that we were not really prepared for or were not really interested in! The fact that we were able to get it back to the point where it functions at 75 per cent or something like that is not a miracle but definitely very lucky.

“That gave us motivation just to keep going and see how we could do after that. The goal of this was to get around the world non-stop. Especially it being our first time and not being on the newest boat in the fleet, the goal was never that we were going to win, we just wanted to do as well as we possibly could and make our sponsors proud, make our friends and family proud. And that’s the over-riding thing, do have done this race to the highest level that we were capable of doing it. Not to have left anything on the field of battle, so to speak, and just to make sure that when we got here to Barcelona that we knew we’d done the best we could and everyone else that knows us knew we did the best we could. We’d never given up, we’d never had just let things go.

“Yeah, it’s difficult, especially when we started going upwind. We went upwind for, I don’t know how long, 18 days or something from the Equator, and when you’re missing the last 25 per cent of the keel it’s like having a 50ft boat against a 60ft boat. But we just did the best we could. That’s the only philosophy you can have in a race like this; 1, make sure you finish, 2, do the best you can.?

Tell us about your relationship, what were the most testing times for you?

Boris: “That’s not so easy to answer. As you say, we are mates, we became good friends. There’s an old saying that if you sail with someone on a boat, you either become good friends or you never want to see each other. Of course in 100 days there are days which are more tough or more tension, it’s just normal, and some really good days when you have fun together and we had a lot of fun together.

“I don’t know if we’ll have the opportunity to sail together again, but I would say if it’s possible I would look forward to it.? [Ryan nods]

Ryan, you’ve just gone around the world non-stop in 100 days, how does it feel?

Ryan: “Well, other than the day I met my wife this has been the biggest day of my life thus far. I have to say that 100 days is an awfully long time. The only other thing I think in normal human experience that takes longer than sailing around the world is a woman being pregnant, and that’s three times longer so I can imagine most women have a better idea of long drawn out things!

“But it’s been a very interesting experience. I think that I’ve learnt a lot about myself. Going back to the question of how we’ve got along, I’ve definitely learnt about myself in so far as how I deal with Boris in this small situation, and I think that’s very valuable. And just the way I’ve had plenty of time to think about life and think about other things. It’s a competition but it’s also an experience in other ways. It’s been super-valuable for me I think in terms of my personal growth. If it wasn’t such a pain in the ass I’d recommend it to everyone!?

GAES (Photo © María Muiña )

GAES (Photo © María Muiña )

British yachtswoman Dee Caffari and Spanish co skipper, Ann Corbella, are pushing hard to reach Gibraltar and the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea by Saturday evening. The GAES girls are hoping for relatively straight line sailing to the last milestone in the Barcelona World Race before they begin tackling the fickle conditions of the Mediterranean on their approach to the finish line.

 

Commenting on this last stretch of the race, Caffari said:

 

“After Gibraltar, all that stands between us and Barcelona is the tricky Mediterranean. It will provide complex and changeable weather and we will most likely experience downwind conditions, then becalmed, then upwind sailing. We will certainly be working hard for the final miles but with the promise of Diet Coke and pizza at the finish, we will be pushing hard!”

 

The only all female duo are approximately four days from the finish line and setting two new world records.

Caffari will shortly complete her third race around the globe and, on successful completion, will become the only woman to have sailed around the planet three times non-stop – more times than any other woman in history. Catalan sailor, Corbella, will also claim her own world record as the first Spanish woman to circumnavigate the globe non-stop.
 

At the 0900hrs ranking, Caffari and Corbella maintain their 6th place position in the Barcelona World Race. Virbac-Paprec 3 and Mapfre have finished the race in first and second place respectively, with Renault Z.E. expected to claim the final place on the podium later today.

Aviva has been a longstanding supporter of Dee Caffari and her inspirational record breaking sailing achievements, assisting her to three world records including becoming the first woman to sail solo, non stop, around the world in both directions. As Founding Partner of Caffari’s sailing campaign, Aviva is pleased to extend this support to Corbella and GAES for the Barcelona World Race.

Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernadez  Take Second In The Barcelona World Race On Mapfre ( Photo by Nico Martinez / Barcelona World Race )

Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernadez Take Second In The Barcelona World Race On Mapfre ( Photo by Nico Martinez / Barcelona World Race )

When Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernadez crossed the finish line of the Barcelona World Race at 0917hrs (UTC) today the Spanish Olympic champions of 2004 took second place, having completed the 25,200 miles course in an elapsed time of 94 days, 21 hours, 17 minutes and 35 seconds.

Their average pace on MAPFRE was 11.07 knots for the theoretical course distance, and over the 28,759 miles they actually covered they made an average of 12.63 knots. They finished 22 hours, 56 minutes and 59 seconds behind winners Virbac-Paprec 3 to a tremendous reception in a sun-drenched Barcelona.

This is an ideal situation for us. Until 14 months ago we had never sailed an IMOCA 60 and so we could not aspire to very much. But the race was very good, much better than we expected. We’ve made a huge step. Tomorrow the project is finished but if in the future we want to do it again we can hope to aspire to anything.

“We learned a lot, every day. Each day has been a learning process. Especially all the way through the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. We were sailing well and we could fight with those at the front. We believe that we can go one step further,”said Iker Martinez, shortly after he and Xabi had made an emotional reunion with their young families on the deck of MAPFRE.

His co-skipper Xabi Fernandez added “These past 94 days have been never-ending. If you told me it was 105 days, I would believe you. But it has been a great regatta.”

Back in 2007, when the inaugural Barcelona World Race answered the start gun off the Catalan capital, two of sailing’s most likable and down to earth Olympic gold medallists were merely interested spectators. With a first experience of the crewed 2005-6 round the world Volvo Ocean Race on Movistar behind them, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez were in the throes of intense preparation for their second Olympics and on an enjoyable day trip to see the new non-stop race set off, but the seeds of an idea were sown.

Their second Olympic medal, from a demolition derby medal race in Qingdao, China, was not of the colour they had set out for, and so the duo gave everything to ensure they won their third 49er World Championships in the Bahamas in January last year. Only with their third title bagged, did the duo let their idea of another offshore adventure grow.

Both were total IMOCA Open 60 novices when they set foot on one for the first time in late February last year. “We wanted to know if it was something we could do together, and now we have our answer,” said Xabi Fernandez, a few days ago on live Visio-Conference.

Today the Basque duo, who have sailed together in the 49er since 1999, not only confirmed to themselves that the Barcelona World Race is a challenge they can complete, but by winning second place, the IMOCA Open 60 ‘rookies’ have underlined what an outstanding sailing talent they are.

Finishing in second place, just under 23 hours behind the race winners Virbac-Paprec 3, the Spanish pair are the first team to complete the entire circumnavigation non-stop.

“We would rather be fifth and complete the circumnavigation without stopping, than finish second and stop. This is our opportunity to go round non-stop together and that is what we have always wanted to do,”said Xabi on the approach to Wellington, re-affirming that fundamental goal a few days ago.

‘Leave nothing on the race course’ is the universal maxim of coaches. Arriving today with all gauges down to ‘reserve’ – no food left and no fuel, unable to run their engine any more, it is unlikely that any team has pushed harder for longer. A batch of spoiled freeze dried meant the duo have been on reduced rations for at least three weeks, having first mentioned back in the Doldrums that they were low on nutrition.

For the duration of their 25,200-mile, three month-long course they have vividly and coherently transmitted their simple love for sailing, the relentless drive and stamina which has been at the foundation of some of the race’s most consistent high speeds, and opened up their incredible adventure to an enchanted audience.

Their ability to regain ground with long days of fast-paced, high mileage sailing had race winners Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron consider them several times as “serious customers, who sail the boat well”.

Fernandezand Martinez sailed constantly in second place for 18,900 miles since the 26th January when they took up the baton from mentor Michel Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabart (FRA) after they lost the top of Foncia’s mast.

A deficit to Virbac-Paprec 3 at the Cape of Good Hope of 730 miles on January 29th had grown five days later to 780 miles. But, after Virbac-Paprec 3 stopped in Wellington to repair their mast-track and batten cars, by the mid-Pacific the Spanish duo had got tantalisingly close, to within 8.3 miles of the leaders by February 25th.

Their baptism of fire into the rarefied world of deep ocean IMOCA Open 60 racing has been completed, where self-reliance in every area – mechanical, electrics and electronics, sailmaking and boatbuilding – is as much part of the complete circumnavigation as trimming sails, managing sleep and nutrition.

The Spanish pair rose admirably to the multiple challenges. Belying their Olympic one design and Volvo Ocean Race backgrounds, where a top specialist is, at worst, a phone call away 24/7, at best at your elbow in a second, on 11th February in the Indian Ocean they finally revealed that they had spent 48 hours completing a workmanlike, ingenious composite repair to their port daggerboard, five days after they lost 1.5 metres off the tip when they hit an object.

They had not mentioned the impact when it occurred five days previously, and ran silently while they cannibalised foam from the helm’s seat to make the repair. After trying to repair it on deck they next had to manhandle the 100 kilos, 4 metre-long blade into the cabin of their IMOCA Open 60 where they set up a tented workshop to finish the repair. Their success it fixing it ensured that they did not have to make any technical stops and were able to complete one of their main goals.

After Cape Horn they had to make a short halt, mooring briefly in the remote Isla Nueva at the entrance to the Beagle Channel. There, in the fading darkness, Martinez scaled the mast to sort out their jammed foresail halyards. Their detour and brief pause cost them 80 miles to leader Virbac-Paprec 3.

They served notice of their capacity for speed in the turbo charged racing of the north-easterly trades where they set an electric pace, sailing lower but faster than their opposition. They admitted pre-start to being less confident of their weather strategy experience, having never previously had to take sole responsibility for routing, but as the race progressed so their skill and confidence developed, and Martinez confirmed it was a component of the race they were enjoying.

On the descent of the Atlantic in the approach to the key Saint Helena anticyclone they were first to use ‘ghost mode’ as they sought to cover a move to the west and south, but when the weather files seemed suddenly to turn against them, they had to bail out back to the east, furiously beating back upwind to try and close the gap back to then leader Estrella Damm.

And on the return up the Atlantic, the dominant South Atlantic anticyclone again was a thorny dilemma. Dick and Peyron escaped to the east, avoiding the worst of the lightest breezes and reeled out more nearly 400 miles of additional lead in three days as the Spanish duo struggled to extricate themselves.

Through their many highs, and few lows, the duo have visibly enjoyed sharing each mile and hour of the course with their audience. They have thrived on sharing special moments, patiently taking minutes from the relentless race to speak with just some of the many hundreds of youngsters who have followed the race on the Visio-Conferences. Without doubt they are now the complete circumnavigators.

Quotes:

Iker Martinez:”I’m feeling great because everyone we want to have here is here, all the family, all the friends, everybody’s here. So we’re feeling very happy and a little bit more relaxed, now it’s time to have a rest and enjoy it a little bit!”

Did you expect to finish second? “Not at all, no no. We know about racing, so we knew anything could happen, but we knew already that it would be very difficult to be on the podium or in the top five, so our goal here was to finish the race non-stop, that was in our minds since the beginning of the project, since we started training. So after that, racing is racing, things can happen and they were happening for us. I think we were pretty lucky on how things were going within the race, and then we were learning pretty fast. We suddenly saw in the Indian Ocean that we were sailing pretty close to the leaders, and we were really sailing well and feeling good – at the beginning we weren’t feeling so good as we didn’t know how to sail the boat, but then at that moment we decided, ok, now is the moment to push!

“We have a lot of good memories, many different things. It’s not just a race, it’s an adventure so you have many feelings. Probably the best one is to be able to do a race like this with Xabi, both of us together, that’s probably the best bit. And then a lot of little moments, problems or things we enjoyed. Whenever we’re sailing together, not in the 49er but like this, we’re always trying to solve problems – ‘do you know how do to this, or this?’ that was happening every day.”

Background story:

• February 2010After doing a deal on his highly optimised, well proven Vendée Globe winning Farr-designed Foncia last year the duo first went to IMOCA Open 60 ‘school’ learning from double Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux and his technical team in Port La Foret in Brittany. After six weeks of work around the boat, learning with their shore team the keel, rig, mechanical and electricals, they went out, with ‘Le Professor’, and won their first IMOCA race, the Grand Prix Douarnenez.

• April-June 2010At the beginning of April Martinez and Fernandez sailed with their team back to their base in Sanxenxo, Northern Spain and in May sailed on to Port La Foret, before contesting the round Spain, Vuelta España a Vela in June, where they finished fifth.

Race history:

• December 31st2010 MAPFRE started their first round the world race up with the main group, but stuck close to the northern, Spanish side of the Gibraltar Straits, dropping to ninth by January 3rd.

• January 10th Back up to fifth place, MAPFRE earn their reputation as ‘speed kings’ consistently scoring 20-plus knot speeds south of the Cape Verde islands.

• January 15th With Foncia and Virbac-Paprec 3 stopping in Recife, MAPFRE move up to second, and become the first to employ ‘stealth’ mode as the French pair rejoin the race, emerging 183 miles behind new race leaders Estrella Damm. However, their middle route between the westerly leaders and easterly main group sees them lose out, briefly dropping to ninth before working hard to overtake the peleton to the east and climb to third.

• January 26th Move into second place after Foncia break their mast, 543 miles behind Virbac-Paprec 3. Rounded Cape of Good Hope three days later more than 730 miles behind the leaders.

• February 4thHave reduced the deficit to just 412 miles.

• February 11thReveal that they have had to make major repairs to their port daggerboard.

• February 16th Virbac-Paprec 3 make a 48-hour pitstop in Wellington, New Zealand. MAPFRE enter the Cook Strait just as the French leaders depart.

• February 25thHaving tailed Virbac-Paprec 3 across two Pacific ice gates, MAPFRE are within 8.3 miles of the leaders. Their pace in this stage of the race earns them the Pacific Trophy for the fastest course from the Cook Strait to Cape Horn.

• March 3rdRound Cape Horn, then stop straight afterwards to make unassisted repairs to their halyards. Rejoin racing 220 miles behind the leaders.

 • March 11thVirbac-Paprec 3 emerge from the St Helena High pressure system 544 miles ahead of second-placed MAPFRE, with the Spaniards having been becalmed on a more westerly course.

• March 19thHaving given chase once again back up the Atlantic, MAPFRE close to within 111 miles of Virbac-Paprec 3 across the Doldrums, but can gain no more.

• March 25thBoth the leading boats deploy ‘ghost mode’ as they contend with the Azores high pressure system, but Virbac-Paprec 3 emerge 240 miles ahead.

• April 4th MAPFREpass Gibraltar, Virbac-Paprec 3 win the Barcelona World Race.

• April 5thMAPFRE arrive in Barcelona in second place, after of 94 days, 21 hours, 17 minutes and 35 seconds of racing.

Jean-Pierre Dick (45) and Loïck Peyron (51) have won the second edition of the Barcelona World Race on Virbac-Paprec 3 (Photo by Nico Martinez / Barcelona World Race)

Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron win the second edition of the Barcelona World Race on Virbac-Paprec 3 (Photo by Nico Martinez / Barcelona World Race)

Breaking the finish line this Monday morning at 10hrs 20mins 36 seconds (UTC) Jean-Pierre Dick (45) and Loïck Peyron (51) have won the second edition of the Barcelona World Race on Virbac-Paprec 3, completing the 25,200 miles round the world race in 93 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 36 seconds at an average speed of 11.18 knots.

For Jean-Pierre Dick the victory repeats his 2007-08 triumph in the inaugural edition of the round the world race for crews of two, when he won with Irish co-skipper Damian Foxall. Today’s win also adds an elusive round the world victory to Peyron’s two previous podium finishes, each ten years apart – second in 1989-90 in the inaugural Vendée Globe solo round the world race, and second in The Race in 2000, for fully crewed giant multihulls.

On arrival at the dock in Barcelona Jean-Pierre Dick described his feelings on winning a second consecutive Barcelona World Race: “A lot of emotions, quite indescribable, I am so happy to be here. I had my objective and today it has been satisfied. It is magical the way we won it together. Thanks Loïck for doing this race with me and putting up with me, magical to live three months among nature around the world, living our passion, and technologically it’s quite special. Thank-you and thank-you Barcelona for this race, it is ideal. Double handed around the world is fantastic. Thank-you also to my sponsors, I am very proud to have these people with me.”

The French duo highlighted their drive and pace when they set a new 24-hour speed record for IMOCA Open 60-footers of 506.33 miles on January 22nd (average speed 21.1kts)

Without doubt the success of their proven partnership amounts to more than the sum of its parts, even given Peyron’s 30 years of ocean racing successes and Dick’s incredible durability, his appetite for short handed and solo racing, his meticulous, scientific approach and delivery, and his remarkable trajectory towards the top of this exacting and demanding sailing discipline.

Their partnership has never been beaten on the oceans, winning the Transat Jacques Vabre together in 2005 when Dick defended the title he won with Nicolas Abiven. Dick, previously a full time business director who only really turned ‘professional’ in 2002, has joined the elite ranks of Michel Desjoyeaux and Bernard Stamm as the only skippers to have won two solo or two-handed round the world races.

Their winning course displays all the polished hallmarks of a near perfect execution. Their meteo and navigation strategy in each sea and each ocean, around the classic course, which takes in the three great Capes – Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn but which, uniquely for the genre, climbs from the south Pacific through the Cook Strait before descending just as quickly back to the hostile ocean – has been almost faultless.

The raw speed of Dick’s newest generation VPLP/designed IMOCA Open 60, launched in May last year in Auckland and with which he plans to challenge for the 2012 Vendée Globe, is now proven. As is the duo’s skill to sail it at the limit for long periods when pressed, but so too is their ability to sail defensively, maintaining high averages to preserve themselves and the boat in more extreme conditions.

Such attributes are underpinned by both skippers sharing the same bitter experience of retiring from the 2008-09 Vendée Globe with damage, both leading at different stages. Peyron spent more time in the lead than anyone before his mast broke, and Dick led in the Indian Ocean before sustaining rudder damage.

Though they made two technical stops for repairs, amounting to a time-out total of 63 hours in Brazil and Wellington, New Zealand, the Virbac-Paprec 3 pair stayed the course to fulfil their ranking as one of the pre-race favourites. Of the 14 IMOCA Open 60s which started off Barcelona on 31st December, four of which were otherwise considered potential winners or podium contenders, Président, Foncia, Groupe Bel and Mirabuad all retired with mast or keel failures.

Dick and Peyron led the race out through the Straits of Gibraltar on January 3rd and after re-taking the lead on January 23rd were never passed. The thrilling duel with Michel Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabart, which forced the red line higher and higher, came to an end when Foncia broke their topmast early on the morning of 25th January.

But Spain’s double Olympic 49er medallists Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez in their first ever IMOCA Open 60 race as a duo had been second since Foncia withdrew. From Virbac-Paprec 3’s largest lead of 781 miles over MAPFRE on February 7, the Spanish pair pressed the leaders relentlessly, getting to within 8.3 miles of Dick and Peyron in the Pacific on 25th February. But, with a beautifully precise 30-mile hitch to the east to set up early in the South Atlantic high pressure system, the winners avoided the very worst of the light winds and made the better passage of the dominant anticyclone.

Though their difficult return through the Doldrums was as long, slow and challenging as either Dick or Peyron could recall over their careers, Virbac-Paprec 3 emerged with an advantage to build on over a final 16-day marathon upwind slog to lead back into Gibraltar.

Quotes from the winning skippers:

Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA): “This round the world race has been a mixture of lots of little things. We already knew each other and it was the joint experience of both of us skippers as individuals which was key to winning.

“We have a really good team, mutual understanding and great respect. We have known each other for a long time and it is for me a huge privilege to have been able to sail around the world with Loïck. A wonderful experience. We both wanted to win of course and our cohesion was focused on this victory.”

Asked if he would consider a third race: “I love Barcelona but I want to celebrate this first and then we will see. The Barcelona World Race is a magical race, it is a wonderful concept: double handed, with sunsets, whales, albatross – to be able to share this natural experience when you are passionate about the sea and can live this passion it is amazing.

Asked what made the difference for them: “A new boat, and in New Zealand the chance to make it more secure, to give us that extra reassurance. It is a very good boat, it performs really well and is latest generation. It was all very well-timed and that is an important part of our success.

“It is a great moment for me after three years of not winning; it was quite frustrating having to abandon the Vendée Globe when ahead, and then there was a year and a half wait whilst the boat was being built. To be successful and have fulfilled my objective iswonderful.

“There are a number of different images that will stay with me from the race. Cape Horn in particular, I have never been that close to it and we could really experience it directly being so close to land. Patagonia is magical – that is my most special moment.”

Loïck Peyron (FRA):

“It has been exceptional. My third round the world race. The first time was solo, the second with a team and this third time double-handed. And we have won – we led the race in spite of some tough competition. It was a fantastic experience and it is a fabulous feeling to finish and finish so well.

“Success comes from true cohesion – and we are both complementary. The savoir-faire of the solo sailing world means you really trust the other person. Success is also about having a good machine at your feet. We made a mistake last night – it was probably us relaxing a little before the arrival, but we did a good job.

“My most important memories are of the albatross – they are quite unique in the world and that part of the planet and we were lucky enough to see them.

“It has been a real example of teamwork by the ‘family’. It is a beautiful example of unity and I am delighted to have had the chance to experience it.

“It is magical to be in Barcelona again. The last time was with The Race and it is wonderful to be back again and this time with another beautiful story.”

Victory Unfolds

January 4thafter taking the southerly option and finding more wind pressure on the Moroccan coast Virbac-Paprec 3 leads out of Gibraltar Straits, 3 days, 7 hours and 55 minutes after the start on 31st December in Barcelona (6 hours faster than 2007-8 edition when Dick and Foxall also led)

January 8thFoncia lead passing Madeira, Virbac-Paprec 3 after five days in front drop to second after small tactical error, with a compact top group including Président, Groupe Bel, and Neutrogena.

January 10th   in strong downwind trade conditions speeds peak at 25kts, in a relentless driving pace and on January 11th Jean Le Cam and Bruno Garcia retire after breaking mast north of Cape Verdes.

On January 13th 2.5 m of mainsail traveller track rips away requiring technical stop in Recife, Brasil. Foncia also stop after damage to their crash box and an almost surreal F1 style pit-stop ensues. The two IMOCA Open 60s, which have been locked together since traversing the Atlantic from Martinique on the same ship after the Route du Rhum, and refitted in the same shed in Barcelona, now pit-stop in the same Brazilian dock. The rival crews even briefly end up sharing the same apartment! Virbac-Paprec 3’s total time stopped is 15 hours and they resume the course with a deficit of 277 miles.

January 18ththey are first to go into ghost mode as both the Recife twins choose long-term investment to the west, down the Brazilian coast which initially sacrifices miles to those on the more direct routing through the St Helena High, but the gains come with high speeds in strong winds. Virbac-Paprec 3 sets a new 24-hour world speed record for 60-footers at 506.33 miles, bettering the 2007-8 record set during the Barcelona World Race by Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape at 501.9 miles on Hugo Boss.

January 23rdDick and Peyron retake the lead and first round Cape of Good Hope. Early on the morning of 26th January the near-twins are finally parted when Foncia breaks their mast. Virbac-Paprec 3 lead MAPFRE by nearly 580 miles.

February 16thVirbac-Paprec 3 makes the minimum 48-hour stop in Wellington to repair batten cars, returning with their lead shrunk to 128 miles over MAPFRE.

February 25thVirbac-Paprec 3’s lead is just 8.3 miles over MAPFRE.

March 3rdVirbac-Paprec 3’s exciting passage of Cape Horn 140 miles ahead of MAPFRE.

March 4thMAPFRE stop briefly to sort out twisted halyards at entrance to Beagle Channel. Martinez and Fernandez lose about 80 miles.

March 5th-11ththe Saint Helena High strategy sees a huge accordion effect but Virbac-Paprec 3 accelerate away to lead of 545 miles over MAPFRE.

March 19thDoldrums: compression to 111 miles as the Doldrums move north with Dick and Peyron but on long beat to Gibraltar, Dick and Peyron lead at the longitude of Tarifa.

April 1stVirbac-Paprec 3 lead by about 30 hours at 0135hrs (UTC)

April 4th Virbac-Paprec 3cross the finish line at 1020hrs (UTC) winning the Barcelona World Race after 93 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 36 seconds of racing.

Course record 2007-08 92 days 9 hours and 49 minutes
Theoretical course is 520 miles longer in 2010-11.

Dolphin off Virbac-Paprec 3 (Photo by Virbac-Paprec / Barcelona World Race )

Dolphin off Virbac-Paprec 3 (Photo by Virbac-Paprec / Barcelona World Race )

The Finish. As the time ticks down closer to the first finish of this Barcelona World Race, the closing proximity to the final line, be it a few days or two weeks away, means that the release after 89 days of racing is weighing heavily on the minds of many of the skippers now nearing the home strait, be that in actual fact, or more metaphorically.

Two of the skippers who were joined by Visio-Conference today were showing the effects of their three months of endeavour, tired and drawn, and admitted to wanting as much to get their respective first IMOCA Open 60 circumnavigations safely completed as to deliver their results.

For Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron, ETA Gibraltar around midnight Thursday,  theirs has been a day of precision manouvers off the Moroccan coast, getting to within 800 meters of the beach at one point early this morning. But it still seems like it will be at least offshore of Murcia before they may have some relief from their interminable upwind passage since the Equator. The final miles from there look light and unpredictable.

For Iker Martinez on MAPFRE it was a chance to explain their slightly problematic passage through between La Gomera and La Palma. The Spanish Olympic champion confirmed that part of the reason for their routing was to take brief advantage of La Palma’s lee to effect what should have been a 20 minutes repair, but the combination of unexpected 30 and then 40 knots gusts and some unpleasant seas meant this short repair interlude turned into three hours of hard labour which cost them an extra 45 miles on leaders Jean-Pierre Dick andLoïck Peyron.

Martinez explained how that their 10 years plus of Olympic strength and conditioning training for the 49er has been a key factor in being able to drive their MAPFRE as hard and consistently as they have. And now, low on food rations, it is clear the double Olympic medallists are using some of that nutritional experience to manage their limited body refuelling, maximising sleep to just keep going to the finish line. He said, in fact, given their pre-race experience, second for them would be seen as much as a victory.

Martinez explained: “ We are pretty tired with the food situation, physically this is an ultramarathon. Some days we have it when we are really tired, but it is not one of our biggest worries. I think we are all now thinking about the finish, not too long ago we weren’t but now we are.

We try to sleep as much as we can to keep energy so that we don’t make mistakes, and if they do like yesterday then we have the energy to deal with them and keep going.

It is more than 10 years that we have been physically training. Training for the Olympics in China was pretty extreme, so I think that physically we were in good shape for this race, but I think we pushed very hard.

We are here in this second place because of our physical preparation and ability to push, not because of our experience. Fourteen months ago we did not even have an IMOCA Open 60 and had never even sailed on of these before.?

Behind them the situation is opening up as the Azores High pressure blockade of the Straits of Gibraltar opens progressively throwing open new options to Renault ZE Sailing Team and Estrella Damm to sprint north and try to breach the high pressure ridge, perhaps for some brief SW’ly breezes but to enjoy the prospect of a more dependable N’ly and NE’ly breezes which would allow them a more direct layline to Gibraltar.

The predicted temporary compression between third placed Renault ZE, slowed slightly now, and Estrella Damm, is becoming evident – Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes gaining 12 miles this afternoon – but the direct northerly option does not seem to be offered as freely to Neutrogena.  Ryan Breymaier said:

“They (Estrella Damm and Renault Z.E) are both going quite fast at the moment, but I am not sure how well that is going to work for them because that ridge goes back north and I think that it is going to be quite tricky for them. We have been waiting, hoping for some sort of tactical opportunity just to finish quicker, not even so much thinking we can get by them, just to finish with some food less. So theirs seemed like an option but the ridge seems to move back and forth a lot and so that makes it a much more difficult to take that option.?

Under the leadership of their chief technician Stan, Jaume Mumbru and Cali Sanmarti have been making excellent progress with their boom repair in Ushuaia for their We Are Water. The boom has been successfully sleeved with initial internal lamination, but final lamination has to be completed. They can leave after 1555hrs UTC Thursday 31st but it is unclear as yet if the duo will be completely ready for that time, but it is believed they will be close.

 

Standings of Wednesday 30th March  at 1400hrs UTC

1              VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 796 miles to finish

2              MAPFRE + 311 miles to leader

3              RENAULT Z.E at + 1142miles to leader

4              ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at + 1289 miles to leader

5              NEUTROGENA at + 1313 miles to leader

6              GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at + 1905 miles to leader

7              HUGO BOSS at + 3327 miles to leader

8              FORUM MARITIM CATALA at + 3802 miles to leader

9              WE ARE WATER at + 6060 miles to leader

10            CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at + 10753 miles to leader

 

RTD        FONCIA

RTD        PRESIDENT

RTD        GROUPE BEL

RTD        MIRABAUD

 

Alex Pella (ESP) Estrella Damm:“We are still sailing upwind but a little bit more eased, cracked a bit making north. The wind is very stable. In the next 24 to 48 hours there will be a change. First we have a transition zone with some lighter winds, then some SW’ly veering to the N. Let us see how Renault Z.E goes but for now they are better positioned than us. For sure the further north you are at the moment, the better. That is what we decided is best for getting to Gibraltar. We think that Renault Z.E has made the best choice and ourselves too. There was not much to hide, we talked about using ghost mode but in the end it was not left or right, there was only one way to go and we have to go there as fast as possible and let the others do what they can.

We’ll see what happens between now and the Strait and then in the Mediterranean. There should be the accordion effect in the Strait but really it is impossible to know because we are still about eight days from that. Until then it will be difficult to catch up. But otherwise everything is going well, the boat is all good, it is getting colder again, we have thicker clothes on again and we have food to spare, and Pepe seems to have enough painkillers for his knee until the finish.?

Iker Martinez (ESP) MAPFRE:“Yesterday was a bit of a complicated day.  We took the decision to go between La Palma and La Gomera which seemed like a good option. We thought we could use a bit of the lee to make a fix a problem with sail and the solent stay, but it got a bit out of hand, there were a lot of waves and we had gusts of 30 knots, we ended up having to run downwind to change to the smaller headsail, then we had 40 knots and it all got a bit messy. We managed to get it all in order, but we probably lost about three hours of sailing. It was a day with a lot going on, but in the end we did not break anything else. The stay we fixed works not bad, we were a bit unlucky and we broke a bit of the furler, so we swapped about a bit, changed the cables and it is OK, it works. We can use the Solent which is important.

We are pretty tired with the food situation, physically this is an ultramarathon. Some days we have it when we are really tired, but it is not one of our biggest worries. I think we are all now thinking about the finish, not too long ago we weren’t but now we are.

We try to sleep as much as we can to keep energy so that we don’t make mistakes, and if they do like yesterday then we have the energy to deal with them and keep going.

It is more than 10 years that we have been physically training. Training for the Olympics in China was pretty extreme, so I think that physically we were in good shape for this race, but I think we pushed very hard.

We are here in this second place because of our physical preparation and ability to push, not because of our experience. Fourteen months ago we did not even have an IMOCA Open 60 and had never even sailed on of these before.?

Ryan Breymaier (USA) Neutrogena:  “They (Estrella Damm and Renault Z.E) are both going quite fast at the moment, but I am not sure how well that is going to work for them because that ridge goes back north and I think that it is going to be quite tricky for them. We have been waiting, hoping for some sort of tactical opportunity just to finish quicker, not even so much thinking we can get by them, just to finish with some food less. So theirs seemed like an option but the ridge seems to move back and forth a lot and so that makes it a much more difficult to take that option.?

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

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

 

    * Virbac-Paprec 3 detour north to avoid Canary Islands lee
    * ETA Virbac-Paprec 3 at Gibraltar overnight 31st March to 1st April
    * Central Lechera Asturiana aim to restart from Wellington after 25 day technical stopover.

 As anticipated by many, Virbac-Paprec 3 has tacked north again this afternoon, taking a short hitch to avoid passing directly through the Canary Islands archipelago and the likely long wind shadows cast bay the high mountains, especially Tenerife. With some 90 miles left to reach the westernmost extremity of the islands, Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron will take a short hitch back to the north before extending east all the way to the Moroccan coast.

Iker Martinez retains his fierce optimism, believing that there will be chances to pull back some miles on the leading pair after MAPFRE passes the Canary Islands.

“As far as strategy goes there is not much before the Canary Islands, we make a mainly northerly course and will tack to the east depending on the evolution of the anticyclone, but what seems more complex is after the Canaries to the Straits of Gibraltar when it seems like there will be less wind.?  The Spanish double Olympic medalist explained on this morning’s visio link up with MAPFRE.  They remain determined to be resigned to second place, but he admits “our destiny is for sure not 100% in our own hands.?

If the Spanish sailing icons don’t feel particularly compromised on this long upwind leg since the Equator byt the damaged dagger board, Martinez saying it might be causing them a small fraction of a knot of difference, Boris Herrmann and his co-skipper Ryan Breymaier are much more frustrated by the fact they cannot cant their keel to its maximum, so losing valuable righting moment as they duel with Estrella Damm. Herrmann’s assertion is backed up by their loss of 14 miles over the last 24 hours to their Spanish rivals. Estrella Damm are now 36 miles ahead:

“It is just a bit nuts for us just now because we feel like if we had the full potential of our keel then it would be a totally different game, for us it is like driving a car with only four out of five gears. We cant switch into fifth gear and get the last bit of speed. We reckon that it is almost a knot that we are missing, so it is a good thing for them. They seem to be able to sail away from us with no trouble.

Sunset from Neutrogena (Photo by Neutrogena / Barcelona World Race)

Sunset from Neutrogena (Photo by Neutrogena / Barcelona World Race)

It is like in a dinghy, a lighter dinghy crew has to sail a higher angle, a closer angle to the wind, trying to do the same VMG like that. That is what we try to do here. The boat has slightly less righting moment, the only option is to sail higher at a slower speed, but that works pretty well.  Explained Herrmann

But for the Spanish-English duo of Anna Corbella and Dee Caffari on GAES Centros Auditivos there is the hope that they will be able to sail the north Atlantic with their IMOCA Open 60 back at very close to 100% potential after completing their ballast tank repair yesterday. Corbella confirmed they will be giving the lamination 48 hours to cure completely before building up to maximum speed.

But the biggest repair of all has been that of Central Lechera who have been in Wellington since 3rd March when they arrived with their broken mast, but the team informed Race Direction in Barcelona that they intend to set out from the Kiwi capital tonight.

“Our objective was and continues to be the completion of the circumnavigation. As the Mexican song goes, ‘finishing first is not really the important thing, the important thing is to know how to finish’. We really have this desire to complete what we started? explained Juan Merediz, while his co-skipper, Fran Palacio, explains: “ Our
shore team, management and the FNOB are doing all in their power for us
to be able to fulfill our dream. We do not have enough words of gratitude
to express all we feel for this help. Without a doubt we have worked
with the best”.

Standings of Sunday 27th March  at 1400hrs

1              VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 1401 miles to finish

2              MAPFRE + 242 miles to leader

3              RENAULT Z.E at + 1081 miles to leader

4              ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at + 1236 miles to leader

5              NEUTROGENA at + 1271 miles to leader

6              GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at + 1846 miles to leader

7              HUGO BOSS at + 3367 miles to leader

8              FORUM MARITIM CATALA at + 3855 miles to leader

9              WE ARE WATER at 5640 miles to leader

10            CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at + 10149 miles to leader

RTD          FONCIA

RTD         PRESIDENT

RTD         GROUPE BEL

RTD        MIRABAUD

Quotes:
Boris Herrmann (GER) Neutrogena:“It is just a bit nuts for us just now because we feel like if we had the full potential of our keel then it would be a totally different game, for us it is like driving a car with only four out of five gears. We cant switch into fifth gear and get the last bit of speed. We reckon that it is almost a knot that we are missing, so it is a good thing for them. They seem to be able to sail away from us with no trouble.

It is like in a dinghy, a lighter dinghy crew has to sail a higher angle, a closer angle to the wind, trying to do the same VMG like that. That is what we try to do here. The boat has slightly less righting moment, the only option is to sail higher at a slower speed, but that works pretty well. In any case this is a very good boat upwind, which makes us even more mad. If we had everything together we could be doing very well, and sail quite fast.

Upwind we have established a four hours routine in these conditions, one of us is four hours is controlling the pilot, trimming, and trying to optimise the speed or performance all the time while the other one is down below looking at the weather and stuff like that. I have one good book that I am reading now.

I play with thoughts when you have time to think just now, the thoughts can take you anywhere into the future, for future professional life I would hope that if it was not sailing it could be in a sector like that (adventure and environmental projects)

Maybe every 15 minutes there is one big slam in a wave, but mostly we go through quite smoothly. We have a reef in the main because of the keel, it is a little bit gusty and puffy but we are quite happy with this pace doing 9.5 to 10 knots.

We don’t have grib files which reach from here to Gibraltar so it is hard to make a route more than a week ahead, we expect probably five days upwind on this tack. To be honest I am not pressed by tactical options, I am just hoping the whole scenario will change to give more opportunities.

I would like to go into the Pyrenees when I get back, it is not far from Barcelona, maybe still in April so I hope to find time for that.?

Iker Martinez (ESP) MAPFRE: “All is good on board and we are pressing on. Right now we are beating, upwind which we have been doing pretty much since the Equator. I don’t remember when we last did such a long upwind, I guess since the last Volvo, but it is not really upwind like the Copa del Rey, tacking back and forth.

As for our food situation, well it is really precipitated by a problem we have had with some of the freeze dried which got contaminated, we will find out how or why later, but we have been rationing it for three weeks now, but in fact we are quite used to watching our weight for the 49er racing, so it is not unusual for us.

The problem with the daggerboard is not so noticeable, on port it goes a little better but we are talking fractions of a knot, but the figures are not so important.

As far as strategy goes there is not much before the Canary Islands, we make a mainly northerly course and will tack to the east depending on the evolution of the anticyclone, but what seems more complex is after the Canaries to the Straits of Gibraltar when it seems like there will be less wind.

The race feels like it is counting down the end feels not far away but like others at the stage that kind of makes the days feel longer. This section feels quite long. But the motivation increases all the time. To be closer to the finish really motivates you, just the same as it does in the Olympics. But the tiredness catches up with you now, too. And for us the added problem is the lack of food because after all it is the fuel, and we are lacking fuel

What worries us, if anything, just now is breaking something because the boat still slams and waves hit the boat a bit, so you are not always forcing it.?

Anna Corbella (ESP) GAES Centros Auditivos:“The wall of the ballast tank is the same as the structural ring frame and so we had to make a hole in the tank to laminate it on the inside. So we hope that it will hold and we are confident it will. We needed 24 hours and now 48 hours to make sure it cures, and so until then we have to sail gently with small sails and then we have to cross the Doldrums.

Yesterday we had to check the rig while we were slowed down in the light winds and it was good to know that it is all good.?

Heading east, Virbac-Paprec 3 attempts to escape at high pressure and headed straight to the Canary Islands that will have to ward off heading north on the way home. The challenge is therefore to avoid the wind shadow of the Islands imposing reliefs. Recall that the highest peak of Spain is in this archipelago: a volcano called Mount Teide rising to over 3700 meters. XXX farther south, the problem is the same for the crew of MAPFRE: Stepped up north, cross the Cape Verdean archipelago without getting caught. On board the former owners, multiple Olympic and world champions Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez will not resign themselves to occupy the place of dolphin, but they also know that their fate is not entirely in their hands. With a delay that is X way to go and a strategy almost obligatory to close the passing lanes will be rare … Virbac Paprec-3 is expected to Gibraltar on the night of March 31 to April 1. MAPFRE 24 hours later.

Neutrogena handicapped by its keel
Behind in the south of Cape Verde, Renault ZE doing very well at his two rivals at bay. Pachi Rivero and Antonio Piris received the first of strengthening trade winds. And since there is neither large nor underhanded strategies on the horizon, the hierarchy should remain the same for at least a good week, Estrella Damm in 4th position and Neutrogena fifth. At the upwind a bit tough, the boat crew Germano America is hampered by the inability to switch all the keel (the problem of jacks found earlier this month). Neutrogena go slowly and Boris Hermann did not have any illusions about the outcome of this race the wind speed.

Tinker day for girls
At the entrance of the Pot Black, Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella sacrificed yesterday to repair the bulkhead ballast before Gaes Centros Auditivos. They spent almost 24 hours arrested with three reefs in the mainsail to carry out the work of stratification. Anna took this “pause tinkering” to make a climb in the mast and see that the rigging of the boat was spotless. Here they are again en route to the equator, low speed but at 100% capacity.

Hugo Boss line with English
In southern Brazil, taking advantage of a weather pattern where successive depressions and anticyclones, Hugo Boss is trying to sow his companion CME. A few days ago, when Verbraak Wouter and Andy Meiklejohn left the Falklands after stopping technique to repair their sails and the mast track, the two vessels were separated by only 120 miles. Today, this gap amounts to XXXX and it is likely to widen the first spin downwind when the second fight against headwinds.

Central Lechera Asturianawill start in the race
While We Are Water progressing without difficulty mainsail towards Cape Horn, Central  Lechera Asturiana is about to join the Pacific, after 25 days in port in Wellington. March 3, Juan Merediz and Fran Palacio stopped in the capital of New Zealand to repair their mast broke two days earlier in the Tasman Sea. The spar has been repaired. The crew set and tested its equipment and now wants to finish her world tour. According to a statement released by their teams, and Juan Fran plan to cast off at 00:00 GMT tonight (Monday 02 am in Europe). Then they depart with more than 10,000 miles and almost two oceans behind the leaders …