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18 February 2011, 09:57 am
Barcelona World Race Sailors Face The Wellington Question
Virbac-Pirpac 3
Virbac-Paprec 3 Sailing Towards Wellington

Barcelona World Race 2010-11
Barcelona, Spain

To stop or not to stop? That is the question for the 20 sailors in the Barcelona World Race who are yet to announce whether they will make a pit-stop in Wellington (NZL).
Throughout the next 24 hours some long-held positions are up for grabs, and with more teams potentially considering a Kiwi stopover the rankings could see further reshuffles in the future.

One of the Barcelona World Race's unique elements - the fact that teams may make technical 'pit-stops' to repair damage in order to be able to complete the course - looks set to create a fascinating tactical challenge for the ten teams who have yet to decide whether to pull into Wellington.

On the one hand is the benefit of being able to make essential repairs to potentially race-ending problems with sails, electronics, or other elements of the yacht, allowing the teams to safely resume racing at 100 per cent pace.

Countering that is the fact that every boat which stops after 140 degrees East must observe a compulsory time penalty of 48 hours on land, potentially jeopardising hard-earned miles of advantage over their rivals.

And of course, while 48 hours may not prove a winning margin at this stage at the race, no skipper can predict what will happen over the remaining 11,500 miles of the course after Wellington.

Iker Martinez (ESP) onboard MAPFRE explained the difficulty in making the decision, "We would rather be third or fourth without stopping than second with stopping. But we have not yet made a decision. It is difficult because logic tells us that we should stop for safety and performance, but we would prefer not to.

"At this point all the boats are damaged, that's no secret, but we'll see what we do. Tomorrow we will decide. It depends on several aspects, the most important one being to think about what will get us to the finish faster?

"Right now, it seems that we're more likely to arrive in Barcelona earlier if we stop. But countering that is the fact that we don't know what will happen in the future and how a 48-hour stop would affect that."

In order to prevent teams from planning stopovers as a race strategy, there are strict rules on what work may and may not be carried out during the pit-stops - for example, the boats may not replace their sails, or intentionally start the race with limited provisions to reduce weight.

Rankings at 14:00 UTC Thursday 17 February

1 - VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 at 11533 miles to finish
2 - MAPFRE at 311 miles to leader
3 - GROUPE BEL at 511 miles
4 - ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at 531 miles
5 - RENAULT Z.E at 850 miles
6 - NEUTROGENA at 1151 miles
6 - MIRABAUD at 1167 miles
8 - HUGO BOSS at 1384 miles
9 - GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at 1680 miles
10 - FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 3387 miles
12 - WE ARE WATER at 4202 miles

Event website -

Barcelona World Race Press Release
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