Despite poor weather conditions in Bareclona, the first encounter between 5 of the 6 boats scheduled to take the start of The Race on December 31st was organised on Saturday.
For their day of scheduled speed tests, the challengers had to cope with East to East South East winds of force 4/5, falling in the middle of the day to force 3 to 4. These conditions were accompanied by a very overcast sky with rain. "It's the sea state that is the problem today", said Loick Peyron, co-skipper of Innovation Explorer, "the wind is falling but the sea remains very choppy, and the mainsail battens suffer a lot".
To avoid damage to the boats a week before the start, the race managers decided to cancel the scheduled speed tests, but requested all the same that the boats group up and sail together off the Barcelona Port Olympic speed base. The sun finally came out making for a magnificent show. "It is very emotional seeing the boats sailing together today," said Bruno Peyron seeing PlayStation, the biggest racing multihull in the world neck and neck with Grant Dalton's Club Med and Cam Lewis' Team Adventure. "Even without it being a true race, one could see that the skippers quickly took up the challenge, and are raring to go", concluded the organiser of The Race.
Saturday saw the arrival of Warta-Polpharma in Barcelona. Roman Paszke was good enough to take his boat out again to spend a few moments with the other challengers.
Team Legato is off Cape San Antonio just south of Valencia, or 177 miles from Barcelona, and is expected to arrive on Sunday morning. Contacted by telephone, Tony Bullimore said that all was well aboard.
For some great pictures from the Race Boats as they warm up, check out the following websites: Giles Martin-Raget ' PPL Media ' See & Sea