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14 November 2007, 10:57 am
Challenging Start To Barcelona World Race Continues
Delta Dore
Delta Dore has had a strong 36 hours

Barcelona World Race 2007-08

The Barcelona World Race fleet is enjoying some wind this morning, but unfortunately, the westerly breeze is right on the nose, so it's upwind sailing to get to Gibraltar, still over 100 miles away.
Overnight, PRB was able to maintain its lead, not sacrificing too many miles to the others to remain at the head of the fleet. It was a difficult night early…near midnight, there was absolutely no wind, but that situation applied across all nine boats, so no one was able to steal a march on the others.

But early in the morning, the westerlies began to build and with most of the fleet inshore, close to Spain, the boats tacked out and are now sailing on starboard tack, out towards the middle of the Med again.

PRB and second-placed Paprec-Virbac 2 are approaching the Isla de Alborán, an island taken by Spain in 1540. The small island (less than a kilometre in length) is home to a lighthouse and a small Spanish naval presence.

The fatigue is starting to set in now, after another long night of working hard to eke out every last knot of boatspeed.

Anticipating what was to come, PRB skipper Vincent RIOU (FRA) set up night like this: "The situation is pretty hard as we are steering all the time. If someone isn't at the helm all the time we just don't move! Just hope things improve a bit!"

And this morning, Jean-Pierre DICK (FRA), skipper on Paprec-Virbac 2 emailed in: "When fatigue finally kicks in after the long sleepless nights, my brain starts to focus on one word that I particularly like saying and it goes into repetition mode. Right now it is "Estrella Damm" which I say with a long "ei" in the middle like 'Estreillllla!' It sounds wonderful, repeating it over and over again…This morning with PRB in sight, I might change the word."

Light and Challenging

Yesterday conditions were still trying for the fleet as they struggled to fight through the light winds plaguing the western Mediterranean. The calm conditions have been the predominant factor through the first two full days of racing and the slow start is beginning to wear on the skippers.

"Last night was frustrating, not really tactical - more a lot of nothing, and that's the hardest thing; you can't really put the autopilot on, there's a lot of sails going up and down, so it's busy and frustrating," reported Hugo Boss skipper Alex THOMSON (GBR). "We feel like we're sticking to the water like glue..."

Over the past 36 hours, Delta Dore has made the biggest jump, it's strategy of sailing along the coast paying dividends overnight last night:

"We didn't want to follow the first guys and preferred to go to the shore," explained skipper Jérémie BEYOU (FRA). "It took a long time to get there but now we know it is a good place for the breeze at night and it was good last night so we hope for the same again."

And that appears to be the strategy for leaders PRB and the second-placed Paprec Virbac 2 as well. After gaining the lead by sailing across the Med to near the African coast, the group of five boats led by PRB spent much of the day racing back towards to Spain, perhaps hoping to find a 'land' breeze overnight caused by the temperature differential between the land and the sea.

If the coastline pays, with Delta Dore, Mutua Madrileña and Veolia Environnement already hugging the shore, there may be an opportunity for some gains there if the boats in the middle of the Med can't close on the coast before the wind dies out tonight.

This could also represent an opportunity for Educación sin Fronteras who remain mired well back of the rest of the fleet after falling behind on the first night. A 'park-up' would allow them back into the race, if the wind remains stronger for them for a few hours.

Race Standings - www.barcelonaworldrace.com/console/default.asp
Barcelona World Race - www.barcelonaworldrace.com

Delta Dore has made good progress over the past 36 hours
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