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13 November 2007, 10:03 am
PRB Makes Early Running
PRB at the start
PRB looks to hold the early advantage

Barcelona World Race 2007-08

Overnight, the crew on Delta Dore have made big gains along the Spanish coast, clawing their way up the Barcelona World Race leaderboard, but it's PRB who looks to hold the early advantage.
Using the shoreline effect, the team found a nice, gentle, northerly breeze to escape from Mutua Madrileña and Veolia Environnement.

"The second night has not been any easier than the first," wrote in Delta Dore skipper Jérémie BEYOU (FRA).

Meanwhile, at the head of the fleet, PRB gybed on starboard gybe in the northeasterly wind to head towards the Spanish coast, while Paprec-Virbac 2 sailed closer to the North African coast before also gybing to square up its position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. With PRB now gybing back, Paprec and PRB are on converging courses, with Vincent RIOU's (FRA) PRB looking like it will make the cross ahead.

It also appears as if the crews on board Estrella Damm, Hugo Boss and Temenos II have had a more frustrating night. Positioned nearly square in the middle of the Med, they seem to have had less wind, and more fickle conditions, dropping miles to the leaders.

The current weather models are forecasting light 5 to 10 knot northeasterlies for most of today, but the wind is expected to ease significantly overnight. Putting miles under the keel during the day on Tuesday will be critical.

Softly, Softly

After Sunday's start the Barcelona World Race got off to a gentle start, but that was perhaps no less demanding on the skippers than a gale would have been. The weather situation is complex and difficult to decipher with light, fluky winds making the early part of this race a potential minefield.

The entire fleet of nine IMOCA 60s came through its first 24 hours at sea in good condition, with each team reporting in to say they had experienced no major difficulties. When the boats are as complex and cutting-edge as these, that's no mean feat.

Sailing in light conditions since the start has meant the top three boats were within three miles of each other on the 16:00 UTC poll yesterday. The fleet split around the island of Ibiza, with the leaders sailing to the east of the famed island, while Veolia Environnement, Mutua Madrilena and Delta Dore staying closer to the Spanish mainland. This has put them nearly 20 miles behind the top boat.

Ensconced in the top group of three, Estrella Damm co-skipper Jonathan MCKEE (USA) says he doesn't feel particularly smart in making that decision regarding Ibiza but he's happy with how it turned out:

"It was a hard decision and it wasn't one made with a lot of confidence...I think all of the other boats would tell you the same thing. For some reason, the weather models are having a difficult time dealing with the conditions right now," he said. At the time, Estrella Damm was sailing in close company with Paprec-Virbac 2 and PRB, making about 6 knots of speed in 6 knots of wind.

"For tonight it is going to be very tough to choose our route. The forecast is for it to get lighter again, and we know that a small distance can end up making a very big difference so we really have to concentrate tonight."

Each of the skippers spoke of their satisfaction with finally being at sea after the long preparation period for the race. Vincent RIOU (FRA), whose PRB raced through the spectator fleet at the start, said despite some close encounters with the hundreds of boats crowding the starting line, he was thrilled to see so much support for the race.

And Servanne ESCOFFIER (FRA), who with skipper Albert BARGUES (FRA) is mired at the back of the fleet after running into calms at the Sitges buoy last night, was nonetheless effusive about being off the dock and getting into the race.

"It was very emotional saying goodbye to friends and family, but now that we're on the water, we're getting into our system and its very good out here," she said.

16:00 UTC Positions with distance to go

1 PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 - 24428.6
2 ESTRELLA DAMM - 24430.5
3 PRB - 24431.2
4 HUGO BOSS - 24440.0
5 TEMENOS 2 - 24443.2
7 DELTA DORE - 24446.6

Polling data is kept from the sailors and the public overnight, in order to allow teams to make tactical breaks, without their rivals watching their every move. The first public position report each day will be at 06:00 UTC.

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