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16 December 2007, 07:39 pm
Veolia Environnement Rejoins BWR
Veolia Environnement at the Kerguelen Islands
Veolia Environnement at the Kerguelen Islands

Barcelona World Race 2007-08

Early this morning, Veolia Environnement departed from the Kerguelen Islands to rejoin the Barcelona World Race, whilst at the front Paprec-Virbac 2 has consolidated its lead.
It was 00:50 UTC when skipper Roland JOURDAIN (FRA) slipped his mooring in Port aux Français, to sail out again into the Southern Ocean.

It was a slow beginning as for several hours the boat was sheltered in the lee of the island. But by mid-morning, Veolia Environnement was back up to pace and trying to cut into the advantage held by the leaders. By the 14:00 UTC position report, Veolia Environnement was the fastest boat in the fleet.

The stop was necessary to repair their engine, a critical component in keeping batteries charged and electronics functioning.

Helped by a team of mechanics and technicians, JOURDAIN and Jean-Luc NÉLIAS (FRA) worked hard to find the source of the problem: "Even after working from Friday night, through to Saturday, it still took us seven or eight hours to get the engine started and to recharge its batteries," co-skipper NÉLIAS explained. "We then decided to sleep for three hours before setting out again early. We were absolutely exhausted as we'd only been able to sleep for eight hours in total over the past three days."

They have a monumental task ahead of them as race leader Paprec-Virbac 2 has consolidated its position after a difficult beginning to the weekend. Skipper Jean-Pierre DICK (FRA) has recovered 30 miles from yesterday to lead Hugo Boss by 150 miles. Veolia is nearly 700 miles further behind.

"Yesterday we were mad, but today we feel a bit better," acknowledged DICK. "We're using the pilot a little now to try and preserve our energy - there's a long way to go. We just eat, sleep and spend time on deck, only this."

"We found a good lane, but I expect they'll take some miles back now," acknowledged Alex THOMSON (GBR) from Hugo Boss this afternoon. And indeed, on the 16:00 position report, Hugo Boss was nearly a full five knots slower than the race leader.

Further back in the fleet, Educación sin Fronteras and Mutua Madrileña are preparing for a powerful low pressure system that is due to hit them in the next two or three days. For today however, they're enjoying good conditions and making some of their best speeds of the race.

On Friday afternoon, Estrella Damm was forced to retire from the Barcelona World Race following its diversion to Cape Town to repair a problem with its rudders.

In a press release, the team stated: "It has been possible to repair the rudder system, but it has become evident to the team that it will not be possible to test the rudder system fully and get Estrella Damm back in the race to stay in contention with the remainder of the fleet within a reasonable timeframe. In addition, the serious consideration of safety for the skippers and the boat rejoining the race at its most perilous stage has to be taken into account."

Barcelona World Race - www.barcelonaworldrace.org
Barcelona World Race (As Amended by ISAF)
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