After 98 days, 7 hours, 9 minutes and 10 seconds exactly at sea, it has been a truly "unique round the world experience" for both, as reflected by WAVRE 's words just hours from the finish.
"We have been really happy with the boat and it is sad to leave it," said the Swiss skipper, "It is all a bit confusing in my head for the moment - the race is ending, it is a nice life and we always want this kind of sailing to continue. I will need one or two days to take it all in."
Partners in real life as well as a winning combination on the water; WAVRE and PARET have eight circumnavigations between them, the Swiss-French tandem have overcome adversity and faced the extremes of this first edition of the Barcelona World Race up to the very end; battling harsh conditions in the Straits of Gibraltar before enjoying the last few days in some welcome calmer Mediterranean sailing conditions.
"We didn't really talk much." said PARET when asked about their last moments at sea, "We looked at each other and said to ourselves 'well, that's that, we've done it'. We left a little room for emotion and it was as if we were closing the door on the race. But we are here at restaurant time this evening and we're keen to indulge in the pleasures of land!" added the experienced French yachtswoman laughing.
Mutua Madrileña Fourth
After a fierce battle with Temenos II for third place, Spanish skippers Javier "Bubi" SANSÓ and Pachi RIVERO jubilantly crossed the finish line early this morning, 19 February, onboard Mutua Madrileña at 00:18:40 UTC making them the fourth boat home.
A fabulous welcome for the national team as they sailed into the Olympic port on home waters surrounded by spectator fleet, supporters, friends and family after an epic 99 days, 12 hours, 18 minutes and 40 seconds trip around the world.
"We feel we have accomplished our mission," said SANSÓ, "Competition-wise I think we have done a very good job and we are proud of what we have achieved. It would have been excellent to get a third; and we were so close - but Dominique and Michele did a great job! Next time first place!"
Incredibly charismatic and extremely popular both SANSÓ and RIVERO, close friends and sailing colleagues for years, were clearly overwhelmed by their reception in Barcelona; the first lap of the world for both Spaniards, and "a dream come true, the best thing I have ever done," as described by RIVERO.
As disaster struck four of the boats in the first Southern Ocean stretch, a magical race within a race appeared - the chase for a podium position with Swiss-French team Temenos II, a race which was to start in the Indian Ocean and continue right up to the finish line in Barcelona.
"We were obsessed with overtaking them - it has been our main objective and we pushed to the limit, trying to make them feel nervous, and force them into making a wrong move," admitted SANSÓ, "Half our trip around the world was focussed on passing Temenos II! But we have a clear conscience as we never let the pressure off, ever! The competition has been fantastic!"
The announcement of Temenos II pit stop for keel problems was a gleam of hope for the fourth placed Spanish team in pursuit. Yet on 2 January Mutua Madrileña announced they too would be pulling into Wellington to check the boat over thoroughly, repair a number of issues and restore confidence in performance before tackling the remaining 12,000 miles of the race and the infamous Cape Horn.
A slow start out of New Zealand for both teams, but within 48 hours Mutua Madrileña was just 100 miles behind. The match race that ensued provided some of the most breath-taking, exciting and memorable moments of the race; a full-bloodied persecution in the Pacific showing thoroughbred speeds from the Spaniards - the fastest boat to Gate 6 between the Cook Strait and Cape Horn.
"We are very satisfied with our race and the way we have sailed but do feel a little bit frustrated not to have caught Temenos II," admitted SANSÓ, "But it is a first time, we would both like to race again, be 100% competitive and try to win it. In a newer boat and a little faster we could have been up with the leaders!"
The only boat now remaining in the race is Educación Sin Fronteras, approximately 4 days from the finish.
Barcelona World Race - www.barcelonaworldrace.org