At the front of the Barcelona World Race, Paprec Virbac 2 have passed through ice gate C whilst Mutua Madrileña and Temenos II have both stopped in Wellington to make repairs.
Mutua Madrileña stopped in Wellington at 08:00 UTC today 3 January. The Spanish team will be making a general revision and repairs to the boat to get geared up for the next big South Pacific stretch and the famous Cape Horn. Race regulations mean the team must spend a compulsory 48 hours in the New Zealand capital.
Temenos II, who stopped in Wellington yesterday, had some good news - the damage to their keel is superficial and according to skippers Dominique WAVRE (SUI) and Michele PARET (FRA) yesterday: "If all goes to plan, we should be fit to relaunch Temenos II at the end of the day,"
[due to start at 20:00 UTC on 3 Thursday]. "It is a great relief for us. We are very happy to be able to continue the race."
At the front Paprec Virbac 2 is still affected by an area of high pressure, travelling at 11-13 knots, but no bad thing considering the number of icebergs they have spotted in the last five days - yesterday they sent pictures of number nine. They crossed the ice gate C at 01:30 UTC, and are still at 51º30 South and now heading north. Hugo Boss, on their longer, more northerly route, lost 54 miles to them overnight although they are at least 5 knots faster than the Franco-Irish pair in front, and are now awaiting a large low depression.
The more southerly route taken by Paprec-Virbac 2 to the ice gate was much more direct than their rivals Hugo Boss, affectively meaning they took the 'inside lane' closer to Antarctica. It paid off with some big lead gains over Tuesday night, but they need to bank miles while they can - Hugo Boss is expecting favourable weather over the next few days.
"We're expecting to take a bit of breeze down to them over the next couple of days and we hope to close it up quite a bit by the time we get to 'the Horn' [Cape Horn],"
Hugo Boss co-skipper Andrew CAPE (AUS) said. "I'm not saying we're going to be next to each other, but we are going to be closer and it's going to be a full-on race from there, for sure."
The two leaders can afford, for now, to focus just on each other. They have a good lead over the boats behind, especially after third-placed Temenos II had to stop in Wellington to have the damage on their keel assessed.
Educación sin Fronteras is still sailing quickly in fifth place in the race, making 12 knots and sailing downwind from the Cook Strait scoring gate, gaining on the stationary Mutua Madrileña all the time.
Barcelona World Race - www.barcelonaworldrace.org