Paprec Virbac 2 continues to dominate the Barcelona World Race, is through gate 7 and now just over 3,000 miles from home.
Paprec Virbac 2 has crossed race gate 7 at the Fernando de Noronha Islands and for the second time (it was also race gate 3)! Yesterday evening the Franco-Irish team of Jean Pierre DICK (FRA) and Damian FOXALL (IRL) passed latitude 03º49S at 20:25:00 UTC and with an elapsed time of 14 days, 14 hours and 5 minutes!
The fastest boat still on the fleet, DICK and FOXALL covered 323 miles in 24 hours leading up to gate 7 and are still averaging a steady 13 knots as they stretch ahead. As the leaders target Gibraltar, the rest of the fleet are suffering in the lighter stuff behind them.
The team's remarkable lead, up to 861nm at the latest poll, is the result of some really hard grind, as FOXALL explained in a recent email, "Finally some nice sailing here in the South Atlantic - straight at the mark and clocking off the miles. It's a far cry from the tough upwind we have been dealing with since the Falklands; the toughest part being the race ahead of the cold front and the aftermath which left us well north but with a shitty seaway and both drained of energy,"
After a very slow day for Hugo Boss on Thursday, their speeds were finally back up to 11-12 knots most of last night, but the frustratingly feeble conditions have taken their toll on Alex TOMPSON (GBR) and Andrew CAPE (AUS), who yesterday lost a further 100 miles to the leaders, and are now 861 miles behind. They will be relieved to at least be heading to the gate at speed.
Further south the remaining three boats in the fleet have been struggling with force 1-3 winds as average boat speeds will show, and although they seem to have picked up a couple of knots overnight, Temenos II, the fastest in 24 hours of this pack only covered 166 miles. Dominique WAVRE (SUI) and Michele PARET (FRA) have managed to extend their lead to 81 miles and are now clearly further north than Mutua Madrileña, but the two are now in clearly different conditions; the Swiss-French tandem with better south southeasterly winds and their Spanish rivals on a bumpier ride in northwesterlies although currently a tad faster.
Eduacion sin Fronteras is now just 1,235 miles behind Mutua Madrileña! They are keeping a steady 9-10 knots now at 51ºS and very happy to be in the Atlantic!
Just how much the fleet close in on each other will be very interesting to watch, as Javier SANSÓ (ESP) said with great irony onboard Mutua Madrileña yesterday, studying weather reports right now is real "fun and games" ….and is sure to be causing some hair pulling for more than one of the navigators!
Barcelona World Race - www.barcelonaworldrace.org