Among those taking advantage of the perfect sunshine and decent 20 knots sailing breezes off Barcelona today, Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella were going through their paces with GAES Centros Auditivos with a TV crew from UK TV channel ITV Meridian, starting their media build up. Some of the Barcelona based crews will also sail on Thursday (weather permitting) for TV helicopter filming.
At 30 days to go Pepe Ribes and Alex Pella are well set, now eagerly awaiting the time when they can line up against the latest generation designs - especially Foncia and Virbac-Paprec 3:
"We really want to start and sail with them, because they are the best," says the highly motivated Ribes. "In fact all our rivals are very strong." .
During their preparation build up the two skippers of Estrella Damm have sailed over 32,000 miles together (more than the course of the Barcelona World Race) updating and improving the boat to stay competitive with these latest IMOCA Open 60's.
Many teams are making best use of an advantageous weather window over the west of France, Spain and the Portuguese coasts offering an ideal mix of fast sailing for final testing, and speedy delivery miles in to the Mediterranean.
Due to leave from this evening their La Rochelle base with the recently refitted Owen Clarke designed Mirabaud should be Dominique Wavre (SUI) and Michèle Paret (FRA)
When their IMOCA Open 60 was Temenos 2, the Swiss-French partners finished third with in the last edition of the Barcelona World Race.
Alex Thomson (GBR) and Andy Meiklejohn (NZL) left Gosport, England on Tuesday morning with the Juan Kouyoumdjian designed Hugo Boss while the Spanish pair Juan Merediz and Fran Palacio bid farewell to Sanxenxo, Galicia also yesterday, setting sail for Barcelona aboard Central Lechera Asturiana (formerly Mutua Madrileña/Ecover 2).
Thomson and Meiklejohn have reported fast downwind sailing conditions in NE'lies since they left Gosport, sailing away from the cold, snowy weather in Northern Europe.
After a rapid dash Tuesday afternoon from his home in Barcelona - where he works full time as a heart surgeon - to Port-la-Forêt, Brittany Bruno Garcia (ESP), the Barcelona World Race's only bona fide 'amateur' co-skipper joined up with his renowned French race partner Jean Le Cam on Président (ex Ecover 3). The duo slipped their lines at 2300hrs Tuesday night bound directly for Barcelona.
This Wednesday evening around 18:00hrs the first round the world race for Ryan Breymaier (USA) and Boris Hermann (GER) takes on a very real dimension as they are due to leave the Concarneau base of Roland Jourdain's Team Kairos with Neutrogena Norwegian Formula for their delivery passage.
At their base in Sanxenxo, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez have been completing their final stability and structural security testing and measurement with their Farr designed IMOCA Open 60 iker-xabi.com (ex Foncia) before the double Olympic 49er medallists set off for Barcelona.
And closest to Barcelona, where both teams have the comparative luxury of short delivery miles, Kito de Pavant and Sebastien Audigane's VPLP/Verdier designed Groupe Bel is due in Barcelona around 15-16th December from Port Camargue, east along the French Mediterranean coast.
After Kito had to abandon his Route du Rhum due to problems with the keel canting system final work is being completed there. In fact De Pavant reports this was a system which was already scheduled to be updated and changed during this period.
Some 60 miles to the south west of Barcelona, in Tarragona, the Barcelona World Race first and only Polish skipper Kris Ozcwareck along with Armand Coursodon (FRA) are also completing final work to Fruit, the evergreen Finot-Conq design which must rank as the race's most successful round the world performer.
As PRB the IMOCA Open 60 won successive Vendée Globe round the world races in 2000 and 2004 before finishing fourth with Sam Davies in 2008-9, and now is on course for a fourth circumnavigation.
2010-2011 Barcelona World Race, Entries:
Central Lechera Asturiana : Juan Merediz (ESP) - Fran Palacio (ESP)
Estrella Damm : Alex Pella (ESP) - Pepe Ribes (ESP)
Foncia : Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) - François Gabart (FRA)
Fòrum Marítim Català : Gerard Marín (ESP) - Ludovic Aglaor (FRA)
Fruit : Kris Owczarek (POL) - Armand Coursodon (FRA)
GAES Centros Auditivos : Dee Caffari (GBR) - Anna Corbella (ESP)
Groupe Bel : Kito De Pavant (FRA) - Sébastien Audigane (FRA)
Hugo Boss : Alex Thomson * (GBR) - Andrew Meiklejohn (NZL).
Mirabaud : Dominique Wavre* (SUI) - Michèle Paret* (FRA)
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula : Boris Herrmann (GER) - Ryan Breymaier (USA)
Président : Jean Le Cam (FRA) - Bruno García (ESP)
Renault : Pachi Rivero(ESP) - Antonio Piris (ESP)
Virbac-Paprec 3 : Jean-Pierre Dick* (FRA) - Loïck Peyron (FRA)
We are Water : Jaume Mumbrú (ESP) - Cali Sanmartí (ESP)
www.iker-xabi.com: Iker Martinez (ESP) - XABIER Fernandez (ESP)
* denotes skippers who participated in the previous edition of the Barcelona World Race
Event Website - www.barcelonaworldrace.org