• Barcelona World Race: Double-Handed Around the World


    Two different oceans, two different states of mind.

    By evening 13 of the 14 Barcelona World RACE fleet should be in the Atlantic, the leaders off Casablanca making good speed upwind towards the first frontal system of the race. At the top of the rankings for more than 48 hours Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron are on course for the Canaries and their next tactical choice.

    Some may be in separate oceans, dealing with very different conditions, but the moods of the Barcelona World RACE skippers today spanned a full range of emotions and each did not necessarily directly reflect their current fortunes.

    Not unexpectedly race leaders Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron on Virbac-Paprec 3, cutting a classic saw-tooth course south and west, south and west under blue skies in the Atlantic, were brimful of the joys of more consistent SW’ly wind and a return to the ocean racing rhythm that the duo – who won the Transat Jacques in 2005 together – know well.

    Contacted for today’s videoconference, the livewire Peyron was clearly full of energy and both skippers revitalised after their tiring endeavours in the Mediterranean.

    They still hold a lead of some 56 miles on second placed Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart on Foncia and the leading duo were steadily making more than 10 knots this afternoon on their similar latest generation VPLP/Verdier designs which were launched in different hemispheres this year.

    “The sky is a beautiful blue.” Smiled Dick, “ It is good to be able to enjoy the moment. The Mediterranean was a bit difficult. It was extremely labourious. We breathed a sigh of relief after passing Gibraltar escaping as if we had been trapped in a fishing net. We are now into a more classical rhythm more typical of ocean racing.”

    In fourth place Alex Pella on Estrella Damm, now 22 miles behind Dominique Wavre (SUI) and Michèle Paret (FRA)on Mirabaud, also reflected today that the Barcelona duo, top Spanish boat in the fleet, are pretty happy with their lot:

    “ We are pretty happy with where we are in the fleet now. The level of the fleet is very high. Our objective is to make as few mistakes as possible and to do what we know best. At the moment I suppose we have made fewer mistakes than those behind us and more than those who are ahead of us, but we are OK, we are good with that!”

    They might not be where they would hope to be, 14th with a deficit of 345 miles on the leaders, but Wouter Verbraak (NED) was upbeat and objective about their situation on Hugo Boss, pointing out that he and Andy Meiklejohn (NZL) had gelled well and were lifting each other well despite their lack of wind and troubles getting to Gibraltar. They were hoping to clear into the Mediterranean late today but still had 60 miles to make this afternoon.

    But less sanguine was Ludovic Aglaor (FRA) on FMC. “This is still the Med. It is a lottery.” The Franco Catalan duo were lining up to break free at just after 1700hrs UTC hard on the heels of Renault ZE Sailing Team. Their Toño Piris (ESP) was also slightly dejected at their placing and how long it had taken them to pass Gibraltar.

    “ The Mediterranean has been like we have rarely seen it, everything against us, wind and current. The best gift of the Kings will be to escape from the Straits.”

    Piris was however getting the Kings’ day present that he had hoped for as they reached Atlantic waters at around 1650hrs UTC, with Central Lechera Asturiana and FMC all looking like they will not be far behind, all within 3.5 miles of each other.

    And while the top four boats really have a decent jump on the fleet, from fifth placed Neutrogena to ninth placed Groupe Bel there is just 20 miles between them in terms of DTF. Even this evening’s escape posse Renault ZE Sailing Team, FMC, and Central Lechera Asturiana are packed tight for an engaging descent of the Atlantic.

    So times may have been difficult recently in the light breezes and strong currents but this Atlantic stage will lack for nothing because of that.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Barcelona World Race: Double-Handed Around the World started by Max Headway View original post