Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam passed under 5,000 miles to the Barcelona World Race finish line and today also crossed over their own outbound track. The leading duo are starting to feel like the worst of the course is very much behind them. Both skippers have, individually, suffered more than their fair share of ill luck over their careers. Now, if it is not good luck that is running with them it is certainly at least good timing.
Having been pressed east around the big high pressure system in the South Atlantic they have continued to have downwind and broad reaching conditions, making 16,3kts today. But as daytime temperatures rise to become much more acceptable Stamm and Le Cam seem set to gain steadily on their nearest rivals, Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos.
Were it not that it proved to be stuck then there might have been some ceremony yesterday when the leaders tried to slide forwards the protective canopy which protects much of their cockpit space from the sluicing southern ocean waters and driving winds. After a little persuasion they can now enjoy the full 'al fresco' experience, rather than huddling under its shelter. And as the canopy rolls back, so too it seems like the weather door may close on their rivals. It is probable that as a new high pressure builds off the South American coast that Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos will lose more time agains the Swiss-French duo.
Neutrogena,Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz have actually been making distance on the leaders, reducing their deficit by a further 30 miles in the last 24 hours. They may now be 970 miles behind the leading duo, but their route north now appears blocked by a zone of high pressure and winds of just 5-8kts. In contrast Cheminées Poujoulat will be into slightly stronger, more settled E'lies allowing them a due north course to the Equator.
Predictably, the race statistics so far show in favour of Cheminées Poujoulat. Until today they have sailed 21,080 Nms on the water, averaging 14.6kts. They hold the highest 24hrs run at 482.8 Nms on 11th Feburary, the highest 4 hours speed gun average at 21.1kts on that same date. They have lead continuiously since 16th January. Their lead was biggest at 1249 Nms on 26th Feburary. And they are on course for the biggest win in the history of the race.
– Race Media