After a spell last night and today during which almost all of the Barcelona World Race fleet were in light or moderate winds, in the Atlantic and the Pacific, it looks more like Transition Time is ringing for many. The exception to the calls of 'It's Not Normally Like This Here' was Jorg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane on Renault Captur who were motoring across the Pacific at their statutory, speed limited 15-16kts, riding a fairly typical low pressure.
The regime of reaching and downwind sailing was rudely interrupted for a few hours for Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam on Cheminées Poujoulat. The race leaders, just north of the latitude of Rio, will transition tonight into the more regular SE'ly tradewinds. They are now sailing the reciprocal course of the Transatlantic races that they have done many times in their career and that will enhance their feeling of returning home. Indeed Le Cam won the Transat Jacques Vabre into Brazil's Itajai 16 months ago, and both have been several times to Salvador de Bahia which they will pass Saturday. And from now until the Doldrums the leaders will enjoy a regular, if bouncy, ride north.
Also in transiton are Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos. Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz are on the cusp of breaking into NW'lies which will back into the SW to give Neutrogena a welcome fast ride in reaching and downwind conditions. Having done 48 hours penance in light, fickle and frustrating winds generated by the high pressure, as a new low builds from Uruguay the second and third placed boats can take full advantage.
Munoz is enjoying his race with the vastly experienced Altadill, often mentioning the lessons and learning he has derived from his Spanish co-skipper. But the Chilean said today he is missing the Pacific. The chilly waters and winds feel much more like home, he admitted, and – just a little – he is wrestling with the notion that while Altadill is heading home, he is sailing away from home!
Asked today if he was enjoying sailing away from the south, he said: “Not so much, because that’s my home, even when it was quite cold it felt like home. Now the weather starts to get warmer (laughs). It is another type of sailing; something completely different. In the South there are always many different things, high pressure, low pressure, anticyclone … and how they form themselves on the sea. It is a little extreme, but you can also choose how to deal with it. We have a good boat and I have a very good skipper so we are looking for the best route to move fast and make the best of our position that we can all the way to Barcelona.”
In the Pacific, We Are Water and One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton are approaching Cape Horn and both have taken a little northing now. AleixGelabert and Didac Costa continue to drive the ex Kingfisher hard and effectively and are now just 107 miles direct line distance behind Bruno and WillyGarcia. We Are Water are 750 miles from Cape Horn.
Renault Captur have the strongest breeze of the fleet right now. They can have mixed feelings. On the one hand they are gybing every 50 or 60 miles because they are downwind and so at last half the time their damaged rudder is not so stressed, but that is also especially labour intensive. The strong breezes are allowing them to catch miles on the two in front but at 550 miles they are still out of touch meantime.
A change is due too for Spirit of Hungary where the Pacific has been more like summer on Nandor Fa's native Lake Balaton. Clear blue skies, 10-12kts of breeze and an easy routine means he and Conrad Colman are getting maximum sleep, ready for the resumption of strong winds at the weekend.
Conrad Colman (NZL) Spirit of Hungary: “The race sailed away for us a long time ago so there is no point in getting upset about the situation. So we are sailing as best we can with what we have. That is pretty much all we can do a the moment. We are enjoying being at sea at the moment. We have incredibly clear skies thanks to high pressure. We have beautiful moon which is like a super strong spotlight on us and so we can wander around, we can almost read books it is so strong with the full moon. We are not going very fast but it is certainly a great place to be at sea now.”
Seb Audigane (FRA) Renault Capt ur: “We are doing it on Renault Captur. We are under reefed mainsail and J3 and the seas are very very big There are 25 and 35 knots wind which is not that much, but in these seas it is hard going. Besides, this morning we had a small problem, but it's there all the time really. But then it will go a bit because we jibe soon at the exclusion zone. But then it's not great as the wind has turned to the west, so now we will be forced to make small legs of 50 miles each, downwind from here, heading to … Cape Horn.”
Rankings 05/03/15 at 1400hrs UTC
1 Cheminées Poujoulat (B Stamm – J Le Cam) at 4325 miles to finish
2 Neutrogena (G Altadill – J Muñoz) + 1270 miles to leader
3 GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella – G Marin) + 1397 miles to leader
4 We Are Water (B Garcia – W Garcia) + 3338 miles to leader
5 One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert – D Costa) + 3547 miles to leader
6 Renault Captur (J Riechers – S Audigane) + 4073 miles to leader
7 Spirit of Hungary (N Fa – C Colman) + 5657 miles to leader
ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson – P. Ribes)