Within hours of each other Spirit of Hungary were finally forced to bow to the inescapable truth that they have to pitstop into Invercargill, South Island NZ and Renault Captur have left Wellington NZ after completing their own pit-stop.
The Spirit of Hungary duo Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman had made every possible effort to repair or remove their damaged, stuck mainsail slide. Between them they have climbed to the damaged car five times over the last three days, trying at all costs to avoid a pitstop which it seems will almost certainly lose them their best chance of catching Renault Captur. But the news came during last night that Fa and Colman are re-routing towards Invercargill where Kiwi Colman's friends and family will do all they can to assist a smooth turnaround. In his blog this morning Colman seemed to indicate that their stop should be no more than the 24 hours minimum required by the Barcelona World Race rules.
At 0500hrs UTC this morning, just when Spirit of Hungary had 550 miles to sail to Invercargill – due to arrive around mid morning to mid afternoon Tuesday – the 30 hours pit stop of Jorg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane ended in Wellington. With their starboard rudder repaired by local composite specialist Matt Gottard of MG Composites (ex Hakes Marine who built Dee Caffari's IMOCA 60 Aviva), keel sorted and their J2 headsail fixed, Renault Captur was facing light winds to start with but should get into 20-25kts downwind to get their race back on track. But from challenging for third, or maybe even second, the German-French partnership are down to sixth and have a 614 miles mountain to climb if they are to catch One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton. With just under half of the race course left they have a fighting chance of achieving that.
“It was good. ” Said Riechers of their pit stop. ” We solved the rudder problem and are happy to be back on the seas. We will see what happens and how we can get back into it. At the moment it is difficult to say, it is hard to say what is happening with the winds. There is a low pressure coming down so we will see how that works.”
” We had a really, really good team over there who are fixing everything, the rudder was Matt Gotthard (MG Composites) who organised the pitstop. We had the J2 repaired which needed minor repairs. We cleaned the boat which is full of diesel after we had some bad broaches. Apart from that we had a look at the boat and verified the boat a lot.”
” We had a nice shower, some good food. It was brilliant.” Reichers added, ” It is bad to lose places, we feel bad about that, but there is nothing we can do. We try to get back in the race, do our best to get back the places which were lost. We lost 2000 miles.”
Cheminées Poujoulat are lining up their approach to Cape Horn with 530 miles to go this Monday afternoon. Barcelona World Race leaders Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam have a lead of 1063 miles ahead of Neutrogena and were making a solid 16-17kts of boat speed today in a 17-20kts breeze from almost due south. They are racing at the same latitude as Cape Horn, 55 deg S, but will rise a little more north before setting course for their rounding Tuesday afternoon.
Guillermo Altadill and José Muñoz have extended their lead over Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín to just on 60 miles this afternoon. The Neutrogena pair have the increasing benefit of better, stronger winds that their rivals who are behind the leading edge of the front, in more unsettled breezes and messed up seas. Chilean Muñoz is looking forwards most to Cape Horn. He recalled today that when he passed in 2008-9 friends and family were out to greet them.
In fourth and fifth respectively, the delta between We Are Water and their pursuers One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton is still shrinking. It is now down to 209 miles with Alex Gelabert and Didac Costa making almost three knots quicker than the Garcia brothers on We Are Water. The fourth placed boat is sailing more downwind in slightly lighter pressure and so having to gybe.
– Race Media