The Barcelona World Race tells the tale of the 'haves' and the 'have nots' today. Leaders Chemineés Poujoulat have plenty of perfect breeze, sprinting nearly due east at speeds peaking at more than 20kts, while the chasing pack 'have not' and are stymied by the Saint Helena high pressure which seems loathe to relinquish its grip, delivering only light and unstable breezes for those battling to descend to the Southern Ocean.
Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam are ripping distance away from the fleet, not least because their course is a straight line due East, whilst second placed Neutrogena, now 500 miles SW of the leader, were still making SE this afternoon in much more modest breezes, despite being south, 42 deg S. The strategy of Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz is much more about long term, but in the here and now they have conceded 30 miles between 0900hrs and 1400hrs UTC and the lead of Chemineés Poujoulat is now 192 miles. Cheminées Poujoulat had about 1250 miles to go to pass the first of the three great capes, Good Hope.
Racing in what is usually fertile 'record' territory, Cheminées Poujoulat are a few miles shy of the pace set on the 2010-11 race by Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron on Virbac-Paprec 3. The French duo sailed 506 miles on this day four years ago, Stamm and Le Cam made 436 miles in the 24 hours to 1400hrs UTC this afternoon.
In third Anna Corbella and Gérard Marin on GAES Centros Auditivos were trapped in a ridge of high pressure, a tentacle from Saint Helena, and rather than the might of of the Roaring 40s it was 'trying to get south in not very much wind at 38 degrees south' for the Spanish pair. Of the light winds she and Marin have been having, Corbella wrote:
” Right now we are in a calm that comes as 'rain in May', which gives us a chance to fix what what we broke yesterday… I do not know what we would do at GAES Centros Auditivos without these calm chances to repair things.“
Reality bites hard for Jorg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane. They started their Barcelona World Race on Renault Captur three weeks ago today with hopes of a podium, but – still snared in the South Atlantic High – they are nearly 600 miles from GAES Centros Auditivos who hold in third. Riechers and Audigane are actually closer to fifth – 300 miles or so ahead of We Are Water today but Bruno and Willy Garcia are now also 60 miles further south and were sailing five knots faster.
” It’s not that brilliant this morning, as we’re stuck in a calm and finding it hard to get out. We’re trying to make our way south and the wind can’t be far ahead of us now. We’ve had a lot of little repairs to do and can’t wait to do some real racing. I know we’ve been saying that since the start and I probably sound bitter.” said Audigane rufeully this morning,
” We decided to get through the Doldrums quite some way east. We made our way more or less through that. Then, we had a few technical problems, in particular with the mast track, which was damaged. That slowed us down and we’re still paying the price.“
Sébastien Audigane (FRA) Renault Captur:I “t’s not that brilliant this morning, as we’re stuck in a calm and finding it hard to get out. We’re trying to make our way south and the wind can’t be far ahead of us now. We’ve had a lot of little repairs to do and can’t wait to do some real racing. I know we’ve been saying that since the start and I probably sound bitter.
“We decided to get through the Doldrums quite some way east. We made our way more or less through that. Then, we had a few technical problems, in particular with the mast track, which was damaged. That slowed us down and we’re still paying the price.
“We decided to take a more easterly route as we knew we wouldn’t be able to get through where the others were, because the route was going to be blocked by the St. Helena high. We thought we had found an escape route through it. It seemed to be working yesterday, but it hasn’t worked out. I think the two brothers are stuck in there too. There are still many miles left to sail… But it’s like the Berlin wall ahead, so that isn’t going to help us. There are small areas of high pressure forming between the lows. That could block the leaders, but I don’t really think that will happen. So it’s looking complicated.
“Someone is stopping us from getting to the Southern Ocean, but we can’t wait to get down there. But we’re going to have to repair a few things and prepare the boat for that. We don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. Jörg can’t wait to get down there. We haven’t really talked about that though, as we’ve been focusing on getting out of here.”
On the different boats:
” I knew what the boats were like before we set off and I knew which boat I would have chosen. Armel’s boat (Renault Captur) is fairly powerful which was a different choice from the Verdier designs. The boat is nice enough. Before reaching the equator, we were able to push the boat a bit under gennaker. But it takes a lot of work to get her moving.”
Willy Garcia, ESP, We Are Water: “We are sailing down towards the Southern Ocean. We are sailing down to catch the strong westery winds in the south but at the moment we are in the light winds of the high pressure system.
“We are alway looking forwards to the boat in front, Renault Captur, but One Planet One Ocean are not that for behind and so we have to look behind as well as forwards.
“The best experience so far was the start when there were so many people were on the pontoon and they were on the pontoon. It was lovely. The worst thing was the Mediterreanean when we missed an opportunity to go with the fleet. And we took one day more to get out of the Mediterranean. That was the worst thing.”
Rankings at 1400hrs UTC Wednesday 21st January 2015.
1 Cheminées Poujoulat (B. Stamm – J. Le Cam) at 18.969,0 miles to the finish
2 Neutrogena (G. Altadill – J. Muñoz) + 192,8 miles to the leader
3 GAES Centros Auditivos (A. Corbella – G. Marín) + 377,8 miles to the leader
4 Renault Captur (J. Riechers – S. Audigane) + 961,7 miles to the leader
5 We Are Water (B. Garcia – W. Garcia) + 1.201,3 miles to the leader
6 One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton (A. Gelabert – D. Costa) + 1.354,3 miles to the leader
7 Spirit of Hungary (N. Fa – C. Colman) + 1.616,4 miles to the leader
ABD Hugo Boss (A. Thomson – P. Ribes)