Two more Barcelona World Race yachts approach the Mediterranean

There are just hours left for One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton in the Atlantic. Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa are predicted to cross into their home Mediterranean Sea early this Easter Sunday evening, becoming the fourth team in the Barcelona World Race to do so.

Following in their footsteps, We Are Water are just 70 miles behind – having shed just 5 miles over the past 24 hours. In terms of the 27,000 or so miles sailed, these tiny fluctuations in margin are a tiny percentage, but in the approach to Barcelona, they could become defining.

Light and unstable breezes south-westerlies in the Gulf of Cadiz have slowed One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton, and We Are Water, to just under 6 knots for this afternoon. Willy Garcia earlier explained that conditions were forecast to change dramatically as they passed through the Straits: “We are now with light winds, some rain and very light winds for the approach to the Gibraltar Strait.

“The forecast [for the crossing of the Straits] is for easterly winds, 20-25 knots, so we know that in other parts it can be more. And then for the next days also east and north-east winds, 20-25 knots.”

This easterly Levante wind in the Alboran Sea is likely to shift to a north-easterly direction, meaning that the battle for fourth place could yet be decided by a long beat to Barcelona.

Willy Garcia commented that the fight will not be over until the very end: “Our goal now is to go as fast as possible. Once past Gibraltar will have to see what strategy we choose. We will have strong easterly and north-easterly winds, but hopefully not too much to navigate without breaking anything, and we hope to find some advantage which we can exploit. Until we cross the finish line, anything can happen.

“The Med is not easy. The forecast announces upwind conditions, with fresh and strong winds, and we have to sail maybe near the coast so it’s never easy with marine traffic, boats, fishermen.”

Boost to trade

Some 1,400 miles behind, Renault Captur briefly tacked east to approach the course of their predecessors, but a few hours later once again set a northerly course. Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane have been the slowest in the last 24 hours, with 5 knots average boat speed and just 120 miles traveled, as the cold front which promises stronger trade winds remains stubbornly just out of reach to the north. Once Renault Captur reaches this new band of pressure they will pick up 18 knot north-easterlies to accelerate their passage past the latitude of the Canary Islands, over 800 miles to the east of their course.

Just over 1,100 miles to the south, Spirit of Hungary are also beginning to benefit from improved trade winds conditions, with Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman now making miles to the north with over 9 knot boatspeed averages.

Rankings Sunday 5th April at 1400hrs UTC

  1. Cheminées Poujoulat (B. Stamm – J. Le Cam) – finished 25/03/2015 at 17:50:25 UTC in 84d 05h 50min 25s
  2. Neutrogena (G Altadill – J Muñoz) finished 30/03/2015 at 23:47:00 UTC in 89d 11h 47min
  3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella – G Marín) finished 01/04/2015 at 17:09:28 UTC in 91d 05h 9min 28s
  4. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert – D Costa) + 557.6 miles to Barcelona
  5. We Are Water (B Garcia – W Garcia) + 70.5 miles leader
  6. Renault Captur (J Riechers – S Audigane) + 1488.8 miles to leader
  7. Spirit of Hungary (N Fa – C Colman) + 2192.7 miles to leader?
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