Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam set the fastest 24 hours run of this edition of the Barcelona World Race so far making 478 miles to 1400hrs this Monday afternoon on Cheminées Poujoulat.
The Swiss-French duo should enter into the Pacific Ocean early tomorrow morning and hold a lead of 237 nm over second placed Neutrogena. The race's only two paired skippers who are both aged over 50, racing at near 50 degrees south the vastly experienced pairing have been able to maintain high averages propelled by favourable conditions on the leading edge of a low pressure system. Cheminées Poujoulat have gained an extra 26 miles on their margin to Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz over that same period.
Their 24 hrs maximum for this edition of the Barcelona World Race still falls about 38 miles short of the 24 hours record for the race which was set on January 22nd 2011 by Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron. But for comparison their IMOCA 60 Virbac Paprec 3 was a brand new generation at the time, whilst the current Cheminées Poujoulat was launched in 2007 as Michel Desjoyeaux's Vendée Globe winning Farr designed Foncia. Stamm has been quicker before, setting his own mark at 507 miles solo in the Vendée Globe in December 2012.
Stamm and Le Cam will pass into the Pacific in good shape. Last time they sailed this stretch of water they were fifth and sixth in the Vendée Globe, Stamm lead his current co-skipper by more than 700 miles.
Comparisons for this race with previous editions of the Barcelona World Race become more and more difficult in real terms now. In fact the real pace set by Stamm and Le Cam is close to that of the race leaders in 2010-2011 but recall that Dick and Peyron stopped into Recife for 48 hours. And now, from this point as they enter the Pacific, in previous editions the leaders would be starting an ascent north to pass through the Cook Straits between North and South Islands New Zealand. This is the first edition to pass directly south of New Zealand, trimming about 2000 miles off the original cour se distance. And of course Dick and Peyron also made a technical stop in New Zealand. So for sure, this race should be faster and it is already closer between first and second.
The intensity for the battle for third and fourth has also been raging harder these past 36 hours because of the tough, strong wind conditions which have been affecting GAES Centros Auditivos and Renault Captur. Fourth placed Renault Captur's German co-skipper Jorg Riechers was succinct when asked today how conditions are: "Windy" He replied.
And when posed the relatively standard off the shelf question by a young Spanish school pupil by satellite phone today, 'what has been your worst moment of the race so far?' Riechers responded that last night's big gybe had been pretty hairy. In big seas and winds to 55kts, the southern ocean rookie was not sounding too enamoured with the the notoriously hostile region baring its teeth.
See all skippers quotes on www.imocaoceanmasters.com