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Back In The Game

© Gilles Martin-Raget
© Gilles Martin-Raget

After a pit-stop in Bluff, in the very south of New Zealand, which according to skipper Guillermo Altadill would have done an F1 motor racing time proud, Neutrogena is back on the Barcelona World Race course this Saturday afternoon but only making moderate speeds as Altadill and Jose Munoz try to plunge southwards with maximum speed to find the first east bound low pressure system.

An inconveniently positioned high pressure system means that for the moment Neutrogena has not so much roared out of the pit stop in a cloud of burning rubber at 0530hrs UTC this morning as headed south at a fast clip. But the two very highly motivated skippers on board the boat which is back primed to 100 are fully rested and fired up ready to fight for maximum speed over each and every mile to the finish. The duo expected to be into stronger, favourable breezes by tomorrow.

The seven times circumnavigator pledged that he will not look at the rankings and torture himself over coming days. He plans to ignore as best as possible the fact that race leaders Cheminées Poujoulat have now escaped to be 936 miles ahead, nor indeed today's news that Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam are still hobbled by only light breezes themselves. Both first and second placed crews were making just 9.6kts this Saturday afternoon.

Altadill, in good humour and appreaciative of his shore team's coordintated quick efforts said " I will not worry, I dont want to look at the reports of the other boats. I know Cheminées is quite far in front. The boats behind were 1200 miles behind and probably they will be ahead of us, we don't know.  I dont want to know. For the next week I will not check any position reports. I will just concentrate on our boat."

The Spanish skipper explained the engine problem which forced Neutrogenain to New Zealand was a chain of problems linked to water being taken into the engine and various electrical shorts. But the shore team made a thorough inspection of the boat, made excellent use of the mandatory minimum 24hrs, and - according to Altadill - found a few other lurking problems which were sorted which could otherwise have proven expensive.  

Neutrogena still have 430 miles in hand over third placed Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín who in turn are 312 miles ahead of Renault Captur. The Spanish pair have earned another dozen miles on the pursuing fourth placed Jorg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane.

Bruno and Willy Garcia on We Are Water have been negotiating a powerful storm north working SE along the exclusion line. The brothers are now at the "Australian toboggan run" where the Antarctic Exclusion zone slants SE and so they will likely escape the worst of the low. "The option is not faster but safer." said Bruno Garcia today. Tomorrow should be quieter for the Barcelona brothers.

Strong W'ly winds allow both One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton and Spirit of Hungaryto profit nicely. Although they are separated by over 700 miles they are on the same weather system and both averaged 13kts today. Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa were within 400 miles of Cape Leeuwin at 1400hrs this Saturday afternoon.


See all skippers quotes on www.imocaoceanmasters.com

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