With second placed Neutrogena still slowed in a high pressure zone of light winds since Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz restarted from their New Zealand pitstop, both GAES Centros Auditivos and Renault Captur having continued to slash their deficit behind Altadil and Munoz. Second place on the podium of the Barcelona World Race is opening up with each mile that the two chasing IMOCA 60s gain.
This Sunday afternoon the delta between Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos is cut to a much more tenable 99 miles. Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín are still making a VMG - velocity made good - of 13.6kts while Altadill and Munoz are still battling south with a net VMG of 3.6kts, hardly making any easting at all meantime.
Forecasts indicate that Neutrogena are in the last hours of their light airs ordeal since leaving Bluff and imminently they will pick up a favourable NW to W 20-25kts breeze. One can fully comprehend why Altadill insisted he would not be tracking any of his rivals or checking their positions for the coming days, for sure he and Munoz are pushing their boat as fast as possible and additional stress, knowing how quickly they are being caught, would not add to their speed and drive.
The next key longitude for the trio which are now in the match for second is the antimeridian. A current routing for the trio given today's weather outlook has Neutrogena cross just four hours before GAES Centros Auditivos, Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín passing into the 'west' some 100 miles further south. Extending that routing to a point four days forwards shows Neutrogena just five hours ahead and Renault Captur, Jorg Riechers and Seb Audigane, 18 hours behind Neutrogena. The game is opened between the two Farr designs and the Finot-Conq former BritAir which holds fourth.
Riechers said today: "I think now it is interesting because the race for second place is now a three boat race, unfortunately for Neutrogena. So we are looking forwards to a nice battle for second place to the end in Barcelona. But I think Guillermo has a fast boat. He should be able to hold on to second." " Our strategy? Well you can't really do a strategy with the ice zone exclusion zone. It dictates what you can and cant do. It is a little bit like the outcome of the race is in the hands of Aeolus and Guillermo. In the Southern Ocean you cannot really go for a strategy, you see what is happening and take it as it comes."
Sunday has been a bit of red letter day for Spirit of Hungary which has been reducing the lead of Cheminées Poujoulat. Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman have had the foot right down on Fa's self-designed IMOCA 60 and were quickest of the fleet this morning, bringing their deficit down under the 4000 miles mark again. Such small consolations are a good morale boost for the Hungarian-Kiwi duo who continue to show great fighting spirit.
Race leaders Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam are also about to get moving at speed again after more than two days slowed. Their VMG is 12.4 kts today while the best has been Renault Captur. We Are Water have emerged from their worst period of stormy weather of the race so far. One Planet One Ocean have been in sunshine and 15-20kts breezes and were crossing Cape Leeuwin this afternoon or evening.
See all skippers quotes on www.imocaoceanmasters.com