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Barcelona World Race: a two-speed Atlantic

© Gaes Sailing Team
© Gaes Sailing Team
  • Cheminées Poujoulat with a five-day lead at the equator?
  • Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos slowed
  • New Zealand pit-stop proves very costly

Jean Le Cam and Bernard Stamm were left with a bitter memory of their slog up the South Atlantic in the last Vendée Globe. To make the equator, they had to contend with northerly winds and breaking seas… However, for this 3rd edition of the Barcelona World Race it seems that luck has been on their side. Indeed, by timing the rounding of a zone of high pressure to perfection, they’ve once again stolen a march on their pursuers.

It cannot be emphasised enough that an ocean race is never over till it’s over. That said, barring major technical issues, it’s clear that the crew of Cheminées Poujoulat must be beginning to smell victory. Boasting a lead of nearly 1,300 miles in relation to its closest rival, Neutrogena, the Franco-Swiss duo is starting to enjoy a degree of comfort from the safety of their position at the front of the pack. Indeed Guillermo Altadill and José Muñoz would need a 30% speed differential to be in with a chance of securing a win.

Three visits to New Zealand

In the end some three crews took the decision to make a stopover in New Zealand. Following on from Neutrogena’s trip to Bluff at the far end of South Island, it was Renault Captur, which opted to divert to Wellington to repair a damaged rudder, then Spirit of Hungary, it too favouring Bluff. Each time the stopover resulted in a minimum loss of 800 miles. Guillermo Altadill and José Muñoz left the majority of their dreams of victory behind them there, while Sébastien Audigane and Jörg Riechers dropped to sixth position and have now had to abandon any hope of a podium place. As for Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman, they are embroiled in another race entirely, one where time is their only adversary.  Though material damage does not have such dramatic consequences as it would during the Vendée Globe, it’s plain to see that consistency pays. A pit-stop must not be viewed as a last resort when the safety of the crew is at stake.

Four new Cape Horners over the weekend

On Saturday, the two Garcia brothers, Bruno and Willy, are set to make the foot of Cape Horn on We Are Water and in so doing will realise a childhood dream. They’re likely to be tailed a few hours later by Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa aboard One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton. Four new Cape Horners in 24 hours is par for the course in the Barcelona World Race, which enables sailors to do battle double-handed before, perhaps, embarking on a series of solo challenges or further confirming their talent. The example of Gerard Marin and Anna Corbella in this regard is entirely representative of this mindset. Both of them participated in the 2010-2011 edition, the primary focus of which was to complete the adventure and make it back to Barcelona. This time, they have their sights on the podium. At Cape Horn, Anna Corbella had a 12-day lead over the reference time in the previous edition, albeit with the then compulsory passage through the Cook Strait. Meantime, Gerard Marin was forced to draw alongside in Wellington. Nearly an ocean ahead, there is clearly no better springboard than a race like the Barcelona World Race for providing sailors with the necessary experience to dance with the devil in the southern ocean.

IMOCA Ocean Masters
Barcelona World Race

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