[Source: Barcelona World Race] Virbac Paprec 3 are still 373 miles from the east extremity of the Crozet gate at 0500hrs UTC this morning and their prospects don’t look to have improved any in terms of the nasty low which is going to be hitting that point by Tuesday night.
“Every 12 hours we look at the files to see how best to manage this little monster ready in front of us and the gate of the course is right in the middle: do we go over or under or in the middle? To go fast or slow down? 1000 questions which we don’t really have answers to to at the moment. As good sailors we will just have to be patient. Meantime we have a beautiful starry sky. Long live the Indian.” Remarks Jean Pierre Dick from the boat last night.
Virbac Paprec 3’s lead is at 582 miles this morning over MAPFRE. The Spanish duo are sailing the much more direct course to the gate in more favourable breeze, hence consistently their VMG has been better, and their gains have been consistent against the leaders who have been sailing fast but on this classic loop south and north between the last gate and this Crozet gate. Typically this morning Virbac Paprec 3 show a speed of 17.3kts average but a VMG of just 12.8kts, while the direct route of MAPRE ensures a VMG nearly two knots better which accounts for their gain of nearly 30 miles overnight to Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez.
And MAPFRE have also managed to extend again on third placed Estrella Damm who were just 29 miles behind yesterday morning and this Monday morning it is more like 99 miles.
Groupe Bel have gained from having more breeze in their position which is more to the north of Estrella Damm, and are now just 20 miles behind the Spanish pair Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes, making another 15 miles overnight. By comparison Groupe Bel look to have around 14-20 kts of breeze and Estrella Damm 10-15 kts.
Now closing towards the west end of the Agulhas gate are Mirabuad and Neutrogena. Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret passed the longitude of Cape of Good Hope yesterday afternoon at between 1600hrs and 1630hrs UTC with Neutrogena at 2120hrs UTC. Working their way over the top the high pressure off the south of South Africa, this duo are back in very light SE’ly breezes, just 8-10kts.
GAES Centros Auditivos are 170 miles to Cape of Good Hope and the prospects of a long, long upwind slog is not filling Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella with much joy this morning. Dee Caffari notes in her e-mail:
“ A cloud of doom and gloom has accompanied the good ship Gaes today. With this morning’s grib files we tried everything possible but still could not change the routing the software came up with. We had to face the fact that we were destined to sail upwind for the next few days. This course will take us north so adds to the distance sailed and while we do it we have to watch those just ahead that we have tried so hard to keep in touch with sail away. They get to enjoy a more southerly course with downwind conditions and look to gain about 600 miles from the whole episode. So resigned to our fate we have worked hard to shift the cloud of despair from above us and focus on the positive sides to this story.
1. We had clear skies and sunshine today.
2. We go north so do not need to worry about the ice.
3. The temperature will rise, both air and sea temperatures.
4. we get to tack a few times so will do lots of stacking of gear and
therefore have lots of exercise so we can eat the chocolate without any
There is a long way to go and we will make a come back, you have not seen the last of the girls!!”
And behind them the good news for the Hugo Boss duo is that they have got themselves into ninth place on the rankings, while Central Lechera Asturiana report a problem with a spinnaker which went over the bow, snapping two stanchions and tearing the sail.