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BWR: Leaders face potential tropical cyclone

Published on February 1st, 2015

(February 1, 2015; Day 33) – The Barcelona World Race fleet is today feeling the effects of both extremes of the Indian Ocean.

Leaders Cheminées Poujoulat and Neutrogena are bracing themselves for the possible impact of two cyclonic low pressure systems which could bring 38-40 knots by Monday, with potential for 50-plus knots through Tuesday into Wednesday. The two front-runners are currently separated by around 220 miles with Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam the further east, and Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz to the north-west of the current pace-setters.

Today both teams have diverged from their previous path of skirting the very southern limits of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone, instead taking a more northerly route, which may offer them more tactical options to avoid the strongest centre of the low as the remnants of Cyclone Diamondra (988mb) tracks south-east across their course. In its wake follows Eunice (985mb), moving in an ESE direction. Both systems should weaken as they meet the colder waters of the south, reducing their sever ity.

By contrast, GAES Centros Auditivos continue to be slowed by the ongoing effects of a high pressure system which has reduced their average pace to just 8.7 knots for the past 24 hours. Fourth placed Renault Captur has reduced the deficit between them to just over 200 miles this afternoon, but Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane are likely to see Sunday morning’s 18-knot northerlies decreasing to around 10 knots by the evening.

We Are Water in fifth place also continue on their north-easterly course, Willy Garcia this morning reporting that he and brother Bruno Garcia were experiencing very confused sea states with wind against wave direction.

“The conditions now are we have rough seas, cross-seas, because we have to cross a ridge now into a different wind. The sea is cross to the wind so it’s very choppy and very uncomfortable on board.”

One Planet One Ocea n Pharmaton is the latest team to pass the Cape of Good Hope, crossing 20°E to enter the Indian Ocean at 10.20am (UTC). Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa are also within 40 miles of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone, in what is for both sailors a first venture into the ‘Deep South’. Aleix reported today that both crew and boat felt strong one month into the Barcelona World Race:

“After one month’s sailing the boat is really good. We had a little thing to repair but nothing major. The boat is in really good condition. And we are also in really good condition, physically and mentally, we feel strong. We can relax and we feel that we can sail in the Indian Ocean in 100 percent top condition, the boat and ourselves. So we feel really confident and really good about this.”

There was optimism too onboard Spirit of Hungary, with Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman comfortably the fastest boat in the fleet o ver the past 24 hours, covering 368 miles. Conrad blogged from the boat about the spectacular sailing conditions they had enjoyed:

“The night was a beautiful calm before the storm with a strong moon and clear skies marked only by light pre-frontal cirrus clouds. These are high altitude clouds made of ice crystals, instead of water droplets like all other clouds, and are beautiful and delicate but herald stronger conditions in the future. Now we have been thumping our way eastwards with a bright blue sky and a steady 30+ knots of wind, the severe blue seas highlighted in silver by the shining sun and torn into white spray by the gusty wind.”

Ranking at 14:00 UTC:
1. Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm – Jean Le Cam) 15191.1 nm Distance to Finish
2. Neutrogena (Guillermo Altadill – Jose Muñoz) 224.4 nm Distance to Lead
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (Anna Corbella – Gerard Marin) 1030.7 nm DTL
4. Renault Captur (Jörg Riechers – Sebastien Audigane) 1245.7 nm DTL
5. We Are Water (Bruno Garcia – Willy Garcia) 1881.1 nm DTL
6. One Planet One Ocean / Pharmaton (Aleix Gelabert – Didac Costa) 2386.6 nm DTL
7. Spirit of Hungary (Nandor Fa – Conrad Colman) 2810.7 nm DTL
Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson – Pepe Ribes) Abandon

TrackerEvent details

Report by event media.

Background: The third edition of the Barcelona World Race is the only double-handed, non-stop, round the world race. Eight IMOCA 60 teams started December 31, 2014, with the intent to cover 23,450 nautical miles in a circumnavigation from Barcelona to Barcelona, putting the capes of Good Hope (South Africa), Leeuwin (Australia) and Horn (Chile) to port and the Antarctic to starboard. The finishes are forecasted for the end of March 2015.

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