Ronstan

BWR: Next stop, Cape Horn

Published on February 16th, 2015

(February 16, 2015; Day 48) – Barcelona World Race leaders Cheminées Poujoulat now have fewer than 3,000 miles to Cape Horn. The sub-tropical low pressure system which yesterday brought Jean Le Cam and Bernard Stamm 40 knot winds and 5m seas had today passed to the south-east, with winds abating to around 20-25 knot south-westerlies for much of today, before rebuilding to 30-35 knots tonight.

South of New Zealand, Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz on Neutrogena, currently in second place, has been determinedly putting in the miles to get to 52°S and into stronger westerlies. This afternoon as third placed GAES Centros Auditivos gybed north-east, the pair had just 110 miles lateral separation, and less than 65 separating them on the leaderboard.

Gerard Marín on GAES Centros Auditivos explained earlier today:

“We are sailing really well now, downwind with 20-25 knots westerlies and we’ll have some quite comfortable five or six days in moderate winds. Our goal is to be close, I’m not going to say catching up, because it will be difficult, knowing that Guillermo will push a lot, but we will try to keep the distance until the Atlantic, where there will be more tactical options.

“We know that if we need to push the boat we will be able to, but we now there is still half the race to go so we have to t ake care of our materials.

“The truth is the boat is in good condition. We have sailed some 12,000 miles and the fatigue in the material shows, especially in the sails, but the truth is that we are happy, we are averaging good speeds and there is still a lot of race ahead. We have to take care of the material, but we are happy, really.”

Rapid rudder repairs
Less than 250 miles further back in fourth, Renault Captur discovered they had suffered rudder damage, mostly to the outer skin of the starboard foil. Sebastien Audigane explained today how he and Jörg Riechers managed to effect a quick repair:

“Obviously we had hit something, but we didn’t realise at the time, we didn’t hear anything, and the boat remained on a stable heading …We decided to do our repair with the “sock” [cover] right away. So it was hands on: we took the second reef, headed upwind, released the keel, took down t he gennaker and J3, and tacked upwind. We put ourselves head to wind, and with the mainsheet tied under the mainsheet. Then Jörg, attached by his harness, took off the rudder locks that were keeping it in the down position, and then we raised the rudder. It was really damaged, and it was necessary to cut a bit of it and to take off the broken fibre then put a new “sock” in place.

“It was perfectly fixed around the blade, the “sock” was attached by lashing on top of the rudder. We did it all in just two hours, having lost only 30 miles.”

Old-fashioned values

Fifth-placed We Are Water have maintained such consistent pace in relation to the leaders overnight that they are within 5 miles of their position yesterday afternoon, albeit over 2,500 miles behind Cheminées Poujoulat

Sixth boat One Planet One Ocean Pharmaton crossed Cape Leeuwin just before 2029pm last night. Both they and Spirit of Hungary were averaging over 14 knots over the course of this afternoon. Conrad Colman on Spirit of Hungary reported that he and Nandor Fa were enjoying the opportunity to see what Nandor’s personally-designed IMOCA 60 was capable of:

“It’s always very satisfying to see what he boat can do. You know the boat is a racing machine and it’s always really nice to be able to stretch its legs a little bit, for Nandor it’s very satisfying as an architect and as a boat builder to see what his machine can do.”

Although the pair have their sights firmly set on One Planet One Ocean, some 700 miles ahead, Conrad is also relishing some of the more traditional elements of six weeks at sea, commenting today:

“I think I’ve had only two or three phone calls with my fiancé during this time, so we talk very infrequently, but it’s lovely to be forced almost to write letters and to really think about the communication s that we have with my family and my loved ones. It goes back to an older time when people actually thought about what they wrote, instead of just sending instant text messages.”

As for downtime, he answered: “We sail the boat! That’s what we’re here to do. We’re being really attentive to the trim, and to the stacking, where the boat is. But also now I’m taking more time for maintenance jobs, so I’m redoing the splicing on the backstay, and I have quite a lot of time to invest in it and time to do a nice job. It’s kind of like the old sailors and old whalers who would spend hundreds of hours engraving the tooth of a whale for example, with a picture of a boat. It’s nice to be able to have the time to work with our hands.”

Skippers quotes:

Gerard Marín, GAES Centros Auditivos:

“We are sailing really well now, downwind with 20-25 knots westerlies and we’ll have some quite comfortable five or six days in moderate winds. Our goal is to be close, I’m not going to say catching up, because it will be difficult, knowing that Guillermo will push a lot, but we will try to keep the distance until the Atlantic, where there will be more tactical options.

“We know that if we need to push the boat we will be able to, but we now there is still half the race to go so we have to take care of our materials.

“The truth is the boat is in good condition. We have sailed some 12.000 miles and the fatigue in the material shows, especially in the sails, but the truth is that we are happy, we are averaging good speeds and there is still a lot of race ahead. We have to take care of the material, but we are happy, really.”

Sebastien Audigane, Renault Captur:

“Late yesterday night, before hoisting our big gennaker, we checked the rudders. Then we realised that the outer skin of the starboard rudder had gone, as well as a little piece at the bottom. Obviously we had hi t something, but we didn’t realise at the time, we didn’t hear anything, and the boat remained on a stable heading. The wind was not very strong so we hoisted the gennaker and continued to sail while thinking about some possible repair solutions.

“After discussion with our technical team, we initially planned to repair after the next gybe, but that wasn’t expected until two days from now, and as the hours went by under gennaker the boat was not very stable any more. So it wasn’t reasonable to continue like this, besides, we had not been able to really check the full extent of the damage.

“So we decided to do our repair with the “sock” [cover] right away. So it was hands on: we took the second reef, headed upwind, released the keel, took down the gennaker and J3, and tacked upwind. We put ourselves head to wind, and with the mainsheet tied under the mainsheet. Then Jorg, attached by his harness, took off the rudder locks that were keeping it in the d own position, and then we raised the rudder. It was really damaged, and it was necessary to cut a bit of it and to take off the broken fibre then put a new “sock” in place.

“It was perfectly fixed around the blade, the “sock” was attached by lashing on top of the rudder. So this way we could put it back, and that’s it – everything ready. We did it all in just two hours, having lost only 30 miles. A little coffee as a reward and then an hour later we had to manoeuvre again because the wind had shifted 40 ° to the right. We took down the gennaker, packed it back inside the boat, we arranged the ballast, unfurled the J1, set the main and trimmed, put everything in order onboard… and Renault Captur is again “à donf” in pursuit of the Spanish fleet reaching with 105 ° wind.”

Conrad Colman, Spirit of Hungary:

“It’s always very satisfying to see what he boat can do. You know the boat is a racing machine and it s always really nice to be able to stretch its legs a little bit, for Nandor it’s very satisfying as an architect and as a boat builder to see what his machine can do.

“I think [One Planet One Ocean] are what, 700 miles ahead now? And the boat behind is always at a disadvantage because we typically will bring the new wind with us coming from the west, so we get to close the gap, and then we give them the good wind again. So it’s tricky. It’s an elastic band and we really hope that we can stop it stretching.

“For now I try to eat at least 3000-4000 calories a day, and a have little pliers from Technon to measure the fat on my body and I’m getting skinnier, so I need to eat more! But for the most part everything’s ok.

“I feel in good shape! Normally I’m training for triathlons and so I have a good cardiovascular fitness, and this has certainly reduced because we’ve had six weeks where I have not been able to run or to ride a bike. But the manoeuvres are getting faster, we’re faster on the winches and so we’re certainly pushing very hard and getting used to being at sea.

“I think I’ve had only two or three phone calls with my fiancé during this time, so we talk very infrequently, but it’s lovely to be forced almost to write letters and to really think about the communications that we have with my family and my loved ones. It goes back to an older time when people actually thought about what they wrote, instead of just sending instant text messages. So it starts to be a long time but we really enjoy this type of communication.

“[Downtime?] We sail the boat! That’s what we’re here to do. We’re being really attentive to the trim, and to the stacking, where the boat is. But also with our books to read now I’m taking more time for maintenance jobs, so I’m redoing the splicing on the backstay, and I have quite a lot of time to invest in it and time to do a nice job. It’s k ind of like the old sailors and old whalers who would spend hundreds of hours engraving the tooth of a whale for example, with a picture of a boat. It’s nice to be able to have the time to work with our hands.”

Ranking at 14:00 UTC:
1. Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm – Jean Le Cam) 9878.1 nm Distance to Finish
2. Neutrogena (Guillermo Altadill – Jose Muñoz) 1181.6 nm Distance to Lead
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (Anna Corbella – Gerard Marin) 1245.8 nm DTL
4. Renault Captur (Jörg Riechers – Sebastien Audigane) 1492.0 nm DTL
5. We Are Water (Bruno Garcia – Willy Garcia) 2539.9 nm DTL
6. One Planet One Ocean / Pharmaton (Aleix Gelabert – Didac Costa) 3328.6 nm DTL
7. Spirit of Hungary (Nandor Fa – Conrad Colman) 4018.5 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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