Harken Derm

Transition time in Barcelona World Race

Published on March 5th, 2015

(March 5, 2015; Day 65) – After a spell last night and today during which almost all of the Barcelona World Race fleet were in light or moderate winds, in the Atlantic and the Pacific, it looks more like Transition Time is ringing for many. The exception to the calls of ‘It’s Not Normally Like This Here’ was Jorg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane on Renault Captur who were motoring across the Pacific at their statutory, speed limited 15-16kts, riding a fairly typical low pressure.

The regime of reaching and downwind sailing was rudely interrupted for a few hours for Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam on Cheminées Poujoulat. The race leaders, just north of the latitude of Rio, will transition tonight into the more regular SE’ly tradewinds. They are now sailing the reciprocal course of the Transatlantic races that they have done many times in their career and that will enhance their feeling of returning home. Indeed Le Cam won the Transat Jacques Vabre into Brazil’s Itajai 16 months ago, and both have been several times to Salvador de Bahia which they will pass Saturday. And from now until the Doldrums the leaders will enjoy a regular, if bouncy, ride north.

Also in transition are Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos. Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz are on the cusp of breaking into NW’lies which will back into the SW to give Neutrogena a welcome fast ride in reaching and downwind conditions. Having done 48 hours penance in light, fickle and frustrating winds generated by the high pressure, as a new low builds from Uruguay the second and third placed boats can take full advantage.

Munoz is enjoying his race with the vastly experienced Altadill, often mentioning the lessons and learning he has derived from his Spanish co-skipper. But the Chilean said today he is missing the Pacific. The chilly waters and winds feel much more like home, he admitted, and – just a little – he is wrestling with the notion that while Altadill is heading home, he is sailing away from home! Asked today if he was enjoying sailing away from the south, he said:

“Not so much, because that’s my home, even when it was quite cold it felt like home. Now the weather starts to get warmer (laughs). It is another type of sailing; something completely different. In the South there are always many different things, high pressure, low pressure, anticyclone … and how they form themselves on the sea. It is a little extreme, but you can also choose how to deal with it. We have a good boat and I have a very good skipper so we are looking for the best route to move fast and make the best of our position that we can all the way to Barcelona.”

In the Pacific, We Are Water and One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton are approaching Cape Horn and both have taken a little northing now. Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa continue to drive the ex Kingfisher hard and effectively and are now just 107 miles direct line distance behind Bruno and Willy Garcia. We Are Water are 750 miles from Cape Horn.

Renault Captur have the strongest breeze of the fleet right now. They can have mixed feelings. On the one hand they are gybing every 50 or 60 miles because they are downwind and so at last half the time their damaged rudder is not so stressed, but that is also especially labour intensive. The strong breezes are allowing them to catch miles on the two in front but at 550 miles they are still out of touch meantime.

A change is due too for Spirit of Hungary where the Pacific has been more like summer on Nandor Fa’s native Lake Balaton. Clear blue skies, 10-12kts of breeze and an easy routine means he and Conrad Colman are getting maximum sleep, ready for the resumption of strong winds at the weekend.

Skippers Quotes:

Conrad Colman (NZL) Spirit of Hungary:
The race sailed away for us a long time ago so there is no point in getting upset about the situation. So we are sailing as best we can with what we have. That is pretty much all we can do a the moment. We are enjoying being at sea at the moment. We have incredibly clear skies thanks to high pressure. We have beautiful moon which is like a super strong spotlight on us and so we can wander around, we can almost read books it is so strong with the full moon. We are not going very fast but it is certainly a great place to be at sea now.

Seb Audigane (FRA) Renault Captur:
We are doing it on Renault Captur. We are under reefed mainsail and J3 and the seas are very very big There are 25 and 35 knots wind which is not that much, but in these seas it is hard going. Besides, this morning we had a small problem, but it’s there all the time really. But then it will go a bit because we jibe soon at the exclusion zone. But then it’s not great as the wind has turned to the west, so now we will be forced to make small legs of 50 miles each, downwind from here, heading to … Cape Horn.

Ranking at 14:00 UTC:
1. Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm – Jean Le Cam) 4325 nm Distance to Finish
2. Neutrogena (Guillermo Altadill – Jose Muñoz) 1270 nm Distance to Lead
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (Anna Corbella – Gerard Marin) 1397 nm DTL
4. We Are Water (Bruno Garcia – Willy Garcia) 3338 nm DTL
5. One Planet One Ocean / Pharmaton (Aleix Gelabert – Didac Costa) 3547 nm DTL
6. Renault Captur (Jörg Riechers – Sebastien Audigane) 4073 nm DTL
7. Spirit of Hungary (Nandor Fa – Conrad Colman) 5657 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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