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BWR: The good guys are fighting for fourth

Published on April 3rd, 2015

(April 3, 2015; Day 94) – The closest, most engaging and longest running battle of this edition of the Barcelona World Race is between four of Catalonia’s favourite, and nicest sailors. The good guys are fighting for fourth. In every sense it is almost ‘who cares who wins?’

The race for fourth place is not only one that neither of the crews, Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa on the ex-Kingfisher and the Garcia Brothers, doctor Bruno and jeweler Will on the good ship We Are Water, simply don’t want to lose, but every observer who has invested any energy following these two pairs does not either of them to come fifth. Can they please, please both just be fourth equal? Can they just agree to hold hands and cross the line together!

As the two Catalan IMOCA 60s sail east towards the Moroccan coast, just to the NE of Madeira, Gelabert and Costa are running into the light breeze which stands between them and Gibraltar, still 350 miles ahead. After leading since the South Atlantic, earning a margin of 120 miles by selecting the inside line, to the east of the curve, in the NE’ly trades when their rivals erred West – a mistake subsequently admitted by the Brothers.

Now One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton is slowed to four knots. We Are Water are making nine and have caught ten miles since the early morning. Normal logic says the pursuers have to get into the same, light, sticky breeze soon and will struggle to pass. But so too theirs is the slightly newer, slightly more powerful boat – a 2007 generation Farr compared with the 2000 Owen Clarke. But then so far Gelabert and Costa have defied logic, sailed extremely smartly and outfoxed their rivals.

Both of the duos have represented themselves and their causes with conviction and with enthusiastic, caring communication. We Are Water is the Roca sanitary ware’s foundation which promotes and delivers clean water projects in areas of need. One Planet, One Ocean is the motto of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, and highlights the close collaboration with the FNOB and the race’s commitment to sustainability and ecology. It is one of the spearheads of the scientific perspective of the Barcelona World Race, and strengthens the race’s contribution to oceanography and the environment. As well as pushing their famous IMOCA 60 to 10 per cent, they have undertaken a valuable scientific project all the way around the globe.

Easter Sunday should see the battle enter the Med, if they can up their pace a little. But it looks less likely given that there are easterly winds blowing in the Straits. For sure, a tactical, engaging race is on the cards to the line.

Life is definitely looking rosier for the German-French duo Jorg Riechers and Seb Audigane, but only just. The sweet toothed German will be missing his Easter chocolate and, for sure, when he left Barcelona three months and three days ago would be expecting to have been finished before now. Save your spare chocolates for Riechers who is due to finish April 15th or 16th. Renault Captur has a much more easterly slant to their course now, pointing towards the north of France now rather than Newfoundland which was their course a few days ago.

And Nandor Fa continues to impress, as only he does. Three months at sea, peas and bread for lunch again ‘it is getting boring’ and it is feeling ‘too long’ but he says ‘you just have to keep the fire alive.’ And he is so, so enjoying his race and the sheer satisfaction of beating the odds. Responding to the trubute paid to him yesterday by the youthful 52 year old, second placed Guillermo Altadill and asked if he thought Altadill – with seven circumnavigations to his name – might still be racing round the world in nine years, Fa, 61, said:

“You never know. I did not think 15 years ago I would still be here racing around the world again. And I am so happy about that, I am really, really happy to be doing this. My physicality is back and I feel really, really good. I can do right now what I want to do just when I want to do it. I am in better condition than I thought I would be.

“We are over the equator here, we have a nice morning here and everything is good. It feels different to be in home hemisphere of the planet, not just the Doldrums but afterwards has been quite difficult too. Yesterday we had a NW’ly which was a local wind and we made some pretty nice progress, right now we are into the wind from the NNE which is also a local wind, not yet the synoptic wind, and when the real wind will come is the question because it is all quite a big mess at the moment.”

* Three months in, more to go?
“This is a long race and it feels it right now because we have no rivals to race against here, we are alone. We are racing only by ourselves. It is not anything like sailing like in a race fleet. But the trip is good, we push the boat, we are racing and we both enjoy sailing, enjoy the sea, but really it is long, more than three months. But there is two weeks to go. We keep up the fire.”

* Back for the prizegiving (April 21)?
“We will be back for the prizegiving. We have 15 or 16 days. I look forwards to having a drink with all the other skippers.”

* On hearing Guillermo Altadill admired him for his race and achievments at 61…..
“It is nice to hear the other skippers admire us. This is an exceptional race we are doing. Guillermo is a really nice person, I like him very much and he did an excellent race, pushing hard in spite of their problems. I admire their performance, they pushed hard. My congratulations.”

Ranking at 18:00 UTC:
1. Cheminées Poujoulat (Bernard Stamm – Jean Le Cam) finished Mar 25 (84:05:50:25)
2. Neutrogena (Guillermo Altadill – Jose Muñoz) finished Mar 31 (89:11:47:00)
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (Anna Corbella – Gerard Marin) finished Apr 1 (91:05:09:28)
4. One Planet One Ocean / Pharmaton (Aleix Gelabert – Didac Costa) 908.6 nm Distance to Finish
5. We Are Water (Bruno Garcia – Willy Garcia) 1004.8 nm DTF
6. Renault Captur (Jörg Riechers – Sebastien Audigane) 2276.5 nm DTF
7. Spirit of Hungary (Nandor Fa – Conrad Colman) 2974.7 nm DTF
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.

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