BWR: Easter in the Mediterranean
Published on April 5th, 2015
(April 5, 2015; Day 96) – There are just hours left for One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton in the Atlantic. Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa are predicted to cross into their home Mediterranean Sea early this Easter Sunday evening, becoming the fourth team in the Barcelona World Race to do so.
Following in their footsteps, We Are Water are just 70 miles behind – having shed just 5 miles over the past 24 hours. In terms of the 27,000 or so miles sailed, these tiny fluctuations in margin are a tiny percentage, but in the approach to Barcelona, they could become defining.
Light and unstable breezes south-westerlies in the Gulf of Cadiz have slowed One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton, and We Are Water, to just under 6 knots for this afternoon. Willy Garcia earlier explained that conditions were forecast to change dramatically as they passed through the Straits: “We are now with light winds, some rain and very light winds for the approach to the Gibraltar Strait.
“The forecast [for the crossing of the Straits] is for easterly winds, 20-25 knots, so we know that in other parts it can be more. And then for the next days also east and north-east winds, 20-25 knots.”
This easterly Levante wind in the Alboran Sea is likely to shift to a north-easterly direction, meaning that the battle for fourth place could yet be decided by a long beat to Barcelona.
Willy Garcia commented that the fight will not be over until the very end: “Our goal now is to go as fast as possible. Once past Gibraltar will have to see what strategy we choose. We will have strong easterly and north-easterly winds, but hopefully not too much to navigate without breaking anything, and we hope to find some advantage which we can exploit. Until we cross the finish line, anything can happen.
“The Med is not easy. The forecast announces upwind conditions, with fresh and strong winds, and we have t o sail maybe near the coast so it’s never easy with marine traffic, boats, fishermen.”
Boost to trade
Some 1,400 miles behind, Renault Captur briefly tacked east to approach the course of their predecessors, but a few hours later once again set a northerly course. Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane have been the slowest in the last 24 hours, with 5 knots average boat speed and just 120 miles traveled, as the cold front which promises stronger trade winds remains stubbornly just out of reach to the north. Once Renault Captur reaches this new band of pressure they will pick up 18 knot north-easterlies to accelerate their passage past the latitude of the Canary Islands, over 800 miles to the east of their course.
Just over 1,100 miles to the south, Spirit of Hungary are also beginning to benefit from improved trade winds conditions, with Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman now making miles to the north with over 9 knot boatspeed averages.
Ranking at 13:00 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) 557.6 nm Distance to Finish
5. We Are Water (Bruno Garcia – Willy Garcia) 628.1 nm DTF
6. Renault Captur (Jörg Riechers – Sebastien Audigane) 2046.4 nm DTF
7. Spirit of Hungary (Nandor Fa – Conrad Colman) 2750.3 nm DTF
Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson – Pepe Ribes) Abandon
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.