BWR: Next finisher to arrive Wednesday

Published on April 7th, 2015

(April 7, 2015; Day 98) – The Barcelona World Race finish line is within touching distance for One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton, with Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa embarking on their final night at sea. They are forecast to arrive in Barcelona in fourth place tomorrow evening (April 8), and have around 250 miles left to sail to Barcelona. Behind them in fifth place, We Are Water is now around 85 miles behind.

Both teams encountered 35-38 knot north-easterly headwinds and a rough swell earlier this morning, which saw them both short tacking close to the southern Spanish shore – We Are Water at one point less than a mile off the coast of Adra, ducking into the shelter of the Gulf of Almería to change to a storm sail. The manoeuvre also required them to untangle some halyards, and the combined time spent just off the beach of San Rafael saw We Are Water drop around 30 miles back from One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton – potentially erasing any remaining chance of taking fourth.

Over the course of the day the two teams headed east to clear the headland of Carthagena. We Are Water were this afternoon continuing on this easterly track in 32 knots of north-easterly pressure, while 80 miles to the north One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton are on a northerly heading approaching Alicante in around 20-25 knots.

Pedal down

However, despite their widening margin, Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa were conscious that a fickle coastal breeze in the final miles could yet erode their advantage. “We know we have a little advantage over We Are Water, we have 50 miles of advantage. And we still need to sail as fast as possible because you never know – when you arrive towards Barcelona then you normally arrive at night and then you have a calm, and the wind usually starts again from the land so they will maybe have a chance to catch us, so we need to be careful there,” explained Ale ix by video conference this morning.

The forecast is for the winds to build further over the course of this evening, throwing one final battering test at the skippers, before potentially fading to zephyr-light conditions tomorrow evening for last miles to Barcelona.

Gelabert added that the boat was holding up well to this final punishment after some 27,000 miles of sailing, and that whilst he and Didac were tired, the excitement of arriving home was spurring them on.

“The boat is really in good shape. We have a little leak with closures, but only small things, and things that we can fix and we can solve without difficulties. So we are really happy with the boat, and I think it could do another Barcelona World Race easily this boat!

“Sailing in these conditions it is a little bit tiring for us, but now we are really excited to arrive and our mind is on the arrival, and that is stronger than the feeling of being tired. There’s only 30 hours more of sailing so we will be in Barcelona soon.”

Smelly fish and sticky weed
Renault Captur in sixth are on one of the longest tacks of the Barcelona World Race, with a northerly breeze now lifting Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane up towards Madeira. There is potentially more than 1,100 miles sailing on this course to reach the mouth of the Mediterranean – over the course of the day they over 11 knots of boat speed in 20 knot winds.

Spirit of Hungary is also in good north-easterly trades, with what appears to be a straightforward track to Gibraltar. As the seventh and final boat on the course their ETA to Barcelona is in around two week’s time, from April 21.

However, Conrad Colman and Nandor Fa remain plagued by flying fish and Sargasso weed. Fa reporting today: “The seaweed-matter is unchanged. We are already at the 12th latitude, and we’ve been having seaweed since 2° South. That’s 850 miles, roughly 1500km, how much seaweed is this? I wouldn’t want to be a fisherman here.

“Our curt little summer is over, we need to wear clothes during the day too, and in the night we have to seriously dress up. Though the water is still 21°C, the air is only warm while the sun is up. My hope, that the seaweed would disappear with the drop in water temperature, is dead. The weed’s shape and appearance has changed, they are much bigger and float randomly solo, not forming islands, probably because of the wind and waves. But they are still good at sticking on the boat! A little less, but we still have to stop the boat from time to time to get rid of them.”

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) 249.3 nm Distance to Finish
5. We Are Water (Bruno Garcia – Willy Garcia) 334.1 nm DTF
6. Renault Captur (Jörg Riechers – Sebastien Audigane) 1653.6 nm DTF
7. Spirit of Hungary (Nandor Fa – Conrad Colman) 2455.2 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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