Sunday, 30 January 2011
Iker and Xabi's “MAPFRE”continues to hit speeds above 17 knots
Mapfre planing. Image copyright Mapfre.
by Mapfre media
Fast. That is probably the most apt adjective to describe “MAPFRE” over the past 24 hours in this edition of the Barcelona World Race. Whilst the French fleet leaders have been sailing at 13 knot speeds during the night, “MAPFRE” has been the fastest entry in the fleet, with 15 knot averages, at that time. Besides, the last position report (14.00 GMT) reveals that Iker and Xabi are sailing at average speeds topping 18 knots.
Glancing astern, the news is also good for the leading Spanish entry in the fleet “MAPFRE”. The interchange of positions between “Groupe Bel” and “Estrella Damm” now in fifth and fourth place respectively has seen an increasing gap between Iker and Xabi and the French entry. Thus, the gap has been increased by 25 miles with Kito de Pavant and Sebastien Audigane, creating a pad of 171.2 miles (317.1 km) between themselves and “Groupe Bel”.
“Planing like crazy”
This morning “MAPFRE” put the longitude of the Island of Gough behind her, the obligatory safety waypoint on the course, and is now facing her first southern storm. Onboard, the Spanish pair is “planing like crazy” as Iker Martínez described it. Writing last night, the skipper from the northern Spanish town of Hondarribia wrote: “At last we are leaving the lulls behind, the boat is progressing speedily and you can tell we're in the South: very grey, the sky looking hostile and here we are onboard with one eye on the sky and another looking back, so that we are not caught unawares.”
“Now it seems crazy to think that we have a month ahead of us like this and I hope it's not too tough on us…” confessed Iker. “I'm sure that it will be like it has been up until now, in that the days will fly by and Xabi and I will enjoy it. We are being careful, as we know how quickly things can change down here and with just two of us, well it's even tougher; so we'll be aiming to go fast, but without taking unnecessary risks...”
“Foncia” made her reappearance on this morning's rankings following the entry's undercover experience in “Ghost Mode”, activated on Sunday at 14:00 GMT. Things didn't go too badly at all for the French crew made up of Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart who reappeared just five miles behind regatta leader “Virbac Paprec 3”, although that distance has opened up to 27.3 miles (50.5 km) in this afternoon’s 14:00 GMT.
“We are lucky to have ice gates”
Following changes communicated by the Race Directors, the safety waypoint is now further North than was previously set, and is also much narrower. Once past this point, and following the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope, there is a second gate, known as the “Agulhas Gate”, positioned at 42ºS between longitudes 23ºE and 29ºE.
“We are lucky to have the ice gates,” wrote Iker last night. “That way we can avoid getting further South, because nearby the forecasts say that there are 50 knots and we don't want any of that... These boats can reach their maximum speeds with 25 to 30 knots, but beyond that sailing becomes a complicated matter and serious problems can arise, so as far as possible we are avoiding the 40 knot winds, although that isn't always an option...”.
Day 25 - 14:00 GMT
1. VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 18,709 miles from finish
2. FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux - François Gabart) FRA, + 27.3 miles
3. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +517.6 miles
4. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, +672.7 miles
5. GROUPE BEL (Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane) FRA, +688.8 miles
6. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, +743.5 miles
7. MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michéle Paret) SUI, +850.6 miles
8. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +913.7 miles
9. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, +948.6 miles
10. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +1,133.1 miles
11. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +1,189.7 miles
12. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +1,317.7 miles
13. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +1,394.4 miles
** PRÉSIDENT (Jean le Cam - Bruno García) FRA/ESP, RACE ABANDONED
Barcelona World Race