Tuesday, 4 January 2011

BWR: A Lull in the Alborán Sea is Costly for Iker and Xabi

* Last night the leader pack split up onto three fronts: North, central and South, to negotiate a large lull
* The Northern option chosen by Iker and Xabi's "Mapfre" came out worst, moving to 70 miles behind the leading bunch of entries

Mapfre after leaving Barcelona. Image copyright Maria Muina.

by Mapfre media

Until yesterday, with equal wind and sea conditions, Iker and Xabi had managed to fend off attacks from the French fleet as the first Spanish entry to launch a claim for the podium.

North, Centre or South

However last night, a great lull upon entry into the Alborán Sea forced a choice between three distinct options on offer. Iker and Xabi on “Mapfre” were joined by “Président” in choosing to tackle the situation from the North, the route closest to the Spanish coast. The rest of the leader pack was divided between the central route and the southern route, closer to the African coast.

The day's first position reports at 04:00 GMT revealed that the Southern option was visibly the better of the three and the Olympic champions found themselves relegated to ninth position on the fleet, with a fifty mile gap between themselves and the leading entries, headed up by “Foncia”, “Virbac Paprec 3” and “Estrella Damm”, which moved into the position of leading Spanish entry in the fleet.

Time for a comeback

Fit for a script for the big screen, yesterday's changes see Iker and Xabi switch to a new comeback role within the unfolding drama. If until yesterday they were leading men, the first Spanish entry to fight for a provisional podium position, today their new role in this flick is that of the “comeback kids”.

60 miles from the Strait

With the leading entries less than 60 miles from the Gibraltar Strait and Iker and Xabi now 70 miles behind the top, the pair has chosen to climb even further North of the Alborán Sea. They are hoping that the winds from land might push them some miles closer to the top group, before heading into the Atlantic Ocean and considering how to hunt down the pack ahead of the trade winds.

"Mapfre" is a heavier yacht than the top two entries in the leader group and in these light winds giving chase to the leading three yachts seems almost an impossible task. They'll have to wait for more and consistent breeze to begin scraping back the miles.

As Iker said himself in Barcelona, their main virtue: patience.

Day 3 - 09:00 GMT

Position / Boat/ Skippers / Nacionality / Miles

1. VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 24,129 miles from finish
2. FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux - François Gabart) FRA, +2 miles
3. ESTRELLA DAMM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, +7 miles
4. NEUTROGENA FORMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +19 miles
5. MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michele Paret) SUI, + 33 miles
6. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, +49 miles
7. GROUPE BEL (Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane) FRA, +58 miles
8. PRESIDENT (Jean le Cam - Bruno García) FRA/ESP, + 14 miles
9. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +71 miles
10. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +103 miles
11. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, +106 miles
12. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbrakk - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +126 miles
13. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +130 miles
14. FORUM MARITIM CATALA (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +133 miles

Iker and Xabi
Barcelona World Race