Monday, 24 January 2011
Mapfre. Image copyright Maria Muina.
by Helena Paz
The anticyclone, positioned further North has grown and has engulfed most of the fleet whilst MAPFRE is fighting to escape its influence to the South as the leading Spanish entry in the fleet.
Olympic champions Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández, onboard "MAPFRE", are just miles from fully entering the squally system that leaders "Virbac Paprec 3" and "Foncia" have been enjoying for the past 48 hours. As such the Spanish duo has struggled to keep advancing through the night.
The strength of the St Helena anticyclone has been responsible for eleven of the thirteen entries in the regatta finding themselves in a very uncertain position, although the position of "MAPFRE" further South has offered the Spanish skippers a ray of light, as they are now seeing that the approach of a new front could push them back up on to the podium.
The average speeds for the past 24 hours have been low among all the entries in the fleet, with the exception of the regatta leaders: "Virbac Paprec 3" and "Foncia". "MAPFRE" is now positioned as the leading Spanish entry in the fleet and has picked some speed back up on a Southeasterly course, whilst awaiting the arrival of the new front which will help them to consolidate their position before rounding the Cape of Good Hope and entering the Indian Ocean.
Changes to the safety waypoints
The regatta directors have informed the fleet of a new situation regarding the much-feared icebergs, and to the surprise of the skippers, the blocks of floating ice are much further North than expected and so, for safety reasons, a new waypoint has been fixed for the fleet to pass through.
As such, the coordinates of the first safety gate have been set further North, and a new obligatory waypoint has been set in the middle of the Indian Ocean, which would appear to indicate an increased likelihood that the leading entries may be slowed down somewhat or that the regatta may even extend to beyond the number of days initially calculated, which would mean that crews may have to start to keep an eye on provisions and fuel consumption for both the electronic and hydraulic systems.
Day 23 - 14:00 GMT
1. VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 19,402 miles from finish
2. FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux - François Gabart) FRA, ***GHOST MODE***
3. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +513.7 miles
4. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, +522.3 miles
5. GROUPE BEL (Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane) FRA, +526.9 miles
6. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, +584.6 miles
7. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +609.7 miles
8. MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michéle Paret) SUI, +618.9 miles
9. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, +634.3 miles
10. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +730.9 miles
11. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +734.6 miles
12. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +822.5 miles
13. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +952.2 miles
Barcelona World Race