Thursday, 24 February 2011
Xabi and Iker wave to the camera as they pass through Cook Strait. Image copyright Chris Cameron/DPPI/Barcelona World Race.
by Mapfre media
Iker and Xabi have managed to cut down the gap with leader “Virbac Paprec 3” to 38.2 miles, positioning themselves just over two hours from the leading entry
Hot on the leader's wave and not letting this train get away... it's been that sort of 24 hours for “MAPFRE” skippers Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández. Following 54 days of racing, or 1,300 hours of competition, just over two hours now separate leader “Virbac Paprec 3” from Iker and Xabi's “MAPFRE”.
In other words, with 14,885.9 miles under their belts, only 38.2 miles define the difference between the leading French entry and the second placed Spanish entry in the fleet for some 27 consecutive days now, with Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández.
News at the front: same waters, same breeze
An identical Northeasterly course, and an identical objective: to pass the Western Pacific Gate as far ahead as possible, but with news. Things have changed between the two leading entries in the Barcelona World Race due to a crucial factor, as Xabi Fernández explained this afternoon: “We are now in the same waters with the same wind... and I'm not sure if they don't have a problem to be honest. It's almost as if they are sailing with a smaller jib...”.
“We'll get to the gate tomorrow and in theory we'll be hoisting the spinnaker this afternoon and we should have another couple of days downwind with 25 knots or so”, Xabi explained. “We'll see, but the good thing is that since we are so close it won't be a case of them catching different breeze to us and getting away. If they go a bit faster they'll get a bit further away and if we go a bit faster we'll catch up with them. I hope that we can keep up the pace until Cape Horn”.
Despite this incredibly close battle between “Virbac Paprec 3” and “MAPFRE”, competition is not only hot between the pair of titans. Both entries continue to open up the gap with their rivals in pursuit. “Renault Z. E.” is in third place and currently 774.7 miles from “MAPFRE” whilst still being threatened by fourth placed “Neutrogena Formula Noruega”, who continue to apply the pressure as they move in dangerously close to the Spanish crew from the Northern province of Cantabria, now 127 miles away.
Day 54 - 14:00 GMT
1. VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 10,075.8 miles from finish
2. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +38.2 miles from leader
3. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, +812.9 miles
4. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +940.7 miles
5. MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michéle Paret) SUI, +1,066.6 miles
6. GROUPE BEL (Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane) FRA, +1,278 miles
7. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, +1,282.8 miles
8. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +1,454.3 miles
9. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, +1,482.6 miles
10. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +2,966.8 miles
11. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +3,284.6 miles
12. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +3,900.5 miles
** FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux - François Gabart) FRA, RACE ABANDONED 26th January.
** PRÉSIDENT (Jean le Cam - Bruno García) FRA/ESP, RACE ABANDONED 12th January.
Barcelona World Race