Saturday, 26 February 2011

BWR: Ocean Match Race for the Lead in the Barcelona World Race

Mapfre. Image copyright Maria Muina/Barcelona World Race.

by Helena Paz

Just 13 miles, and less than an hour separate Iker and Xabi's “MAPFRE”, in second place from leader “Virbac Paprec 3” in a tooth and nail battle for the top spot

The battle for the Barcelona World Race leadership between “MAPFRE” and “Virbac Paprec 3” has given many sailing fans a sleepless night. Olympic champions Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández have been sailing since 04:00 GMT and are now under 10,000 miles from Barcelona with big news: their approach on the race leader spot is unstoppable. In the 09:00 GMT position report there were just 13 miles, following a total of 15,271.6 miles raced, separating the two leading IMOCA Open 60 entries and two clearly defined tactics can be seen in the Spanish and French entries merely by looking at their courses.

Both entries are now passing the Western Pacific Gate, as established in the Race Instructions by putting it to starboard past at least one of its coordinates. Iker and Xabi have decided to set their bow to the Southeast sailing with the wind pushing from behind, whilst “Virbac Paprec 3” has preferred to stick to her more Easterly routing for the time being.

With winds between 15 and 20 knots in a Northwesterly direction and “MAPFRE” notching up average speeds of 16.6 knots, two more than Jean Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron, the next few hours will be crucial to see which of the options gives the best results. Will “MAPFRE” keep her pace up and could there be a new race leader? Or will “Virbac Paprec 3”'s choice be an adequate defence of her position?

For now the day's run has been 485.8 miles for “MAPFRE”.

Day 55 - 09:00 GMT

1. VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 9,715 miles from finish
2. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +13.3 miles from leader
3. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, +957.4 miles
4. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +1,077.8 miles
5. MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michéle Paret) SUI, +1,173.6 miles
6. GROUPE BEL (Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane) FRA, +1,450.2 miles
7. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, +1,492.7 miles
8. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +1,673.3 miles
9. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, +1,674.6 miles
10. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +3,078.2 miles
11. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +3,473.1 miles
12. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +4,161.1 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