Saturday, 26 February 2011

BWR: Turbulent Halfway Point for the GAES Girls

GAES Centros Auditivos. Image copyright Chris Cameron/DPPI/Barcelona World Race.

by Jo Uffendell

Having passed through the Cook Straits on Thursday morning (local time), Caffari and Corbella are now 11,199 miles from the finish line of the Barcelona World Race placing them within touching distance of the half way point into their voyage around the globe. The all female duo aboard GAES Centros Auditivos were delighted to be greeted outside of Wellington by the race organisation RIB and briefly posed for photographs before continuing their journey out into the Pacific.

The GAES girls are breathing a sigh of relief as the anticipated cyclone Atu has now been downgraded to a strong low pressure system. It was previously thought that the cyclone would create winds of up to 80 knots and whilst that seems unlikely now, a confused sea state is still expected and they are agreed that safety and boat preservation must take precedence over a potential loss of miles against competitors.

Commenting yesterday, Caffari said:

“It is just the sea state around it which will be hard on the boat and so it is just making sure we don’t do anything silly and we get this obstacle out of the way. You might lose some miles with these kind of situations but if you and the boat remain in good form then it is easier to make those miles up again than if you have issues and are constantly battling all of the time.”

GAES Project Manager, Harry Spedding, added:

“Tropical storm Atu may have been downgraded but around the centre of this depression there will still be strong winds, just below hurricane force at around 60 knots. Dee has been tracking the movement of the storm, initially different weather models showed different paths, but these are now all starting to align. There is a difficult weekend ahead as GAES Centros Auditivos sails into the western side of the depression and then aims to sail over the top of the low pressure, avoiding the stronger winds closer to the centre.”

Virbac-Paprec 3 continue their lead in the Barcelona World Race with Mapfre just 14 miles behind and Renault Z.E. maintaining their position of third. At the 0900hrs ranking today, Caffari and Corbella onboard GAES Centros Auditivos were in 9th place, 39 miles behind Andy Meiklejohn & Wouter Verbraak on Hugo Boss.

GAES Centros Auditivos
Barcelona World Race