Wednesday, 23 March 2011

BWR: Mapfre "At Two Hundred Percent"

Mapfre. Image copyright Mapfre.

by Helena Paz

“MAPFRE” with Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández is now some 300 miles to the South of the archipelago of Cape Verde, opposite the coast of Senegal, the same zone they put behind them a they descended the Atlantic back on the 11th of January.

With a slightly weaker breeze than the race leaders, "MAPFRE" has watched “Virbac Paprec 3” cut away windward over recent hours, and whilst not always at great speeds, at a steady pace.

“It's surprising us how fast they are managing to go", said Iker at midday today in a telephone call with his team. "Yes, it's a latest generation model, and all of that, and they have more breeze, but even so, they are really eating miles very quickly. Let's see if we can turn things around!"

Now 220 miles from the leaders and at 9.6 knots, work on board "MAPFRE" is hard, as Iker confirmed: “We are not at one hundred per cent, but two hundred per cent. Every time we get near to "Virbac Paprec 3” she pushes harder and gets away. It must be said that she's a great yacht and the sum of a better angle and more breeze and the fact that she's an amazing boat is an explosive combination. Our hearts are in our mouths at every position report."

But here the old saying, "it's not over until the fat lady sings..." comes in, and it is well known that the Olympic champions have both the will and the might and are doing a brilliant job in this, their first ever non-stop, round the world regatta.

“We still have a few cards up our sleeves and the first will be the passage through the Canary Islands," continued Iker Martínez. “It will be a crucial step in the game, and if it plays out well for us, there will be a new battle, and if it doesn't, the French really will get away."

“Of course, we must be sensible, and not go too mad. We need to plan the risks well and look at what each option offers. The choices must be well thought out, well meditated and we'll have to wait to see when there are options and to take decisions using our heads."

Day 81 - 9:00 GMT

1. VIRBAC PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 2,434.5 miles from finish
2. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +216.7 miles
3. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, + 935.3 miles
4. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, + 1,224.8 miles
5. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +1,230.1 miles
6. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, + 1,923.9 miles
7. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +3,906 miles
8. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +4,011.9 miles
9. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +5,749.6 miles
10. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +9,115.8 miles ** TECHNICAL STOPOVER IN WELLINGTON **
* MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michéle Paret) SUI, RACE ABANDONED 17th March.
* GROUPE BEL (Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane) FRA, RACE ABANDONED 11th March.
* 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