Saturday, 12 March 2011

BWR: Mapfre Battles Lulls

Mapfre. Image copyright Maria Muina/Barcelona World Race.

by Helena Paz

Iker and Xabi, engulfed by light winds, battle to escape the situation as soon as possible

The skippers on the IMOCA 60 “MAPFRE”, in second place in the Barcelona World Race for 43 days now, have had to arm themselves with patience. The Olympic champions Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández have been suffering the effects of the epicentre of the St Helena high for some 24 hours now. It has left the Spaniards with light and shifty breeze which has prohibited the crew from notching up the speeds that we are used to seeing from them, whilst leader “Virbac Paprec 3” has been able to set off again with more open breeze, which the French crew are getting a good performance out of.

With 4.2 knots of speed and some 4 knots of breeze, as Iker Martínez himself explained in a telephone call, the double Olympic medallists desire only to emerge from the zone as quickly as possible and to avoid the Dick and Peyron crew getting away too far, although the Basque sailors confess that they see the gap widening over the coming hours.

“Let's see if we can get out of here soon”, said Iker Martínez: “Now we have four knots of breeze and although we are sailing, we are coming across many areas of calm where there is almost no wind. I don't think that is going to change much until the Equator.”

In any case despite this situation, Iker and Xabi's fighting spirit is still as strong as ever and there is no doubt that both skippers will do everything in their power to make the most of each and every gust of wind that might lead to even a tenth of a knot increase in speed.

As the afternoon set in across Europe, the breeze was picking up slightly for the “MAPFRE” skippers, as they worked on another sail change: “At least we have been able to hoist the spinnaker,” said Iker.

Now 347.5 miles from the leader, on a Northeastern course and at the height of Mar del Plata in Argentina, “MAPFRE”'s battle for the Barcelona World Race continues intact.

Day 69 - 14:00 GMT

1. VIRBAC PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 4,859.5 miles from finish
2. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +347.3 miles
3. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, +1,205.3 miles
4. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +1,531.1 miles
5. MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michéle Paret) SUI, +1,657 miles
6. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, +1,660 miles
7. GROUPE BEL (Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane) FRA, +1,997.7 miles
8. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +2,380.3 miles
9. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, +2,451.2 miles
10. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +4,402.4 miles
11. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +6,558.3 miles
12. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +6,690.8 millas ** TECHNICAL STOPOVER IN WELLINGTON **

** 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