Friday, 25 March 2011

BWR: Mapfre Fighting "The Ghost"

The “MAPFRE skippers will have to use their intuition more than ever as the leader dives undercover until 19:00 GMT tomorrow having entered “Ghost Mode”

by Helena Paz

So the plot thickens at the top of the Barcelona World Race fleet between the leading Spanish entry in the regatta, “MAPFRE” with Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández, and French race leader “Virbac Paprec 3”. At the 09:00 GMT position report “Virbac Paprec 3” had chosen to make use of the final opportunity in this double-handed, non-stop, round the world regatta to use the “Ghost Mode” joker card, therefore concealing her position, course and miles sailed. As stipulated in the Race Instructions, the leader will remain hidden for six consecutive position reports. Tomorrow, Friday, at 19:00 GMT all the entries and race followers will finally be able to see exactly where the French boat is.

In this morning's 04:00 position report, the last report featuring both entries, “MAPFRE” was 244.6 miles from the leader; sailing at 10.1 knots, almost 5 knots more than Dick and Peyron. The latter were on a North-North-easterly course, the same course Iker and Xabi were on five hours later.

The Basque pair are currently passing the archipelago of Cape Verde to the West, sailing, however closer to the African coast than “Virbac Paprec 3” had been before dropping off the charts.

Life on board “MAPFRE” is not clean cut. As the Spanish skippers mentioned days ago, the combination of carefully rationed food and fuel quantities with which Iker and Xabi left Barcelona on 31st December, 83 days ago, along with the fact that the regatta will last longer than expected are being felt.

For the most part, the on board systems are kept switched off to save energy and contact with the world outside the yacht is also being continually reduced. This morning Iker Martínez sent a concise email to his team: “We are starting to suffer here and we really need to ration the food and energy to avoid any shocks further ahead...but anyway, that's the way it is”.

We mustn't forget that Iker and Xabi haven't made any stops and have been the leading Spanish entry and second placed in the fleet since January 26th. Their most direct rival is 861 miles away and the crew also managed to carry out some very tricky repairs on board and have been nicknamed 'the new MacGyver's' by many.

Always looking on the bright side, Iker signed off yesterday saying: “We are nearly at the finish now...”. It's a matter of 2,225 miles to go...

Day 83 - 9:00 GMT

1. VIRBAC PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, *GHOST MODE*
2. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, 2,225 miles from finish
3. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, + 861.8 milles
4. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, + 960.2 miles
5. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +991 miles
6. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, + 1,546.6 miles
7. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +3,551.9 miles
8. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +3,759.6 miles
9. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +5,447 miles
10. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +9,325.3 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