Sunday, 6 March 2011

BWR: Mapfre Rounds Cape Horn

Iker, Xabi and Cape Horn. Image copyright Mapfre.

by Helena Paz

After 62 days of non-stop racing and 3 oceans under their belts, Iker and Xabi are back in Atlantic waters holding second place in the Barcelona World Race

Following a difficult night with fierce winds and constant sail changes, at 14:40 GMT “MAPFRE” with Basque sailors Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández made the leap into the South Atlantic, rounding as they did so the legendary Cape Horn, following 62 days of racing.

As Iker had previously commented, for sailors, a rounding of the Horn is a unique moment in itself. Not everyone has the opportunity to undertake the feat and sailors have battled the fierce storms of this landmark in the Southern Pacific Ocean stretching back centuries, which is why it has grown to become so famous.

“MAPFRE” has also therefore set her marker for the Pacific Trophy, which will award the fastest IMOCA Open 60 in the fleet between Cook Strait and Cape Horn at 12 days, 8 hours and 20 minutes.

62 days to the Cape of Capes

Iker and Xabi have therefore taken 62 days to round Cape Horn. On the 60th day of competition in the Barcelona World Race 2007-2008 Jean Pierre Dick and Irishman Damian Foxall on “Paprec Virbac 2”, were the first to do so, whilst the second entry did so some 3 days later. In the 2010-2011 edition, Dick is still in the lead, although this time in a different context, when his most dangerous threat was “Hugo Boss” with Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape, 900 miles away.

This time Dick is under siege from Iker and Xabi, who have rounded the Cape just four hours and 20 minutes later and continue in a relentless pursuit, where the Spaniards had even moved in as close as eight miles to the French crew at one point, with 72 miles currently standing between the two entries: “MAPFRE” and “Virbac Paprec 3”.

Fourth rounding of Cape Horn for Xabi and third for Iker

Iker and Cape Horn. Image copyright Mapfre.

It was the 16th of April 2005 in the middle of the night when Iker and Xabi both rounded Cape Horn for the first time in their careers, and, of course, they were together. It happened on board an innovative monohull of the time, the VO 70, with the “movistar” team during the first training exercises for the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006, with the team setting off from Newcastle (Australia) to Sanxenxo (Pontevedra), making pitstops at both Wellington (New Zealand) and Río de Janeiro (Brazil).

In the competition itself Xabi made his second rounding of South America's southernmost Cape that same year. It took place, funnily enough, today, five years ago, the 3rd March 2006.

Three years later on the 19th March 2009 during broad daylight, Iker and Xabi rounded Cape Horn again, describing the passage as “uncharacteristic”, due to the lack of breeze. They rounded that time on board “Telefónica Blue” during the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009. There is no doubt that this is a completely different situation to that which they face this time, the third time for Iker and fourth for Xabi. As Xabi said: “This has been the most beautiful, because we'e doing well (second) and there's also wind […] It's good to be here, to point our bow North towards the good weather.”

Back in the Atlantic, back home

The last 6,900 miles of the regatta, where downwind and across the beam reaches will dominate. For “MAPFRE” the final great leg of this Barcelona World Race 2010-2011 has just begun.

Day 62 - 14:00 GMT

1. VIRBAC PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 6,828.6 miles from finish
2. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +72.1 miles
3. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, +1,513.6 miles
4. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +1.566.6 miles
5. MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michéle Paret) SUI, +1,765.4 miles
6. GROUPE BEL (Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane) FRA, +1,950.8 miles
7. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, +2,021.2 miles
8. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +2,410.6 miles
9. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, +2,636.6 miles
10. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +4,691.5 miles
11. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +4,735.2 miles
12. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +5,133.2 miles
** FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux - François Gabart) FRA, RACE ABANDONED 26th January 2011.
** PRÉSIDENT (Jean le Cam - Bruno García) FRA/ESP, RACE ABANDONED 12th January 2011.

Barcelona World Race