Thursday, 24 March 2011

BWR: Mapfre Stabilises the Gap with the Leader

Mapfre. Image copyright Maria Muina/Barcelona World Race.

by Helena Paz

Canarias, the next hand in play

82 days after the starting gun fired, signalling the start of the Barcelona World Race, “MAPFRE” with Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández is getting ever closer to Cape Verde. Thoughts are now focused on the passage through the Canary Islands, marking the start of the final leg of the regatta, ahead of the Gibraltar Strait and the route home to Barcelona.

According to this morning’s 09:00 GMT position report, the Basque duo is sailing a Northerly course, the same as the leader. However, the “MAPFRE” skippers are positioned slightly further East; a strategy which has allowed them to slow down the slight loss of mileage from previous days and has kept them well away from the anticyclone threatening “Virbac Paprec 3”. Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández have therefore been able to stabilise their situation with respect to the French skippers.

The Canary Islands: the next hand in play

There can be no doubt that the next great battle in the race is the passage through the Canaries. The strategies chosen here by “Virbac Paprec 3” and “MAPFRE” will be crucial as they face the final stretch of the regatta, with less and less miles left to play with until the finish of this double-handed, non-stop, round the world regatta, the first for these double Olympic champions.

The main objective now is to keep up speed levels and to define an effective strategy allowing Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández to play out this new hand and to launch an attack on the leader, currently sailing just one tenth of a knot faster than ESP-45, but further away from the African coast.

Day 82 - 14:00 GMT

1. VIRBAC PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 2,139 miles from finish
2. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +236,7 miles from leader
3. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, + 1048.4 miles
4. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, + 1,221.4 miles
5. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +1,259.9 miles
6. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, + 1,775 miles
7. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +3,810.1 miles
8. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +4,087.1 miles
9. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +5,692.9 miles
10. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +9,363.5 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 26th January.
* PRÉSIDENT (Jean le Cam - Bruno García) FRA/ESP, RACE ABANDONED 12th January

Barcelona World Race