Tuesday, 8 March 2011

BWR: Mapfre will pass to the East of the St Helena High

Mapfre. Image copyright Chris Cameron/DPPI/Barcelona World Race.

by Helena Paz

Iker Martínez: “We are trying to catch up on some sleep and to rest as much as possible because there are still many days ahead and we are exhausted after the last few days”

The question of where Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández would pass the Saint Helena high has been answered. The East has won out, as confirmed by Iker himself in a short telephone link with his team today at 13:30 GMT: “In the end we are going East. We waited as long as possible to take the decision, pushing upwards, but in the end we're going that way."

As a start they are noticing lighter breeze downwind, but they'll have to keep a close eye on the development of the high pressure over the coming hours to see how this decision will affect their advance across the South Atlantic. They are not only interested in their own progress on “MAPFRE” but also in that of leader “Virbac Paprec 3”. Will the high affect both leading entries in the same way?

Iker and Xabi's “MAPFRE” is sailing on a latitude close to the city of Puerto Deseado, province of Santa Cruz, in Argentina's Patagonia region, at 21.4 knots, 7.4 knots more than the French leaders. Dick and Peyron, who now have less breeze than the Basque duo. This means Iker and Xabi have been able to hold the gap between the two entries at 219.2 miles.

Saving energy and investing in rest

Today marks 66 days of competition and they can be felt, so it is important to rest and recharge. That's what they are trying to do on board "MAPFRE" although the very nature of a regatta in which anything could happen and the will of the Spaniards to push their limits, make it doubtful sometimes that they will achieve this.

Iker Martínez said today: “We are trying to catch up on some sleep and to rest as much as possible because there are still many days to go and we are exhausted after the last few days. We took a flogging and now it's time to recharge."

If it's necessary to invest in rest, it is also necessary to save energy. The regatta is likely to last longer than expected and the Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo entry has been taking her own measures: “We've been turning on the computers as little as possible and we link up less by satellite so that little by little, day by day we can save energy. We've downloaded the forecast and in a while we'll turn off as much equipment as possible," explained the skipper from Hondarribia.

Since 19:00 yesterday, Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández are officially less than 6,000 nautical miles from the Barcelona finishing line, with over 19,000 nm and 66 days of non-stop racing under their belts.

Day 66 - 14:00 GMT

1. VIRBAC PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 5,512.1 miles from finish
2. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +219.2 miles
3. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, +1,435.2 miles
4. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +1,640.2 miles
5. GROUPE BEL (Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane) FRA, +1,752.2 miles
6. MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michéle Paret) SUI, +1,828.5 miles
7. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, +1,934.3 miles
8. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +2,471.5 miles
9. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, +2,721.6 miles
10. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +4,571.7 miles
12. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +6,038.2 miles
** 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