Tuesday, 15 March 2011

BWR: The Pressue from Those In Front Keeps Mapfre Going

On board “MAPFRE” the crew celebrate the birthday of Xabi's youngest daughter

Mapfre. Image copyright Maria Muina/Barcelona World Race.

by Helena Paz

With a northeasterly breeze between 12 and 15 knots blowing and a very special on board celebration, Day 73 in the Barcelona World Race has surprised the pair of Olympic champions skippering “MAPFRE”, Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández.

Following a night of showers that have kept the skippers awake, on “MAPFRE” “we continue to look ahead and are at the same time somewhat calmer because the entries behind have stopped moving closer" confessed Xabi Fernández. In third place, and Iker and Xabi's greatest rival is the entry skippered by fellow Spaniards Pachi Rivero and Toño Piris, some 1,174.7 miles away, whilst fourth placed “Neutrógena Fórmula Noruega”, is 1,383.4 miles away.

A constant hunt

Despite moving as far as 600 miles away from the leader, following tricky days caused by the centre of the St Helena high which almost stalled the Olympic duo, Iker and Xabi have managed to cut that gap down to just 350 miles. "In terms of the leaders, at least they haven't got away," said Xabi.

Since 04:00 GMT both entries have been maintaining similar speeds. “MAPFRE” is currently progressing at 11.2 knots and “Virbac Paprec 3” at 11.6.

“More than worried about catching up with them, the first step is not to let them get too far away, so we are constantly on their case," explained the skipper from Ibarra, Xabi Fernández, who continued: “400 miles are recoverable with the North Atlantic still to go and above all the Gibraltar Strait, as we all know what it is like to get there, and then there's the Mediterranean. It means we are still very much in the race and it keeps us going".

“Zorionak” from afar

Today, the 14th of March is the first birthday of a very special little person-Xabi Fernández's youngest child and daughter. Although he is physically a very long way from Tolosa (Guipúzcoa), where he and his family live, the Basque skipper didn't forget this milestone: “Today it is my daughter Noa's birthday, and she is one year old! The year has flown past! I haven't been able to see them, but I have spoken to Larraitz (his wife) on the phone and also to my son Adur. We are really looking forward to seeing our families, but we are nearly there - just 20 days or so more and we are there...”

From on board “MAPFRE”: “¡Zorionak Noa! Happy Birthday!”

Day 73 - 14:00 GMT

1. VIRBAC PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 3,725.9 miles from finish
2. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +350.4 miles from leader
3. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, +1.525,1 miles
4. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +1,733.8 miles
5. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, +1,855.4 miles
6. MIRABAUD (Dominique Wavre - Michéle Paret) SUI, +2,306.5 miles
7. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, +2,383.6 miles
8. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR,+2,791 miles
9. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +4,645.1 miles
10. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +6,648.8 miles
11. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +7,824.4 miles **TECHNICAL STOPVER IN WELLINGTON **
* 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