Wednesday, 23 March 2011

BWR: "Whilst the gap doesn't widen too much, anything can happen"

“MAPFRE” is 192 miles from “Virbac Paprec 3” now

Mapfre. Image copyright Maria Muina/Barcelona World Race.

by Helena Paz

It is now 80 days of competition in the Barcelona World Race and “MAPFRE” is progressing on a Northerly course, slightly West, the opposite of the leader's choice, continuing North but positioned further East. The Spaniards are beating upwind hoping that the distance with the entry in front, 192.2 miles in the 14:00 position report, will settle there.

Patience is the mother of all sciences

“I think we'll have to wait four or five days, to wait to see if they don't get further away and to see if there are any other opportunities which might open things up, and there's always the 'ghost mode' to play with, and there's the Gibraltar Strait ahead...” said Iker in Monday's telephone connection.

Iker also recognised that he and Xabi took a risk when crossing the Equator. It didn't play out badly for the Basques, who managed an excellent speedy passage across the Doldrums, pushing for maximum speed at all times and going West to East, playing with every cloud at the Equator, rarely seen there. “They cut down the gap by over 200 miles during the passage through the Doldrums, and that in itself is an achievement...” commented Eduardo Valderas, navigator and head of navigational and electronic systems on “MAPFRE”.

Sometimes it is a question of patience and reflecting over the 80 days of racing so far. That is what the skippers on “MAPFRE” have been doing since yesterday, as Iker explained: “[…] We look back and in the first half of the regatta they had a four day lead or so, and now here we are, more or less equal, so we are happy about that and we are pushing forward, trying to make the most of every opportunity. Lots of patience...and we'll see... there's not long to go now.”

Concentration is needed and it must not be forgotten that in a regatta like this, with 2,800 miles to go, nothing is final. That is the spirit to have and it is what is pushing all of the entries forward. “Whilst the gap doesn't widen too much anything can happen...” said Iker. “Also there are short waves here and the trades, which can punish the boats and something could break. The boat suffers and you have to tread carefully and keep sailing, as we are worn out and the boat is worn too... and you have to maintain some patience.”

Patience is needed not only for the results and opportunities, but also in order to handle the reduction in daily food rations, as the skipper from Hondarribia commented: “The truth is that we might have gone a bit too far with the food and with the fuel. But that's the way it is, and if you really want something, you'll pay the price for it. We prepared the boat very well for the South and we wanted to take risks so that we weren't slow, and here we are... You wouldn't believe how hungry we are, but we'll enjoy food that much more when we finish!,” said Martínez, without losing any of his sense of humour.

Thanks for the message of support

Iker also used today's link up to thank everyone on behalf of himself and Xabi for their message of support on their webpage ( and on the organisation's website ( “Thank you to everyone. It really boosts us, because we are giving this all we've got. Every day we try that bit harder, to try to do better than the previous day, and here we are... pushing forward! [...] It's fantastic to know that people are following your progress and enjoying the regatta. I'm so pleased that people are following us and enjoying this.”

Iker signed off saying: “We'll see each other in Barcelona, and we hope to get there and to do so soon.”

Day 80 - 14:00 GMT

1. VIRBAC PAPREC 3 (Jean Pierre Dick - Loïck Peyron) FRA, 2,563.1 miles from finish
2. MAPFRE (Iker Martínez - Xabi Fernández) ESP, +192.2 mile
3. RENAULT Z. E. (Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris) ESP, + 874.2 miles
4. ESTRELLA DAMM SAILING TEAM (Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes) ESP, + 1,124.4 miles
5. NEUTROGENA FÓRMULA NORUEGA (Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier) NOR, +1,150 miles
6. GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS (Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella) GBR/ESP, + 1,997.7 miles
7. HUGO BOSS (Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn) GBR, +3,904.4 miles ** TECHNICAL STOPOVER IN THE FALKLANDS**
8. FÒRUM MARÍTIM CATALÀ (Gerard Marín - Ludovic Aglaor) ESP, +4,015.4 miles
9. WE ARE WATER (Jaume Mumbrú - Cali Sanmartí) ESP, +5,815.4 miles
10. CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA (Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio) ESP, +8,987.2 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