Friday, 28 January 2011

BWR: Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret are now into the Southern Ocean

Mirabaud’s co-skippers are about to embark on a forty-day marathon across the most hostile seas on the planet

Dominique Wavre and Michele Paret on board Mirabaud. Image copyright Mirabaud.

by Bernard Schopfer

Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret on board Mirabaud will pass Gough Island: the gateway to the Southern Ocean. The island lies on the 40th parallel and marks an important turning point in their race around the world, as the pair prepares to face the wildest and most violent conditions the Southern Ocean has to offer.

Dominique and Michèle have covered approximately 5,000 nautical miles, or 8,000 kilometres, over their first three and a half weeks of racing. But with around 19,000 more miles to cover, they are not even a quarter of the way round yet!

With a respectable position amongst the leaders as the boats sailed south through the Atlantic, Mirabaud suffered a major set-back over the last few days that has seen them drop from third to seventh place. At this point in the race however, the running remains very open. “We got firmly stuck for hours, even days, in the clutches of Saint Helena’s High,” explains Dominique. “Within a few miles of our position, the boats in front of us stretched out their lead, whilst those behind us caught up and even passed us. It’s been an extremely frustrating time but we’ve had no alternative.”

Over the next few hours, Mirabaud will suddenly hit building seas, thrown up by a strong depression to the south. The leading boats have reaped the benefits of this low pressure system, but unfortunately the following boats haven’t managed to gain from it. The sea that has been flat up until now will rapidly become heavy and chaotic, with the wind going to the South-West. Welcome to the Roaring Forties!

“We’ve been passionately following this race and we’re full of admiration for the team,” comments Antonio Palma, Associate and CEO of Mirabaud. “Tough conditions really separate the weak from the strong, and we’re in awe at the way Dominique and Michèle have handled the set-backs over the last few days; stuck firmly in a high pressure system and losing ground despite their excellent start to the race. In spite of their understandable disappointment, they’ve handled this situation with real dignity. This edition of the Barcelona World Race is certainly shaping up to be a fascinating competition and we’re extremely proud to be Dominique and Michèle’s partner in this challenge. They have been fighting tooth and nail since the start in exceedingly unpredictable conditions.”

Ranking after 26 days of racing:

1) VIRBAC PAPREC 3 (+0.0)
2) FONCIA (+28.3)
3) MAPFRE (+514.6)
4) ESTRELLA DAMM (+672.5)
5) GROUPE BEL (+687.6)
6) RENAULT Z.E. (+735.0)
7) MIRABAUD (+830.0)
8) NEUTROGENA (+892.4)
9) GAES (+926.9)
11) HUGO BOSS (+1144.0)
12) WE ARE WATER (+1260.1)

Dominique Wavre
Barcelona World Race