Gilles Martin-Raget / Barcelona World Race

Fight on for second

GAES and Renault Captur close on Neutrogena in the Barcelona World Race

Sunday February 15th 2015, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: none selected

With second placed Neutrogena still slowed in a zone of high pressure since Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz restarted after their New Zealand pitstop, both GAES Centros Auditivos and Renault Captur having continued to slash their deficit behind Altadill and Munoz. Second place on the podium of the Barcelona World Race is opening up with each mile that the two chasing IMOCA 60s gain.

This Sunday afternoon the delta between Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos is cut to a much more tenable 99 miles. Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín are still making a VMG of 13.6 knots while Altadill and Munoz are still battling south with a net VMG of 3.6 knots, hardly making any easting at all meantime.

Forecasts indicate that Neutrogena is in the last hours of their light airs ordeal since leaving Bluff and imminently will pick up favourable northwest to westerly 20-25 knot winds. One can fully comprehend why Altadill insisted he would not be tracking any of his rivals or checking their positions for the coming days. For sure he and Munoz are pushing their boat as fast as possible, but the additional stress of knowing how quickly they are being caught, would not add to their speed and drive.

Image below (click to enlarge) courtesy of Expedition and Predictwind

The next key longitude for the trio, now in the match for second, is the antimeridian. The current routing for the trio given today's weather outlook has Neutrogena across just four hours before GAES Centros Auditivos, Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín passing into the 'west' some 100 miles further south.

Extending that routing to a point four days forwards shows Neutrogena just five hours ahead and Renault Captur, sailed by Jorg Riechers and Seb Audigane, 18 hours behind Neutrogena. The game has opened up between the two Farr designs and Renault Captur, the Finot Conq designed former BritAir which holds fourth.

Reichers said: "It is a little bit cold here but we are feeling good. There are no problems. It feels now like we are into the last stretch of the Southern Ocean so we are happy to be in the Pacific and to have left the Indian Ocean behind us, so we are looking forwards to the Pacific and hope that the weather will be a little bit better than in the Indian Ocean. We are reaching with a wind of 20 knots at 135° and it is typical Southern Ocean weather, grey and a bit of swell, not that windy. SInce two or three days it is getting quite cold.

"We don't feel lonely. How can you feel lonely when you have connected to the internet and the telephone. And the funny thing is with the ice exclusion zone, you always have the feeling that you are not really sailing free and there is always feeling like you are sailing near to a coast. It feels like a real thing. We dont feel lonely.

"I think now it is interesting because the race for second place is now a three boat race, unfortunately for Neutrogena. It adds some interesting moment for this race. So we are looking forwards to a nice battle for second place to the end in Barcelona. But I think Guillermo has a fast boat. He should be able to hold on to second.

"Our strategy? Well you cant't really do a strategy with the ice zone, it dicates what you can and cant do. It is a little bit like the outcome of the race is in the hands of Aeolus and Guillermo. In the Southern Ocean you cannot really go for a strategy, you see what is happening and take it as it comes."

Sunday has been a bit of red letter day for Spirit of Hungary which has been reducing her deficit on Cheminées Poujoulat. Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman have had the foot right down on Fa's self-designed IMOCA 60 and were quickest of the fleet this morning, bringing their deficit down under the 4,000 miles mark again. Such small consolations are a good morale boost for the Hungarian-Kiwi duo, who continue to show great fighting spirit.

Race leaders Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam are also about to get moving at speed again after more than two days slowed. Their VMG is 12.4 knots today while the best has been Renault Captur.

We Are Water has emerged from their worst period of stormy weather of the race so far. One Planet One Ocean have been in sunshine and 15-20 knots breezes and were crossing Cape Leeuwin this afternoon or evening.

From One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton, Aleix Gelabert reported: "Now we have 18-20 knots from the west. We have a little bit of sunshine and so now we see a sunset for the first time in the last weeks. We very happy, very confident in the boat. Probably tonight we will pass Cape Leeuwin which will be our second big Cape of the Barcelona World Race, so we are very happy today.

"It was incredible when you are driving the IMOCA and you are doing more than 20 knots of boat speed it is such a pleasure, it is such a sensation in these big waves in south. The boat is going so fast and driving is a great experience. But when you are inside you are a bit uncomfortable. You are shaking all the time and it is very difficult to stand up and stay in one position. It is great though to be going fast towards the waypoint where we want to go and to make miles.

"In my mind when we have very strong conditions first and foremost it is to try and not break anything. And to be fast. First to be safe. To keep the boat in a position which is safe. And to be careful with the big waves which can turn the boat, or have broach. And just be careful and to enjoy it, if that is possible. The other day was good.

"I thought it would be colder than it is. We are very lucky with the weather but we have a lot of clothes. We have different layers to put on, but we have had only a few days of cold. The other thing is the humidity. It is annoying because even if you are no cold you feel cold because it is always wet. And sometimes it is raining inside the boat."

Positions at 1400 UTC

1 Cheminées Poujoulat (B. Stamm - J. Le Cam) at 10.278,4 miles to the finish
2 Neutrogena (G. Altadill - J. Muñoz) + 1.118,5 miles from leader
3 GAES Centros Auditivos (A. Corbella - G. Marín) + 1.217,4 miles from leader
4 Renault Captur (J. Riechers - S. Audigane) + 1.465,3 miles from leader
5 We Are Water (B. Garcia - W. Garcia) + 2.534,9 miles from leader
6 One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton (A. Gelabert - D. Costa) + 3.285,2 miles from leader
7 Spirit of Hungary (N. Fa - C. Colman) + 3.981,0 miles from leader

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