Gilles Martin-Raget / Barcelona World Race

Sub-10,000 mile mark

As Renault Captur's crew has to make a running rudder repair in the Barcelona World Race

Monday February 16th 2015, Author: Helen Fretter, Location: none selected

Barcelona World Race leader Cheminées Poujoulat now has fewer than 10,000 miles to sail of the theoretical course back to Barcelona. The sub-tropical low pressure system which yesterday brought Jean Le Cam and Bernard Stamm 40 knot winds and five metre seas had today passed to the southeast, with winds abating to around 20-25 knot southwesterlies but were due to rebuild to 30-35 knots tonight.

South of New Zealand, Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz on Neutrogena, currently in second place, have been determinedly putting in the miles to get to 52°S and into stronger westerlies. This afternoon as third placed GAES Centros Auditivos gybed northeast, the pair had just 110 miles lateral separation, and less than 65 separating them in terms of DTF.

Gerard Marín on GAES Centros Auditivos explained earlier today: “We are sailing really well now, downwind with 20-25 knots westerlies and we'll have some quite comfortable five or six days in moderate winds. Our goal is to be close, I'm not going to say catching up, because it will be difficult, knowing that Guillermo will push a lot, but we will try to keep the distance until the Atlantic, where there will be more tactical options.

“We know that if we need to push the boat we will be able to, but we now there is still half the race to go so we have to t ake care of our materials.

“The truth is the boat is in good condition. We have sailed some 12,000 miles and the fatigue in the material shows, especially in the sails, but the truth is that we are happy, we are averaging good speeds and there is still a lot of race ahead. We have to take care of the material, but we are happy, really.”

Rapid rudder repairs

Less than 250 miles further back in fourth, Renault Captur discovered they had suffered rudder damage, mostly to the outer skin of the starboard foil.

Sebastien Audigane explained today how he and Jörg Riechers managed to effect a quick repair: “Late yesterday night, before hoisting our big gennaker, we checked the rudders. Then we realised that the outer skin of the starboard rudder had gone, as well as a little piece at the bottom. Obviously we had hi t something, but we didn’t realise at the time, we didn’t hear anything, and the boat remained on a stable heading. The wind was not very strong so we hoisted the gennaker and continued to sail while thinking about some possible repair solutions.

“After discussion with our technical team, we initially planned to repair after the next gybe, but that wasn’t expected until two days from now, and as the hours went by under gennaker the boat was not very stable any more. So it wasn’t reasonable to continue like this, besides, we had not been able to really check the full extent of the damage.

“So we decided to do our repair with the "sock" [cover] right away. So it was hands on: we took the second reef, headed upwind, released the keel, took down the gennaker and J3, and tacked upwind. We put ourselves head to wind, and with the mainsheet tied under the mainsheet. Then Jorg, attached by his harness, took off the rudder locks that were keeping it in the d own position, and then we raised the rudder. It was really damaged, and it was necessary to cut a bit of it and to take off the broken fibre then put a new 'sock' in place.

“It was perfectly fixed around the blade, the 'sock' was attached by lashing on top of the rudder. So this way we could put it back, and that’s it – everything ready. We did it all in just two hours, having lost only 30 miles. A little coffee as a reward and then an hour later we had to manoeuvre again because the wind had shifted 40 ° to the right. We took down the gennaker, packed it back inside the boat, we arranged the ballast, unfurled the J1, set the main and trimmed, put everything in order onboard... and Renault Captur is again "à donf" in pursuit of the Spanish fleet reaching with 105° wind.”

Old-fashioned values

Fifth-placed We Are Water has maintained such consistent pace in relation to the leaders overnight that they are within five miles of their position yesterday afternoon, albeit over 2,500 miles behind Cheminées Poujoulat.

In sixth position, One Planet One Ocean Pharmaton passed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin just before 20:29 UTC last night. Both she and Spirit of Hungary are averaging over 14 knots over the course of this afternoon.

Conrad Colman on Spirit of Hungary reported that he and Nandor Fa were enjoying the opportunity to see what Nandor’s personally-designed IMOCA 60 was capable of: “It’s always very satisfying to see what he boat can do. You know the boat is a racing machine and it’s always really nice to be able to stretch its legs a little bit, for Nandor it’s very satisfying as an architect and as a boat builder to see what his machine can do.”

The pair have their sights firmly set on One Planet One Ocean, some 700 miles ahead. "The boat behind is always at a disadvantage because we typically will bring the new wind with us coming from the west, so we get to close the gap, and then we give them the good wind again. So it’s tricky. It’s an elastic band and we really hope that we can stop it stretching."

Colman is also relishing some of the more traditional elements of six weeks at sea, commenting today: “I think I’ve had only two or three phone calls with my fiancé during this time, so we talk very infrequently, but it’s lovely to be forced almost to write letters and to really think about the communications that we have with my family and my loved ones. It goes back to an older time when people actually thought about what they wrote, instead of just sending instant text messages.”

As for downtime, he answered: “We sail the boat! That’s what we’re here to do. We’re being really attentive to the trim, and to the stacking, where the boat is. But also now I’m taking more time for maintenance jobs, so I’m redoing the splicing on the backstay, and I have quite a lot of time to invest in it and time to do a nice job. It’s kind of like the old sailors and old whalers who would spend hundreds of hours engraving the tooth of a whale for example, with a picture of a boat. It’s nice to be able to have the time to work with our hands.”

Positions at 1400 UTC

1. Cheminées Poujoulat (B. Stamm - J. Le Cam) at 9,878.1 miles to the finish
2. Neutrogena (G. Altadill - J. Muñoz) + 1,181.6 miles from leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A. Corbella - G. Marín) + 1,245.8 miles from leader
4. Renault Captur (J. Riechers - S. Audigane) + 1,492.0,3 miles from leader
5. We Are Water (B. Garcia - W. Garcia) + 2,539.9 miles from leader
6. One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton (A. Gelabert - D. Costa) + 3,328.6 miles from leader
7. Spirit of Hungary (N. Fa - C. Colman) + 4,018.5 miles from leader


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