Gilles Martin-Raget / Barcelona World Race

Renault Captur closes on Wellington

As GAES continues to gun down Neutrogena in the Barcelona World Race

Saturday February 21st 2015, Author: Helen Fretter, Location: New Zealand

Renault Captur was approaching Wellington, New Zealand, this Saturday afternoon ready to set in motion their plan to repair their damaged starboard rudder blade.

With 60 miles to go, sailing upwind in a short, choppy sea at the eastern entrance to the Cook Strait, Jorg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane confirmed once again that they aim to be finished their technical pit stop and on their way during Monday.

"We are calm and determined to stay in the race." they said as they prepared to make their New Zealand landfall.

The misfortune of Riechers and Audigane, who had been fourth since leaving the Mediterranean, has been to the immediate benefit of Bruno and Willy Garcia on We Are Water. This morning's 0500 showed them having taken fourth place and at around 1400 UTC this afternoon the Barcelona-based brothers passed the actual longitude of the unfortunate Renault Captur, now 690 miles to their north. We Are Water is now 714 miles behind GAES Centros Auditivos. And with One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton about one normal day's racing miles behind, there seems every chance that Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa will rise to fifth place on Sunday. The clock will be ticking for Riechers and Audigane as soon as they reach the dock.

Anna Corbella, co-skipper of GAES Centros Auditivos, appeared to play down suggestions that just because she and Gerard Marín are so close to Neutrogena that they would inherently push harder to pass their rivals. She confirmed that keeping themselves and the boat safe is much more important than any possible short term gain. That said they are all but looming in Neutrogena's rear view mirror, tracking the wake of Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz, only nine miles behind this afternoon and still, seemingly just a fraction quicker than the Spanish-Chilean duo. Corbella confirmed in Catalan once again that their AIS is not working so they could not track Neutrogena minute by minute.

"We feel very happy. We are satisfied with our speed and performance. Every day we are closer to Neutrogena and are very happy. I think the boat which has less problems will be in front. It is difficult to have more speed here when you have to take care of the boat and all the material. It is not easy to push the boats hard when we have to take care not to break things to exit this Pacific Ocean in good shape and to really begin the battle in the Atlantic.

"For the moment the boat is good, we don't have any major problems, we have little things that we are following to see what happens, but for the moment we are okay, but you never know. You see what happens with other boats which have problems and they come suddenly so you never know. One day you are okay the next day you have a problem with the rudder or something. We have to take care and take care of the boat.

"We a feel a little bit isolated. We have a lack of information of everything compared to being at home. You feel it. You need to know things. We are like in another world. We ask our family and friends to send us information about what is happening in the world.

"We have emailed some of the other Spanish boats, not a lot, maybe when they cross a Cape or something in Spanish. We are more or less in the same situation so it is nice to chat.

"For me I prefer to overtake a boat rather than to be be trying to avoid being overtaken. It is easier for me. I prefer to be in second trying to catch first!"

Life remains tough for Spirit of Hungary. After having to climb the mast in 30-40 knots of breeze to get the mainsail down because a car had partially disintegrated and jammed, Conrad Colman explained that he will still need to climb the mast to recover the slide and to then evaluate its state and usefulness. Another system can be set up, but a stop in New Zealand for a spare is not being discounted. As such that would be a tough call, given that if they did not they would pass the longitude of Wellington on Tuesday with a fighting chance of passing Renault Captur too.

The only problem for race leader Cheminées Poujoulat seems to be the strong winds and big seas. Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam are making 13 knots, carving the start of the long arc south and east to Cape Horn 1220 miles ahead of them. Tonight they will be closer to the notorious Cape and the exit of the Pacific than their nearest challengers, Neutrogena, are to them.

Position at 1400

1 Cheminées Poujoulat (B Stamm – J Le Cam) at 8101 miles to finish
2 Neutrogena (G Altadill – J Muñoz) + 1213 miles to leader
3 GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella – G Marin) + 1222 miles to leader
4 We Are Water (B Garcia – W Garcia) + 2935 miles to leader
5 Renault Captur (J Riechers – S Audigane) +3229 miles to leader
6 One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert – D Costa) + 3336 miles to leader
7 Spirit of Hungary (N Fa – C Colman) + 4123 miles to leader
ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)

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