Less than 1400 miles to go for leaders
As anticipated, Virbac-Paprec 3 tacked north again yesterday afternoon, taking a short hitch to avoid passing directly through the Canary Islands archipelago and the likely long wind shadows cast by the high mountains, especially Tenerife. With some 90 miles left to reach the westernmost extremity of the islands, Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron will take a short hitch back to the north before extending east all the way to the Moroccan coast.
Iker Martinez retains his fierce optimism, believing that there will be chances to pull back some miles on the leading pair after Mapfre passes the Canary Islands:
“As far as strategy goes there is not much before the Canary Islands, we make a mainly northerly course and will tack to the east depending on the evolution of the anticyclone, but what seems more complex is after the Canaries to the Straits of Gibraltar when it seems like there will be less wind.” The duo remain determined to be resigned to second place, but Martinez admits “our destiny is for sure not 100% in our own hands.”
If the Spanish sailing icons don’t feel particularly compromised on this long upwind leg since the Equator by the damaged dagger board, Martinez saying it might be causing them a small fraction of a knot of difference, Boris Herrmann and his co-skipper Ryan Breymaier are much more frustrated by the fact they cannot cant their keel to its maximum, so losing valuable righting moment as they duel with Estrella Damm. Herrmann’s assertion is backed up by their loss of 14 miles over the last 24 hours to their Spanish rivals.
Estrella Damm is now 36 miles ahead:
“It is just a bit nuts for us just now because we feel like if we had the full potential of our keel then it would be a totally different game, for us it is like driving a car with only four out of five gears. We can’t switch into fifth gear and get the last bit of speed. We reckon that it is almost a knot that we are missing, so it is a good thing for them. They seem to be able to sail away from us with no trouble.
It is like in a dinghy, a lighter dinghy crew has to sail a higher angle, a closer angle to the wind, trying to do the same VMG like that. That is what we try to do here. The boat has slightly less righting moment, the only option is to sail higher at a slower speed, but that works pretty well,” explained Herrmann.
However, for the Spanish-English duo of Anna Corbella and Dee Caffari on Gaes Centros Auditivos there is the hope that they will be able to sail the north Atlantic with their IMOCA Open 60 back at very close to 100% potential after completing their ballast tank repair yesterday. Corbella confirmed they will be giving the lamination 48 hours to cure completely before building up to maximum speed.
But the biggest repair of all has been that of Central Lechera Asturiana who have been in Wellington since third of March when they arrived with their broken mast, but the team informed Race Direction in Barcelona that they intend to set out from the Kiwi capital tonight.
“Our objective was and continues to be the completion of the circumnavigation,” explained Juan Merediz. “As the Mexican song goes, ‘finishing first is not really the important thing; the important thing is to know how to finish’. We really have this desire to complete what we started.” His co-skipper, Fran Palacio, added:
“Ourshore team, management and the FNOB are doing all in their power for us to be able to fulfill our dream. We do not have enough words of gratitude to express all we feel for this help. Without a doubt we have worked with the best”.
To track the fleet, click here.