Childhood friends Pachi Rivero and Toño Piris take third on Renault Z.E Sailing Team

Moving slowly across the windless finish line in the bright morning sunshine, Pachi Rivero and Toño Piris – the childhood friends who met nearly 40 years ago as grommet surfers on the beaches of their native Santander – took third place in the Barcelona World Race, completing the podium.

As Rivero and Piris broke the finish line at 06h 47m 36s GMT this morning (08h 47m 36s local time) the duo completed their non-stop circumnavigation in an elapsed time of 97d 18h 47m 36s – 2 days 21 hours 30 min 36 sec after second placed MAPFRE and 3 days 20h 27 min 36 sec after race winner Virbac Paprec 3. Their Barcelona rivals Estrella Damm were 150 miles behind.

Theirs is a popular, highly regarded result for a duo which has huge respect among their peers. This circumnavigation was the first time they had really raced together as a duo, and comes after only 14 months of preparation together.

Rivero completed the first edition of the Barcelona World Race in 99 days 12hrs 18 minutes after one stop in Wellington and has remained active in the IMOCA Class since then, but it was only a year later in December that he called his former sailing and surfing buddy, now an accomplished race-boat builder with two Whitbread Round the World Races and four America’s Cups on his CV, to join him on an IMOCA 60.

When both Estrella Damm and Groupe Bel were pit-stopped in Wellington, the duo finally fashioned a mainsail track repair – robbing and cannibalising screws and bolts from around the deck and hardware to make the crucial fix  – and that allowed them to pass the New Zealand capital without the mandatory 48 hours minimum, and on into the Pacific.

Closer to the finish, passing Madeira only a few days from Gibraltar, a major four metres mainsail leech tear when the fibres appeared to separate, overloaded as a weather front went through required every last piece of repair cloth, tape and sikaflex, to keep them up to speed and hold off Estrella Damm.

“For me the best moment was yesterday. When we finally knew that third place should be ours and we would finish with a good position. We had wanted it for so long, and kept it for half the world, and there we realised we would not lose it. It was a special time.”Recalled Piris, minutes after crossing the finish.

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