Desjoyeaux and Gabart retain the lead after choosing course close to Spanish coast

Just over half way from the Barcelona start to Gibraltar, hopefully escaping the capricious winds of the Mediterranean, and Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) and François Gabart (FRA) on Foncia retain the lead after choosing a course closer to the Spanish coast. They passed between Alicante to be 20 miles SWW of Cartagena, Murcia early this morning.

And after only between 36 and 48 hours of racing, already more than 100 miles separates Foncia from the 14th placed FMC. A trio of IMOCA Open 60’s at the back of the fleet suffered with even less breeze than their counterparts in the top rankings, and this morning they have just past Cabo de la Nao which the leaders were at yesterday afternoon.

It has certainly been a second slow night. Speeds for the leading group were off the order of 4-6 knots, the second cluster making 2-3 knots. The period until around 0200hrs was when the breeze was lightest, but this morning the leaders were making between 9 and 10.5 knots again in what looks like about 7-9 kts of breeze from the NW.

The leaders this morning are those who stood in closest to the shore. Foncia’s most westerly routing – Desjoyeaux and Gabart were 12 miles off on the approach Cabo de Palos nearing Cartagena – has seen them extend their advantage over Groupe Bel’s Kito de Pavant (FRA) and Sébastien Audigane (FRA) to 5.5 miles, Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron on Virbac-Paprec 3 lie third 9.9 miles behind Foncia.

Dee Caffari (GBR) and Anna Corbella (ESP)’s decision to stay well offshore has cost them a few miles, losing out from eighth to tenth overnight, but in fact there is a little more wind pressure offshore this morning where they are, and they are moving better.

In their local battle with their nearest rivals, so too taking the slightly more westerly route overnight has seen the fleet’s oldest IMOCA Open 60, We Are Water of Cali Sanamarti and Jaume Mumbrú get themselves up to eighth, passing the girls on GAES Centros Auditivos and Neutrogena.

With the high pressure system out to the west of the Iberian peninsula and the little low now close to Sicily there is little gradient between these two systems and the winds look likely to carry on being light through today, with at least one other slow up expected as they move through into the Alboran Sea.

1. Desjoyeaux & Gabart Foncia
2. Dick & Peyron 02/01/2011 Virbac-Paprec 3
3. De Pavant & Audigane Groupe Bel
4. Le Cam & García President
5. Martínez & Fernández Mapfre
6. Pella & Ribes Estrella Damm Sailing Team
7. Wavre & Paret Mirabaud
8. Herrmann & Breymaier Neutrogena Formula Noruega
9. Mumbrú & Sanmartí We are water
10. Caffari & Corbella Gaes Centros Auditivos
11. Rivero & Piris R Renault
12. Verbrakk & Meiklejohn Hugo Boss
13. Merediz & Palacio Central Lechera Asturiana E
14. Marín & Aglaor Forum Maritim Catala

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