With two boats already in Barcelona and six teams currently heading towards the Catalan capital, the Barcelona World Race is definitely now in ‘active’ mode. One month away from the start, a closer look at the entrants reveals an impressive list of achievements, which in themselves give a precise idea of the level of competition involved in this event.
The prominent figures of the IMOCA Open 60 Class and their machines are closing in on the Barcelona harbour, where they will gather before taking the start, on 11th November, in the first ever double-handed non-stop race around the world. Sixteen men and two women are ready to push their own limits as well as their boats, on the most demanding course a professional skipper can hope for.
The Barcelona World Race has attracted some of the world’s best skippers, coming from both the French single-handed and the Anglo-Saxon fully crewed scenes. A quick overview of their cumulated ‘titles of glory’ proves very impressive. Nine world-class teams, a strong line-up including 6 latest-generation IMOCA Open 60′s, seven different nationalities and a stunning total of 36 circumnavigations between them! The experience of the entrants covers all the disciplines of high-level sailing, ranging from Olympic campa i gns to round-the-planet records, while embracing the world’s foremost events. Scanning the skippers’ CVs reveals a total of 22 Whitbread / Volvo Ocean Race participations, nine Vendée Globe entries, nine America’s Cup participations, and more than two million nautical miles covered altogether!
Needless to say the battle around the planet will be a fierce one, and the teams are gearing up, starting to hear the countdown clock ticking. It is certainly the case onboard Temenos, where Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret have left France this week to deliver their boat to Barcelona “as if (they) were actually setting off around the world – already in race mode, in order to start picking up the pace.” The state of mind seems to be the same for every crew, having mentally switched to competition configuration.
As Jonathan McKee, co-skipper of Estrella Damm points out: “We have been working on our navigation, improving the tools we have onboard, talking to other experienced guys, and reviewing relevant literature. It is a crucial part of the race and one we hope to be strong in.” McKee, an Olympic gold medallist who has also taken part in two America’s Cup, does not forget to pay tribute to the Estrella Damm shore team, in Barcelona since the end of August, and whose members also are under tremendous pressure as the actual start date gets closer. “The guys are putting in some long hours, and recently we brought in some reinforcements, but the spirit is good, and each day the boat gets better.”
In Barcelona, where Mutua Madrileña has just been re-launched thi s week after an extensive refit, everything is ready to welcome the fleet along the “Moll de la Fusta”, at the heart of the International Boat Show which will open on 3rd November.
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