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Match Racing Through the Islands

Paprec-Virbac 2 roared through the second scoring gate in the Canary Islands at 07:01 GMT this morning, leading the fleet for the second time past a course milestone. PRB was some three and half hours later, and both had opened up a reasonable (50+ miles) gap with the bulk of the fleet chasing them.

“Its great,” emailed Paprec-Virbac skipper Jean Pierre Dick this morning. “The best place to be I’d say! We are quite hungry for a win so to come through ahead is fabulous. The relationship with Damian is really good, and it’s encouraging to have a bit of success at the beginning like this, but we know there are still a lot of miles to go and our competition is not far is not going to be easy to keep our name at the top of the list. We are going to have to fight for it.”

Behind the top pair, an intense battle has been waged over the past two days between Veolia Environnement and Delta Dore, more akin to a match race than an around the world ocean marathon. The pair has matched each other tack for tack and approach the Canaries gate at a dead heat. Both teams are anxious to get clear of the islands, sensing an opportunity ahead.

“After the Canaries, the head of the fleet should slow down a bit and we could have a chance to catch up,” explained Roland Jourdain on Veolia Environnement after looking at the forecast.

Further back, the frustration continues for teams like Hugo Boss, Temenos II and Estrella Damm, who sent a photo illustrating exactly how calm the conditions can be. Out furthest west of this pack is Hugo Boss, who was sailing fast, but had that advantage effectively neutralised by the additional miles on its track.

In the middle of this mix is the crew on Mutua Madrileña, who have done quite well with their easterly routing. Despite a forecast several days ago that would see them penalised heavily for their choice, the Spanish crew has remained in the hunt, with their shortcut paying dividends approaching the gate.

Finally, Educación sin Front e ras has had the most difficult 24 hours, dropping over 60 miles to the leaders. Skipper Albert Bargués is forecasting it will be another two days before they reach the Canary Islands.

Day 9 – November 19, 16:00 GMT – Position report with distance to leader

1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 – Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL – 0.0
2. PRB – Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE – 36.5
4. DELTA DORE – Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET – 93.4
5. HUGO BOSS – Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE – 130.8
6. ESTRELLA DAMM – Guillermo ALTADILL / Jonathan MCKEE – 139.3
7. TEMENOS 2 – Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET – 158.1
8. MUTUA MADRILENA – Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO – 158.9

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 at 9:10 am and is filed under International Sailing, Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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