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Is the West Best? Barcelona Update

Is the west the best? That’s a question the Barcelona World Race fleet is asking itself today as the fleet splits across an east-west divide. Furthest to the west is Veolia Environnement where skippers Roland Jourdain and Jean-Luc Nélias have pulled back an incredible 90 miles on the race leaders Paprec-Virbac 2 over the past 24 hours. From sitting in seventh place yesterday, the French duo is up to third now and sailing around the outside of the fleet is a distinct possibility.

“Today it’s easy to say we are confident in our choice, but yesterday it was a difficult decision to make,” said Jourdain on the video conference this afternoon when he was keen to point out that all the cards have yet to be played. “But we know if we want to win we have to attack and take some risks sometimes.”

Most of the rest of the fleet has sailed in close to the African coast, where the risk and reward balance is a bit less extreme in comparison to the rest of the boats. Whilst some of the fastest speeds of the day have come from boats in that area, there have also been plenty of position reports showing 30-minute average speeds of under four knots.

Indeed, skipper Vincent Riou on PRB, the second-placed boat, said the route close to coast was one that was almost forced upon them at the time: “This is where the weather conditions have brought us after we arrived at the Canary Islands. It’s better now but these are not the normal conditions for this area.”

Normal conditions would be northerly trade winds that the leading boats are hoping to hook into over the next 24 hours or so. These will shoot them down to the next obstacle – the doldrums – which they’ll have to cross before reaching the third scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil – still nearly one week away.

This evening will mark a milestone for Educación sin Fronteras as skipper Albert Bargués and Servanne Escoffier are due to pass the scoring gate at the Canary Islands, joining the rest of the fleet on the third stage of the race.

Day 11 – November 21, 16:00 G MT – Position report with distance to leader

1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 – Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL – 0.0
2. PRB – Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE – 27.7
4. DELTA DORE – Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET – 83.5
5. HUGO BOSS – Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE – 96.6
6. TEMENOS 2 – Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET – 101.2
7. ESTRELLA DAMM – Guillermo ALTADILL / Jonathan MCKEE – 113.8
8. MUTUA MADRILENA – Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO – 125.9

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 at 2:10 pm 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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