There’s a new leader in the Barcelona World Race – Vincent Riou and Seb Josse on PRB have used a fast passage through the doldrums to take the lead from Paprec-Virbac 2.
PRB was set up about 30 miles to the west and this made all the difference, the distinctive orange boat emerged from doldrums this morning over 20 miles ahead. Paprec-Virbac 2 was up to speed again not long afterwards and with third placed Veolia Environnement nearly 100 miles back the two leaders will now sprint d own to the third scoring gate 350 miles away off the coast of Brazil.
“It will be a straight road now to Fernando de Noronha and as usual the atmosphere is good on the boat,” Riou confirmed by phone this morning. “Of course it is great to be ahead having passed Paprec-Virbac just now.”
Late this afternoon, most of the fleet was still enveloped by what appears to be a rather tame doldrums. For most, speeds are still in single digits as the skippers try to weave their way between rain squalls and thunder cells. The doldrums are hard work for the sailors; with winds between three and 30 knots, sail changes come fast and furious.
“Last night at around 21: 0 0 we went into our first cloud, got hammered by 30 knots and made our first sail change and then we haven’t really stopped since about 8:00 this morning and then its just been start-stop, start-stop,” was the way Alex Thomson described the experience on Hugo Boss last night. A sail change can take up to 20 minutes and Thomson says they made five or six overnight. He says there wasn’t a lot of sleep.
But if the winds in the doldrums are annoying for the sailors, the weather does have its positive aspects. For most of the sailors, the rain showers were a welcome opportunity to bathe and get clean after the heat and humidity of the equatorial latitudes.
In the latest position report, it’s Veolia Environnement who is suffering the most, still nearly stopped in the doldrums with the rest of fleet advancing. In contrast, Mutua Madrileña and Temenos II have had a great afternoon, closing the gap dramatically with Delta Dore and Hugo Boss and gaining near 40 miles ove r the last 24 hours.
Day 16 – November 26, 16:00 GMT – Position report with distance to leader
1. PRB – Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE – 0.0
2. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 – Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL – 26.9
3. VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT – Roland JOURDAIN / Jean Luc NELIAS – 104.7
4. HUGO BOSS – Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE – 162.9
5. DELTA DORE – Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET – 170.8
6. MUTUA MADRILENA – Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO – 177.8
7. TEMENOS 2 Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET – 196.5
8. ESTRELLA DAMM – Guillermo ALTADILL / Jonathan MCKEE – 269.1
9. EDUCACION SIN FRONTERAS – Servane ESCOFFIER / Albert BARGUES – 610.7
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