The top seven boats in the Barcelona World Race fleet have escaped the clutches of the doldrums and are now racing on a tight reach towards the third scoring gate, off the coast of Brazil, at Fernando de Noronha.
PRB and Paprec-Virbac 2, as race leaders, were first to pick up the southeast tradewinds and as a result of sailing in stronger winds, have added to their lead over the chasing group. Veolia Environnement, mired in the doldrums 24 hours ago, esca p ed over night and is also sailing at good speed towards Fernando.
“Yesterday was very difficult as we got stuck and have paid dearly for our situation,” said Veolia Environnement co-skipper Jean-Luc Nélias. “Now, outside it is very blue, a beautiful day, we are reaching right now and spending quite a lot of time on the deck.”
In fact, the top seven boats are now flying away. These tradewinds represent a break of sorts for the tired crews who have been burdened by countless sail changes through the doldrums. The stable winds mean the skippers can set up the boats, stack their sails on the high side of the boat to increase stability, and catch up on some rest.
“It is a relief to be on the move again..in the doldrums you know when you are going in but you never know when you are going to get out,” said Delta Dore skipper Jérémie Beyou. “The boat has been heeling since last night and we’ve had 15-20 knots wind, sailing at 13 knots. From here to Fernando de N oronha, there is not much to do now.but we are going to have quite a lot on our plates going into the south Atlantic.it is very hot on board; nice weather and conditions for sailing but a little hard to sleep, and we have a fan to keep the boat cooler.”
Following passage through the third gate, the next obstacle is the St. Helena High – a weather system that prevails to the west of South Africa, which prevents the crews from cutting the corner around Cape Town. Instead, the teams will sail nearly directly south, until they begin to pi c k up the strong westerlies that will power them around the bottom of the globe.
This afternoon, the only team still lingering in the doldrums is Estrella Damm. A tired sounding Guillermo Altadill said he can’t wait to get into the trade winds and get further south. Behind Estrella Damm, Educación sin Fronteras is about to hit the doldrums and skipper Albert Bargués says he’s hoping for a fast passage that will allow them to stay in touch with the fleet.
Day 17 – November 27, 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 – 34.9
3. VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT – Roland JOURDAIN / Jean Luc NELIAS – 175.2
4. DELTA DORE – Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET – 261.8
5. HUGO BOSS – Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE – 283.1
6. TEMENOS II – Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET – 301.1
7. MUTUA MADRILENA – Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO – 301.6
8. ESTRELLA D A MM – Guillermo ALTADILL / Jonathan MCKEE – 448.9
9. EDUCACION SIN FRONTERAS – Servane ESCOFFIER / Albert BARGUES – 630.3
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