In the wee hours this morning, Veolia Environnement departed from the Kerguelen Islands to rejoin the Barcelona World Race. It was 00:50 GMT when skipper Roland Jourdain slipped his mooring in Port aux Français, to sail out again into the Southern Ocean.
It was a slow beginning as for several hours the boat was sheltered in the lee of the island. But by mid-morning, Veolia Environnement was back up to pace and trying to cut into the advantage held by the leaders. By the 14:00 GMT position report, Veolia Environnement was the fastest boat in the fleet.
The stop was necessary to repair their engine, a critical component in keeping batteries charged and electronics functioning.
Helped by a team of mechanics and technicians, Roland Jourdain and Jean-Luc Nélias worked hard to find the source of the problem: “Even after working from Friday night, through to Saturday, it still took us seven or eight hours to get the engine started and to recharge its batteries,” co-skipper Nélias explained. “We then decided to sleep for th r ee hours before setting out again early.we were absolutely exhausted as we’d only been able to sleep for eight hours in total over the past three days.”
They have a monumental task ahead of them as race leader Paprec-Virbac 2 has consolidated its position after a difficult beginning to the weekend. Skipper Jean-Pierre Dick has recovered 30 miles from yesterday to lead Hugo Boss by 150 miles. Veolia is nearly 700 miles further behind.
“Yesterday we were mad, but today we feel a bit better,” acknowledged Jean-Pierre Dick. “We’re using the pilot a little now to try and preserve our energy – there’s a long way to go. We just eat, sleep and spend time on deck, only this.”
“We found a good lane, but I expect they’ll take some miles back now,” acknowledged Alex Thomson from Hugo Boss this afternoon. And indeed, on the 16:00 position report, Hugo Boss was nearly a full five knots slower than the race leader.
Day 36 – December 16, 16:00 GMT – Position report with distance to leader
1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 – Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL – 0
2. HUGO BOSS – Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE – 150
3. VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT – Roland JOURDAIN / Jean Luc NELIAS – 846
4. TEMENOS 2 – Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 1160
5. MUTUA MADRILENA – Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO – 1994
6. EDUCACION SIN FRONTERAS – Servane ESCOFFIER / Albert BARGUES – 2688
Abandoned – ESTRELLA DAMM – Guillermo ALTADILL / JONATHAN MCKEE
Abandoned – DELTA DORE – Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET
Abandoned – PRB – Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE
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