Barcelona Race - New Pacific ice gate position

Merry Christmas from Mutua Madrilena

Following several ice sightings by the French multihull sailor Francis Joyon, the Barcelona World Race Direction team has decided to shift the coordinates of the next ice gate, for the Pacific stretch of the Southern Ocean.

This change comes following several ice sightings by the French multihull sailor Francis Joyon who has just screamed through that area on his around the world record attempt.

The new position for the ice gate is a line along 52-degrees south latitude, between 140-degrees and 129-degrees West longitude.

Paprec-Virbac 2 is closing in on the Cook Strait scoring gate, but the going is slow, with the wind very shifty in speed and direction as they get closer to shore. This will be an exhausting few hours for the race leader.

Hugo Boss, who have closed to within 143nm of the leaders, is about eight hours behind and beginning to experience the same difficulties.

The boats further back have it better. Temenos II is moving alright but the gap between them and the leaders is big. . . they won't see Cook Strait for five more days.

And Educacion sin Fronteras is making the most of this opportunity to close the gap, averaging an astounding 20 knots on the last position report.

Barcelona Wotld Race positions at 08:00hrs - 26 Dec 2007

1 Paprec Virbac 2 DTF 11,329 nm
2 Hugo Boss + 143 nm
3 Temenos 2 + 1566 nm
4 Mutua Madrileña + 1960 nm
5 Educación Sin Fronteras + 3063 nm

Hugo Boss made the best distance gain on Christmas Day - distance made good in the past 24 hours was 394 miles, compared to race leader Paprec-Virbac 2 who has made good just 307 miles. For Paprec-Virbac, those extra miles made up previously were to be a critical buffer.

The second best run on Christmas Day came from Educacion sin Fronteras. The only boat remaining in the Furious Fifties had an average speed of around 17 knots on each of the position polls - plenty of pace from the back of the fleet!