Barcelona World Race competitor Estrella Damm is pulling back miles on nearest rivals Neutrogena and also on Renault Z.E Sailing Team.
Virbac Paprec 3 - Barcelona World Race
But for other pairs of crews, the rankings reports more recently have become more of a source of stress than satisfaction.
'Sometime you are afraid to log on to the internet and see how many miles you are losing, sometimes it’s just a bit like that' grimaced Renault Z.E’s Toño Piris this morning on the Visio-Conference, confirming that he and Rivero had hit the wall-like transition zone of variable breezes.
And for Boris Herrmann, now only 153 miles behind Renault Z.E Sailing Team, but correspondingly with their lead to Estrella Damm shrunk to just four miles this afternoon, there was the same reticence to log on perhaps this afternoon, fully expecting to have lost their long held fourth place to the Barcelona duo Pepe Ribes and Alex Pella:
'We obviously lost a bit, this might be the last position report showing us ahead of Estrella Damm. We definitely have been a bit handicapped with the keel we can’t cant fully, also we had lighter breeze I think because their speed since yesterday afternoon has been better so they must have had some better breeze.'
The difficult, widely expected cold front transition zone is still likely to see considerable compression between the trio, but it is Renault Z.E Sailing Team which was first to endure the pain of seeing their speedo plumbing the depths of single digits, making only 3.4 knots, Herrmann describing the area as a ‘mini doldrums’ to be dealt with on the way north to the real thing.
Virbac-Paprec 3 back in the north Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron lead back into their ‘home’ hemisphere, passing north across the equator at midday today, at the top of the rankings just as they were when they passed north to south back on January thirteenth when they held a 40 miles lead over Foncia which they were managing to grow.
Today the duo’s lead was still shrinking, down to 167 miles ahead of Mapfre and the Spanish Olympic medallists’ challenge was still growing even if their waistlines have not been. Iker Martinez admitted today their enforced diet and the heat is starting to take a toll: 'At first it's funny, but now that we can not eat much ... it’s not that much fun' Martinez said.
And for Gerard Marin there is the knowledge that he and Ludovic Aglaor should complete a comparatively quick passage of the Pacific sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning on the vintage Forum Maritim Catala. They had 370 miles to Marin’s first ever passage of the Cape of Storms.
Standings from Friday March 18, 2011 at 1400hrs
1 Virbac-Paprec 3 at 3092 miles to finish
2 Mapfre at 167 miles to leader
3 Renault Z.E at 913 miles
4 Neutrogena at 1066 miles
5 Estrella Damm Sailing Team at 1070 miles
6 Gaes Centros Auditivos at 2176 miles
7 HUGO BOSS at 3375miles
8 Forum Maritim Catala at 4176 miles
9 We Are Water at 6134 miles
10 Central Lechera Asturiana at 8458 miles
RTD Groupe Bel