Barcelona World Race teams face repairs, retirements and the Doldrums.
Michèle Paret and Dominique Wavre bid farewell © Mirabaud - Barcelona World Race 2011
Exhausted but still determined, Wouter Verbraak admitted from the sunny, still sanctuary of Stanley in the Falkland Islands today that he and co-skipper Andy Meiklejohn went through some dark hours when they battled through two long non-stop days of painstaking work trying to repair damaged sails while aboard their Imoca Open 60 Hugo Boss while at anchor in Adventure Sound, trying to keep alive their shared dream of making their circumnavigation an unaided one.
'We unfolded more and more sails and discovered more and more damage, which was devastating. For us this race is all about first the competition, but secondly also making this a non stop race, so that is why we made such an effort to not make a technical stop, so to be faced with the facts that we had to, is devastating. We were absolutely devastated. We are absolutely gutted after working for 48 hours straight without sleeping. We were exhausted. It was not a fun place to be.'
Dutch co-skipper Verbraak admitted today by phone, just five minutes after tying up in the Falklands harbour, and minutes before he and Kiwi Meiklejohn were expecting their first ‘real cup of coffee’ in 75 days.
'We have pretty much all the sails to repair, it is a manufacturing flaw, we have holes and parts of the film which need repairing. We are not sure how long it is going to take but at least 3-4 days working away here repairing sails.'
'It is a number of sails, we have to make sure that we can actually get to Barcelona without making another stop, at least just a one stop race, not a multiple stop race, and as everybody knows the Atlantic is not your Mediterranean light winds sailing.'
The duo were anticipating the arrival this Thursday afternoon from England of their technical shore manager Ross Daniel, armed with specialist glues and sailmaking films. They expect to take advantage of the light winds weather window to make the mainsail mast track repair first priority before getting wired into the sail repair marathon.
The duo paid a great tribute to the support of the local community who have already been pulling out the stops to help the Dutch-Kiwi duo.
'We will probably end up using the church as a sail loft. So they have kindly asked us to move out of the sail loft on Sunday, but we will continue either side of their worship.'
Official confirmation came this morning of the retirement from the Barcelona World Race of Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret, the Swiss-French duo on Mirabaud following their dismasting.
Yesterday evening, following the constant monitoring of their progress under jury rig by the MRCC authorities, the vastly experienced couple had a welcome visit from an Argentinian Navy’s Drummond class combat ship A.R.A. 'Granville' and an army plane which were on exercise in the area. The ship was some 14 miles away and set course to rendezvous with Mirabaud which was spotted for them by the plane. A RIB was then sent across to Wavre and Paret with 150 litres of diesel fuel for them which should allow them to make safe passage towards Mar Del Plata.
The couple and the organizers of the Barcelona World Race extend their thanks to the MRCC and the Argentine military personnel for their help and professionalism.
In the Doldrums with the goalposts moving
In the lead, progress has been mixed for both Virbac-Paprec 3 and Mapfre. The French duo who top the standings, Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron, have not yet really hit the stop-start progress and the really typical Doldrums conditions, indeed Peyron confirmed that not only have they not had the worst of the conditions, but the axis of the convergence zone is moving north with them. And second placed Mapfre have still been making decent progress in light SE’ly tradewinds, still making 27 miles again back on the French leaders this afternoon.
Standings at Thursday 17th March at 1400hrs UTC:
1 Virbac-Paprec 3 at 3203,3 miles to finish
2 Mapfre at 253,3 miles to leader
3 Renault Z.E at 1051,7 miles
4 Neutrogena at 1278,8 miles
5 Estrella Damm Sailing Team at 1341,1 miles
6 Gaes Centros Auditivos at 2209,9 miles
7 Hugo Boss at 3264,2 miles
8 Forum Maritim Catala at 4422 miles
9 We Are Water at 6293,1 miles
10 Central Lechera Asturiana at 8347 miles
RTD Groupe Bel
Barcelona World Race website