Comfortable lead for Paprec-Virbac

Barcelona World race - Paprec-Virbac 2 Photo: Copyright Chris Cameron/DPPI/Barcelona World Race

The leading boat in the Barcelona World Race, Paprec-Virbac 2 is now less than 1,900 miles from the finishing line, which translates to about 10 more days of racing. With a 476 mile lead on Hugo Boss, the situation is comfortable for the race leader, but by no means assured as Damian Foxall explained today as stronger winds - up to 30 knots! - have seen their boat speed rise, as well as their stress level.

At the 06:00 GMT position report Dominique and Michele had gained 99 miles on Hugo Boss and 86 on the leaders. The fastest boat on the water at 13 knots, Temenos II has managed to increase their distance over the Spanish duo on Mutua Madrileña, now 117 miles, although Bubi and Pachi have also closed in on first position by 74 miles!

Hugo Boss lost 13 miles overnight to Paprec Virbac 2 who is into some stronger winds climbing north and covering most mileage in 24 hours (331) but is aiming to cross the ridge of high pressure.

The figures for Jean Pierre and Damian on VMG might not be as flattering, but they have popped out a little further ahead of the men in black behind them. Alex and Capey are on a more westerly bearing and will soon have to tack back. They are now 1850 miles from Gibraltar.

Educación sin Fronteras a little slower than those ahead but managing to stick to their objective of an average speed of ten knots! They are currently in good wind of about 20 knots, on a north easterly bearing and still in the low pressure coming from Brazil, however she has lost miles to the Spanish overnight

Current weather routing software puts Paprec-Virbac 2 sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar on the 8 February, making a finish on the 11th likely. That will be exactly three months since the start of the race on 11 November - and not a moment too soon for Damian.

'It's funny you should mention this is day 83,' he said laughing this afternoon. 'I think I'm beginning to know what it feels like to be 83 years old! But if we can hold on to the finish we'll have really achieved something great for ourselves and the team.'

Capey are on a more westerly bearing and will soon have to tack back. They are now 1850 miles from Gibraltar.
Educación sin Fronteras a little slower than those ahead but managing to stick to their objective of an average speed of ten knots! They are currently in good wind of about 20 knots, on a north easterly bearing and still in the low pressure coming from Brazil, however she has lost miles to the Spanish overnight

The battle for third place is still very close - Temenos II crossed Gate 7 between Cape Horn and Fernando de Noronha at 16.45 GMT, and with an elapsed time of 13 days 13 hours and 34 minutes the French-Swiss tandem are the fastest boat to complete this stage!

Mutua Madrileña is pipped to the post by an incredibly small margin of only 1 hour and 40 minutes! Bubi and Pachi reached gate 7 at 01.45 GMT with an elapsed time of 13 days 15 hours and 14 minutes.

The fifth place boat, Educación sin Fronteras, has been slower over the past 24 hours, stuck in the middle of a low pressure system off the Brazilian coast. While their speed is getting better now, it hasn't been a pleasant 24 hours, with the boat 'violently hitting the waves' as a fatigued Servane described today.

Positions with distance to leader - 06:00 2 Feb 2008

1 Paprec Virbac 2 1,892 nm
2 Hugo Boss + 476
3 Temenos ll + 1285
4 Mutua Madrileña + 1402
5 Educación Sin Fronteras + 2720

RET Veolia Environnement + NA
RET Estrella Damm + NA
RET Delta Dore + NA
RET PRB + NA

Quotes - Servane Escoffier, Educación sin Fronteras:

'It is quite warm now and we are still sailing upwind after having spent a rough night in the middle of this Brazilian low coming from Rio. Last night, the boat was violently hitting the waves and I don't like this because it is never good for the boat even if I climbed the mast a few days ago and I know everything is fine.

Of course, it would be great to be the second boat finishing this race without having stopped, but this is not over yet: we already have sailed more than 20 000 miles since last November, that's a lot for me!'

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