The second placed boat in the Barcelona World Race fleet has made a dramatic gain over the past 24 hours, cutting the lead of Paprec-Virbac 2 by more than half. More distressing for skipper Jean-Pierre Dick and co-skipper Damian Foxall, their plan to sail further south in an attempt to find more favourable conditions resulted in them seeing an iceberg - the first one spotted so far in the race.
Hugo Boss © Hugo Boss - Barcelona World Race
'We were at nearly 55-degrees south this morning when we saw an iceberg off the bow,' said Damian Foxall this afternoon. 'It was about a mile long, I would guess, and it was pretty impressive. Hopefully it's the last one we see.'
Since the sighting, Paprec-Virbac 2 has sailed up to a slightly warmer latitude, decreasing the odds of seeing another iceberg. But they are still quite far south at over 54-degrees latitude. In addition to the stress caused by the iceberg, Foxall also said he and Jean-Pierre Dick were distressed to see how much Hugo Boss had gained overnight and throughout the day.
'Hugo Boss has sailed up with the new breeze,' Damian said. 'We expected to take a big hit and we expect it to keep going for a while yet, but even though we knew it was coming, to wake up and see 75 to 100 miles go in an evening is pretty tough.'
The boat in third place, Veolia Environnement, remains moored at the Kerguelen Islands this afternoon, after stopping yesterday to fix and engine problem. The team has said they are making progress and expect to leave late this afternoon or evening. Skipper Roland Jourdain told his shore team he was happy to have discovered such a beautiful part of the world, but he's anxious to get back into the race before too many miles are lost. Behind them, Temenos II has made significant gains over the past 24 hours.
Veolia Environnement at Kerguelen Islands making repairs © Yann Libessart - Barcelona World Race
Mutua Madrileña and Educación sin Fronteras continue to make progress towards the south as well. Mutua Madrileña in particular is the second furthest south in the fleet this afternoon and on the lookout for icebergs. Servane Escoffier on Educación sin Fronteras reported that it was getting noticeably colder as they approached 45-degrees south latitude, but said it was still possible to work on deck without gloves.
And Delta Dore, who was forced to abandon the Barcelona World Race earlier this week following its dismasting, has now made a rendezvous with an assistance ship dispatched by its shore crew. The team has taken on 150 litres of diesel and been given a small 8 metre mast to fashion a jury rig. As of this evening, Delta Dore was under tow and heading for South Africa.
Day 35 - December 15, 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 - 120
3. VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT - Roland JOURDAIN / Jean Luc NELIAS - 633
4. TEMENOS 2 - Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 1095
5. MUTUA MADRILENA - Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO - 1874
6. EDUCACION SIN FRONTERAS - Servane ESCOFFIER / Albert BARGUES - 2588
Abandoned - ESTRELLA DAMM - Guillermo ALTADILL / JONATHAN MCKEE
Abandoned - DELTA DORE - Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET
Abandoned - PRB - Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE
In Quotes - Javier Sansó, Mutua Madrileña: 'We keep getting asked by people from shore who don't know about sailing about whether we stop, or anchor at night, or how we sleep. Of course we don't. Our main references are our electronic tools that give us information about our course and speed. We're very reliant on these. If they shut down one night when it is very dark or very cold, I think we might die from an ulcer from the stress!!'