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Barcelona World Race leaders almost touching victory

by Virbac-Paprec Sailing Team on 4 Apr 2011
Barcelona World Race 2011 Virbac Paprec 3
Barcelona World Race leaders Jean-Pierre and Loïck are expected in Barcelona tomorrow morning at around 09:00 hours.

On the day before their victorious finish in Barcelona, Jean-Pierre and Loïck are currently sailing in a beam wind in the middle of the Balearic Islands. The wind should calm during the day and slow down Virbac-Paprec 3’s headway towards the Catalan city. During the official radio contact at midday, the mood on board Virbac-Paprec 3 was excellent. 'We are really delighted to be approaching the finish. It will be a magic moment. Three months is a long time. I’m dying to see my son again.' In the 16:00 hour ranking, Virbac-Paprec 3 was 90 miles from the finish.

How are things going on board?
JP: 'We’ve slept well and I had breakfast with Loïck. This morning we passed Ibiza with a good breeze. Unfortunately, it won’t last long. The wind should ease off during the day bringing a flat calm. MAPFRE is at a very respectable distance. Victory is within our grasp. This finish is at our fingertips.

Loïck: 'It’s not going to be simple during the night, since there won’t be much air. I’m delighted to be nearly there even if we haven’t crossed the finishing line. Anything can happen yet, although nothing will stop me from sleeping, apart from maintaining the watch for cargo ships and keeping an eye on the running of the boat.'

Victory is at your fingertips, how do you feel 24 hours from the finish?
JP: 'We a really delighted to be reaching Barcelona. We can already imagine the welcome. Seeing our families, friends, sponsors, and my team again; these are magic moments. Three months is short, but it can also be very long. My son is now 7 months old. He has doubled in age since I left. This will be a shock for me. During the night, I relived the whole of the race at sea: the first passage of Gibraltar, when we overtook Foncia. We made a small tactical error in Madeira, probably the only one throughout the race. It seems a long time ago. Lots of things have happened since then. We made two technical pit stops, one of which was for a broken mainsail traveller. We thought that it was all over for us then. However, the whole team was mobilized and we were able to set sail again. The stop in Wellington was a difficult decision to make. The speed of Virbac-Paprec 3 and our non-stop trimming enabled us to stay in the lead.

You went swimming in the Mediterranean yesterday, during the calm.
JP: 'Yesterday, when the Mediterranean was calm (for 7 hours we were sailing at 0.4 to 2 knots at the most), both Loïck and I took it in turn to go for a swim. The Mediterranean is like a ventilator. It’s either ON or OFF! Going for a swim is a good thing. The cold clears the mind and helps you relax while you’re waiting for the wind to return. It was also an opportunity to check that everything was okay. The keel is still there and there’s no delamination of the hull. I stroked my boat, because she’s suffered a lot. I have become really attached to my Virbac-Paprec 3.'

How to follow the finish of Virbac-Paprec 3 tomorrow morning
You can follow the finish of Jean-Pierre and Loïck in Barcelona live on www.jpdick.com as well as on twitter (Dick_JeanPierre).

The first images of the finish will be uploaded on reception. After the finish you can share in the first reactions of Jean-Pierre and Loïck live through the press conference broadcast live on the Barcelona World Race website.
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