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Barcelona World Race solidarity between islander and seafarers

by Barcelona World Race on 21 Mar 2011
FMC
Barcelona World Race illustrates that having the pace and rhythm of their lives dictated by the ocean there is a certain, almost automatic solidarity between islander and seafarers.

In the Falklands it is the resolute, hardy islanders who have taken Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak into their houses and made them feel completely at home while the Barcelona World Race co-skippers finish the sail and hardware repairs to Hugo Boss which they hope will let them get back on to the race track tomorrow (Monday) morning.

But up at the front of the fleet, where the peloton trio contemplate their slow passage to the Doldrums, and the two leaders now into the Northern Hemisphere, perhaps the co-skippers will be recalling that simple maxim as the tensions inevitably rise in these very close races over the coming weeks to the finish.

Push as hard as they can and will, but it will be down to the winds to decide who profits most and who does not.

Verbraak and Meiklejohn are determined to be back in the fray as soon as possible, ready to cut off the advances of Forum Catala Maritim, which passed Cape Horn this morning at 0715hrs.

'We still have a race on, we still have a boat which we put a long way behind us, and it is now back in the picture, so there is still a lot to play for and we want to make up miles on the guys in front.' warned Meiklejohn this morning.

'We are feeling good, we are largely over the fact we have had to stop, that is a real shame for us, for Alex Thomson Racing and for Hugo Boss that we have had to stop, but we all have to go forwards form here, to take the positives out of it. We will get the repairs done and move on at 100% or as close to it as possible and so we are looking at having a great leg back up the Atlantic and showing what the boat can really do.'

'It has been fantastic, the locals have been so nice, the first couple of nights we were billeted with a local woman who cooked us some great meals and it was kind of like being at home. It’s like that. A lot of people have arrived here on boats for a short stop and 30 years later are still here . So we rather would stay here any longer, but it is a lovely place.'

For Gerard Marin this morning was a special landmark in the young Catalan sailor’s career when he passed Cape Horn. For a decade he was a leading light in the Europe singlehanded dinghy, vice world champion in 2002, third in the European championships in 2007 and fifth in 2002.

'Who would have told be ten years ago I would be here now? We were training in the Olympic port in Barcelona then, now here I am on the other side of the world at Cape Horn. It is so very different that dinghies, in dinghies you can go to the limits and can be very aggressive all the time, here in an Imoca Open 60, you cannot go beyond the limits and the race is so long so you cannot push the boat too hard. You think that you can push so hard then realize that, no, you have to look after the boat. Everything can change in an instant. This racing makes you reflect on your reasons for it even more, it is a race of passion and you have to think a lot.'

For Marin, one of Spain’s rising ocean racing stars, his horizons have broadened considerably since making two successful Mini Transats. Now he has completed the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans and admits he is motivated by race up the Atlantic perhaps with Hugo Boss.

For his first passage of Cape Horn, the 29 year old Imoca Open 60 rookie, had to be content with a night passage, albeit lit by a full moon.

For co-skipper Ludovic Aglaor, also on his first major Imoca Open 60 passage, this was his third rounding of the Horn once on the Jules Verne Record and once in the opposite direction on Gitana 13 from New York to San Francisco. And as the progression goes it was the fifth passage of the Horn for the evergreen former Kingfisher, once on delivery from New Zealand with Ellen MacArthur, once in her 2000-1 Vendée Globe, with Nick Moloney in 2004-5 and then in the first Barcelona World Race with Albert Bargues and Servan Escoffier.

Meantime Jean-Pierre Dick, leading now in the trade winds by 144 miles from Mapfre revealed today that they had a close shave a day and a half ago:

'All is well. We have fifteen knots of SE’ly wind. We are going well, quite fast. It is pleasant, especially after what happened the other day. A day and a half ago we had a squall with 35 knots of wind. We broke the front ballast and it took some hours to repair, finally finishing a few hours ago. Now we have ideal conditions. And we are satisfied with what we see ahead.'

Standings at 1400hrs Sunday 20th March 20, 2011:
1 VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 at 2791,4 miles from the finish
2 MAPFRE at 144,5 miles from the leader
3 RENAULT Z.E at 860,1 miles
4 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at 1045,8 miles
5 NEUTROGENA at 1051,9 miles
6 GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at 2091,7 miles
7 HUGO BOSS at 3676,1 miles
8 FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 4031,3 miles
9 WE ARE WATER at 5852,2 miles
10 CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at 8758,9 miles
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