In the chase to catch the Barcelona World Race leader, Paprec-Virbac 2, Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape on Hugo Boss have opted for different tactics in the north. Alex Thomson explained this morning the reasons for their alternative route further north.
'We have stayed north because the low pressure is coming down and we don’t want upwind conditions in the southern ocean. We have been sailing north east, and it’s fast but not that good for us, hopefully will be back down in better conditions soon and heading for mark again.
I didn’t know about the ice reported by Paprec and we won’t be seeing it today for sure, right here it is sunny - 12º and although we have thermals on ...it was so hot inside the cabin in the boat! We are working at 100% and its great, nice conditions for this boat – we are averaging 25 knots boat speed, pilot running well as well. We are very happy and confident with the boat – we have had nice food, a cooked breakfast and egg mayonnaise for lunch, so we are happy bunnies on board boss.'
Meanwhile Paprec-Virbac 2 is still sailing deep in the Southern Ocean at 54°30 South latitude this morning. Skippers Jean-Pierre Dick and Damian Foxall will have to come north to reach the next ice gate at 52° South - some 300 miles to the Northeast.
They'd be wise to make their northing as soon as possible. Now, they are in a region where Francis Joyon reported seeing several big icebergs just over a week ago. And Jean François Bonnin of Météostrategy confirmed yesterday evening that there are some big icebergs below latitude 54°09, from 157° W until the longitude 93°West.
Hugo Boss has been very fast overnight, sailing at 18 to 19 knots in Southwest winds. Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape elected to remain to the north of a low pressure system. At 44°30' South, they have no worries about ice.
Temenos II arrived in Cook Strait at 22:00 GMT last night, but is mired in light, shifty winds. While Mutua Madrilena has about 300 miles to go before reaching Farewell Point. Mutua Madrilena is sailing in North winds, under the influence of a big high pressure system that has set up over New Zealand.
Educacion Sin Fronteras has altered course to the North to approach New Zealand, so with the New Year, Albert Bargues and Servanne Escoffier have lost the low pressure system that was bringing them such impressive speeds over the past week. Positions at 10:00 - 1 Jan 2008
1 Paprec Virbac 2 9,523 nm
2 Hugo Boss + 764 nm
3 Temenos 2 + 1818 nm
4 Mutua Madrileña + 2173 nm
5 Educación Sin Fronteras + 2803 nm