Paprec-Virbac 2 is closing in on Cape Horn, as the leading boat in the Barcelona World Race has just over 500 more miles to run before reaching the great southern Cape.
Cape Horn has great significance to any round-the-world sailor, and it's no different in the Barcelona World Race. In fact, in this race, it also marks the next scoring gate in the race as well.
'It's the gateway to the Atlantic and the exit from the Southern Ocean. The thing about the Southern Ocean is that it's constant and it feels like it is just never-ending,' says Damian Foxall, from on board Paprec-Virbac 2. 'It's relentless, it's always blowing, or about to blow or it's just been blowing and there's always a big sea - and this in the summer! It's an amazing place, but Cape Horn marks the door to leave and we'll be happy to leave because it means we're heading north for the final section of the race.'
As they predicted yesterday, the guys on Hugo Boss have dropped nearly 200 miles to Paprec-Virbac 2 over the last 24 hours. The speed differential has shrunk now, but for much of the last day, Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape were a full 10 knots slower than the leader. Things have improved over the last few hours though.
'We now have 17-20 knots of wind and we are sailing pretty much hard on the wind,' Thomson said. 'Hopefully in the next day the breeze will go left a little bit, which should free us up and we will go faster. We are not suddenly going to do eighteen knots but slowly our speeds should increase.'
The battle for third place is currently being won by Temenos II, who have gained 15 miles over the past 24 hours on Mutua Madrileña, with both boats making good speed and averaging near 15 knots.
That leaves Educación sin Fronteras trying to keep up. But they don't have the conditions to make that easy and have dropped nearly 80 miles to the two boats in front. Day 59 - January 8, 14:00 GMT - Position report with distance to leader
1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 - Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL - 0
2. HUGO BOSS - Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE - 1022
3. TEMENOS II - Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 2903
4. MUTUA MADRILENA - Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO - 3025
5. EDUCACION SIN FRONTERAS - Servane ESCOFFIER / Albert BARGUES - 3466
Abandoned - VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT - Roland JOURDAIN / Jean Luc NELIAS
Abandoned - ESTRELLA DAMM - Guillermo ALTADILL / Jonathan MCKEE
Abandoned - DELTA DORE - Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET
Abandoned - PRB - Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE Quotes - Damian Foxall, Paprec-Virbac 2:
'We've had a difficult Southerly breeze for the last 36 hours, really squally conditions. We've been reaching, so the autopilot has been able to do a lot of the work, but it's squally enough that you're on deck all the time, ordering the autopilot up or down depending upon how the waves are and what the wind is doing and trimming the sails all the time. It's been very cold and that takes a lot out of you. On the upside, we're going straight down the route, very quickly, and we have a 1000 mile lead on Hugo Boss and it's nice to have that buffer going into the Horn.' http://www.barcelonaworldrace.org