Paprec-Virbac 2's great 'Trade Winds escape' continues, and the Franco-Irish duet has gained a whopping 169 miles over the past 24 hours.
The situation is still tactically uncomplicated for Hugo Boss, but despite the 'lovely conditions' described by Alex today, things could be a bit better as speeds stay in the lower range, while things remain unsettling on the rudder front. During the night, Temenos II made a move to the west and has reduced the lateral gap with Mutua Madrileña, but as predicted Dominique and Michèle dramatically slowed down today. The two boats fighting for third place now have to face a very unclear weather situation.
'It's always very tiring to be struggling to make progress in light airs', said Michèle Paret today, 'we have to constantly trim the sails, and the fact that it's now very hot doesn't exactly help either.' Obviously, the situation has radically changed for Temenos II, who yesterday was still storming along under spinnaker - but things nevertheless don't look too bad. 'We followed the wind last night, and we ended up this morning north of Mutua Madrileña, which is good but not intentional, since we don't have any position reports at night, we were not trying to control them. Logically, we should be the first to come out of that high pressure zone, but the weather files are notably unreliable these days, the situation is very complicated', said Michele, echoing what Javier Bubi Sanso had previously explained.
'I'm pulling my hair out trying to figure out how it all will evolve', said the Spanish skipper, who commented on yesterday's tactical move: 'We gybed to get away from the hole, it went really well and we gained more miles on Temenos II'. The battle is as exciting as ever between the two crews, but today Michèle sounded very confident and positive about the outcome - it's a matter of finding a little passage to get out in first position, and Mutua Madrileña is bound to slow down in the next hours anyway... Steel nerves and tactical lucidity will be the key factors during the next 24 to 48 hours for the crews, as gaining just half a knot of boat speed proves at the same time crucial and extremely demanding when the wind does not exceed 6 to 7 knots.
Surely Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape can relate to that, as Hugo Boss is still slogging along at 7,5 knots while Paprec-Virbac 2 is roughly twice as fast. The 'Men in Black', as Jean-Pierre Dick calls them, lose around 15 miles every two hours, and there simply isn't anything they can do about it. 'It's a straight line job, we're at the top of the high and it's very simple', said Alex who could have added 'and very frustrating'. As mentioned yesterday, Hugo Boss still experiences rudder problems which do not seem to be easily fixed on board. 'We repaired it again', explained the skipper, before admitting that things did not really improve - the crew faces a big challenge, considering a substantial part of the port rudder blade is missing. Quotes, Michèle Paret, Temenos II
'I miss the south already because the life is more flat here, it is less emotional in the south all your emotions are close to the surface and everything is so exciting, more stressful it is very different. Now it is a lot less exciting, the further north I go the more I miss the south. Simply an intensity of life that you have down there and not comparable to anything else, and the more I will go to the north the 'flatter' life will get. And the south is another planet, you are far from everything - your emotions, life in general is totally different in a totally different world- and it is a lifestyle I like.' Albert Bargués, Educacion Sin Fronteras
'The only way to get to do things is based on hard work, putting in effort is what produces results in everything and not just sailing. You can be good at what you do but you have to be constant and stubborn to carry something through. It is the work of every day that pays off.' Day 75 - January 24, 16:00 GMT - Position report with distance to leader
1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 - Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL - 3375 to finish
2. HUGO BOSS - Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE - 819
3. TEMENOS II - Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 1785
4. MUTUA MADRILENA - Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO - 1829
5. EDUCACION SIN FRONTERAS - Servane ESCOFFIER / Albert BARGUES - 3101
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 www.barcelonaworldrace.org