Barcelona World Race ship Foncia were first to arrive in Recife, Brasil last night at between 2330hrs and midnight UTC and, according to reports, was on to the crane straight away ready to examine closely and then make the repairs to their sacrificial bow section.
Their pit-stop is under way and the clock is ticking, the shore team spurred by the knowledge that their rivals on Virbac-Paprec 3, have still yet to arrive. They will be all fully focused on getting the jobs done as quickly as possible, but the fact that Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron have been slowed by the overnight shut-down in the breeze close to the coast, will not be lost on them as the work.
At 0430hrs UTC Virbac-Paprec 3 was making just four knots and still had about 34 miles to make into the port. Of course, as was pointed out in a pithy, humourous exchange of mails between the teams last night, the VPLP-Verdier duo, Foncia and Virbac-Paprec 3, have been inseparable since they went on a ship together in Martinique. The teams worked in the FNOB yard alongside each other, and now here they both will be together in Recife.
Race leaders Estrella Damm, Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes, might also keep themselves updated of Foncia and Virbac's progress but already this morning they have between 75 and 80 miles of a lead over their French rivals. The Barcelona duo are making steady progress SW some 500 miles to the west of the rhumb line course.
They appear to have a slightly more E'ly breeze than fourth placed MAPFRE. Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez are some 60 miles closer to the shore and they could expect to be up to second place on this morning's 0900hrs (UTC) ranking.
The steady return of Groupe Bel continues. Kito de Pavand and Seb Audigane passed Mirabaud yesterday when Dominique Wavre and Michele Paret were struggling to clear themselves of a chain of clouds which had snared them in very light winds. They are 16 miles ahead this morning and moving just over half a knot quicker than Mirabaud.
Neutrogena were another team to find themselves with 24-36 hours of very light breezes before they crossed the Equator at 1240hrs UTC yesterday, but now they find themselves with less than 40 miles in hand over GAES Centros Auditivos who have been chasing hard, Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella actually also putting 11 miles on Renault ZE Sailing Team who are now back down to ninth, and seem to have found themselves suffering a similar fate to Mirabaud in roughly the same area.
Hugo Boss, Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak, have still been the quickest in the fleet, making around 13.5 knots this morning, now seeing their deficit to the leaders trimmed to 357 miles. But, they still have got the more active Doldrums to get through.
Some 60 miles behind them FMC and Central Lechera Asturiana are lined up alongside each other, racing south just 25 miles apart, E-W, while We are Water are around 100 miles behind, suffering from the lack of their big kite which they lost when they had to cut it free from their appendages after it went in the water and got badly twisted.