Barcelona World Race leader Virbac-Paprec 3 have put another 20 miles between themselves and Mapfre over nine hours last night.
Next to cross the Equator, Renault Z.E. in third have around 500 miles of southern hemisphere sailing left. Around 215 miles behind them, Estrella Damm and Neutrogena remain separated by just 18 miles. This morning Neutrogena had the speed edge, at 11.4 knots compared to 8.1 at 0500hrs (UTC), but overnight the Spanish team of Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes maintained higher averages over the compromised Neutrogena.
The only boat to have covered over 300 miles in the past 24 hours, GAES Centros Auditivos, remains the fastest on course at over 14 knots this morning in around 18 knots of true wind, having edged 50 miles closer to the leaders overnight.
Hugo Boss remain under anchor in the Falkland this morning, with Forum Maritim Catala now around 200 miles away. Meanwhile We Are Water are currently being powered along by 25-30 knot downwind conditions, towards the last Pacific gate, fewer than 200 miles away.
For the Barcelona World Race skippers in the Atlantic, the nights of this section of the race will provide some of the more memorable nocturnal experiences.
Whilst last night’s ‘supermoon’ was evident in Barcelona, for the sailors in the southern hemisphere there are other star-lit treats, as Dee Caffari (GBR) on GAES Centros Auditivos wrote this morning: 'Last night and tonight rank up there as the best nights of the race. We sailed under full moon, clear skies and a steady breeze with no nasty surprises and squalls. It was delightful.'
In sixth place, Dee and Anna Corbella (ESP) on GAES Centros Auditivos are currently making over 14 knots in 20-knot south-easterly trade winds, and can expect the same for the next three days.
For Neutrogena the evenings may be no less pleasant, but with lighter airs rather less ideal from a racing perspective. As Ryan Breymaier (USA) emailed this morning, 'We are sailing in super light air from the south, under code 0. It is slow going, and not the forecast wind at all. Nice night though, full moon and perfect temperature.' This evening things have picked up for the pair, who are now sailing at 5.5 knots – exactly matching the pace of Estrella Damm one place ahead in fourth, just six miles apart.
At the head of the fleet, Virbac-Paprec 3 continue to slowly regain their lead from Mapfre, with 153 miles of advantage this evening, increasing their margin by some 40 miles in the last 24 hours.
The fastest boat on course is once again Forum Maritim Catala. Reinvigorated by the prospect of a match with Hugo Boss once they rejoin the race from the Falklands, and bolstered by the career landmark of rounding Cape Horn this morning, Gerard Marin and Ludovic Aglaor (ESP) are making over 15 knots, around 300 miles away from Hugo Boss’s position. Positions
1. Virbac-Paprec 3
3. Renault Z.E. Sailing Team
4. Estrella Damm Sailing Team
5. Neutrogena 21/03/2011
6. GAES Centros Auditivos
7. Hugo Boss
8. Fòrum Marítim Català
9. We Are Water
10. Central Lechera Asturiana
Retired: Président - 12.01.2011, Foncia - 26.01.2011, Groupe Bel - 12.03.2011, Mirabaud - 17.03.2011 www.barcelonaworldrace.org